Socialization Suggestions

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Different Types of People:

All ages of men: with hats, beards, sunglasses, boots, helmets, bald, long, or short hair, etc. All ages of women: with hats, purses, jewelry, sunglasses, and different lengths and styles of hair, etc. All ages of kids and kids in strollers. People with canes, crutches or wheelchairs and with walking sticks. Joggers, rollerbladers or bikers. All sizes of people: heavy, thin, tall or short, and all races. People wearing costumes or big coats.

It is very important for puppies to interact with kids of different ages. Always supervise dogs and kids together. When introducing puppies to kids, please make sure the kids will follow directions and will not hurt or scare the puppy by accident. Give extra special treats during introduction to kids. 

Noises/People Sounds:

People Sounds: talking loudly, laughing, crying, shouting, arguing, children playing, singing, cheering, crowds of people and parties.

Outside Noises: lawn mower, fireworks, sirens, car horns, thunderstorms, trucks, motorcycles, loud cars, busy traffic, and power tools.

Inside Noises: doors shutting, knocking on the door, phone ringing or text sounds, TV, radio, musical instruments, saucepans banging/unloading the dishwasher, vacuums, shopping carts, hair dryers, ceiling fans, and garage doors.

CDs with prerecorded sounds can be bought online. Never take your puppy to fireworks as it can be too overwhelming. If a holiday is coming up with fireworks, be ready with lots of great treats, upbeat happy voices and soothing music. When introducing puppies to new noises (especially with a CD), start with the noise at a low level and gradually increase the volume.

Other Animals:

Different sizes, genders and ages of dogs, dogs with different hair coats and colors, different breeds of dogs, cats/kittens, horses, farm animals, rabbits, birds, and other small animals.

It is important that puppies get to see a lot of dogs that look different than they do. Always supervise the meetings for the best possible positive encounter. Slow introductions to friends' dogs are a great way to start. Watch both dogs during the meeting and stop the introduction if either dog is stressed or upset. Never put a puppy in a situation where they could be hurt by another animal (ex- letting a puppy run free in a horse or cow pen).

Textures/Surfaces:

Stairs, Carpet, Wood, Cement, Tile, Water,  Grass, Fabric, Gravel, Plastic, Mud, Puddles, Bridges, Hiking Trails, Bubble Wrap, Sand, Snow, Sprinklers, Hoses, Rain and the Shower or Bath

Be Creative. Never force your puppy onto a new surface. Let them explore at their own pace and give lots of praise and treats.

Places:

Visit: your veterinarian's office, hardware stores/shopping centers, parks, airports, puppy preschool or obedience class, supermarket or farmers’ markets, coffee shops, or an office/workplace (if allowed). Go for: car rides, walks downtown, trips to friend's or family's houses, or a ride in an elevator.

We recommend avoiding dog parks until they are out of the prime socialization time period. Dog parks can be very overwhelming to a puppy if many dogs are there, and it is very hard to ensure the puppy will have a positive experience.

Touch:

Holding or hugging the puppy, touching the paws, muzzle, ears, tail, legs and tummy. checking the teeth, clipping the nails, cleaning the ears, picking up the puppy, weighing the puppy, grooming, clipping nails, and brushing teeth 

REMEMBER: Proper Socialization introduces puppies to new people, places, objects and situations ONLY when you can control the experiences. It is VERY IMPORTANT that your puppy have POSITIVE experiences, because during this learning period, they can also learn to be fearful from negative experiences. Begin introducing your puppy to a new experience/object slowly. Give treats and a lot of praise. Gradually move closer to the new experience/object while continuing to praise and give treats. Allow your puppy to investigate at his or her own pace. Keep watch that your puppy is comfortable before moving closer. Finish the new experience with a fun activity such as tossing a ball or a belly rub. If your puppy is scared, move farther way from the object/experience or stop altogether. Try reintroducing your puppy to the object/experience when he/she is no longer scared and at a slower pace.