The Importance of Socializing Puppies for New Pet Owners

by Lisa Fimberg on January 6, 2021

When your customers bring a new puppy home, their new furry family member is exposed to many new sights and sounds.  Each new person they meet, object they touch and place they encounter is exciting and new to them.

Socialization is the learning process through which puppies become accustomed to being near various people, animals, and environments.  By socializing a puppy early in his or her life, the puppy will be better adjusted, less aggressive and ultimately happier in life.

Proper socialization can help eliminate behavioral problems in the future and create a better bond between the puppy and their family.  It can also help puppies become more tolerant of changes in their environment and help prevent common behavioral problems in the future.

When should new puppy owners start to socialize their puppies?

New puppy owners should socialize their puppies in their first four months of their lives.  Introductions to different sights, sounds and textures should start as soon as the pet parents take their puppy home.

The process starts at the puppy owner’s home and eventually leads to outside outings.

Your customer’s veterinarian is always the best resource to ask when new pet parents can take their puppies out to public places.  Most recommend waiting until the puppy is at least 7 to 8 weeks old and has completed their series of vaccinations.

Some tips to help new puppy owners socialize their puppies at home:

New puppy owners should touch and handle their puppies to make their pup more comfortable

New puppy owners should familiarize their puppies with their touch. Whenever possible, they should touch or pet their puppy’s paws, ears, mouth, and body. Once their puppy is comfortable with being handled, it is easier for pet parents to trim their nails, brush their teeth, clean their ears, and give them medication when necessary.

Introduce their puppies to various sights, sounds and people

Puppy parents should introduce their puppies to different floors, textures, areas of their home, and expose their puppy to as many different types of scenarios to make the pup feel comfortable.

After the puppy feels comfortable with all the existing stimuli, puppy owners can then introduce their puppy to people of different ages and sexes. If their puppy allows it, they should let other people touch their paws, ears, mouth, and bodies.  This can help their puppy become more comfortable with being handled by other people as well as their veterinarian and even groomers.

Take this whole process slowly

It is important for pet parents to avoid going too fast with each of these steps. For instance, if they want their puppy to get accustomed to being handled by multiple people. they can start with a family member and then add someone new to the process. Once the puppy is comfortable, they can move to other people and places.

If pet parents move too quickly and the puppy becomes overwhelmed, this can lead to a fearful response to new people and places in the future.

Pet owners should make this a positive experience

Each time they introduce their puppy to something new, they need to make it positive.  Treats, praise, petting can all work wonders to help the puppy associate each new experience positively.  Owners need to try to be positive and not nervous or fearful because the puppy will pick up on this and could act out.  Some puppies adjust immediately while others take a little more time.

Pet parents can then set up play dates in a safe, controlled environment

Once the puppy seems comfortable, pet parents can invite safe, friendly dogs to their homes.  Or they can take their puppy to a friends’ house and see how he or she does.

Meetings with other puppies shouldn’t start until most of their vaccinations are started (which is usually seven to eight weeks).   Puppies can be taken to the dog park after their full series of vaccinations have been completed and again this should be a slow, controlled process.

Puppy training classes are great for socialization

Even in the time of Covid-19, there are still puppy training classes (socially distanced) led by training specialists that give the puppy the opportunity to socialize with other puppies and with children and adults.  Puppy kindergarten is a safe place for pet parents to take their puppies because vaccinations are usually required for all participants.

Puppy kindergarten classes are offered by some veterinary clinics, dog training facilities, and pet supply stores.

A socialized puppy is a happier one which can make it easier on the puppy as well as the pet parents.

If your customers have questions about socializing puppies or any other behavioral questions, our Solutions.pet agents can help.  Make sure to contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about this service.

Lisa FimbergThe Importance of Socializing Puppies for New Pet Owners