When you get a puppy, you will hear it over and over again: Socialization is crucial. Everyone talks about the importance of socializing a puppy but many are stuck wondering how this is supposed to be done? How to socialize a puppy?
And how do you keep track of everything that needs to be covered in the process? Here is the ultimate puppy socialization checklist to make usre you’re on top of everything you need to know.
Puppy Socialization Checklist
Socialization is all about exposing your puppy to different places, people, textures, sounds, and more, but we realize that nobody can expose their puppy to everything. Below is a list of suggestions, for where you can take your puppy and for what you want your puppy to experience.
Try to check as many boxes as possible, but don’t stress it. The idea is to make puppies comfortable with what is new and unfamiliar, without scaring them or pressuring them. Be patient.
1. Locations & Objects
Many of the everyday items in your home could be quite scary or confusing for your puppy. Anything that makes loud noises could be considered threatening by your puppy. Also, it is important to get your puppy used to any areas or items within your home which could cause them harm such as the stairs.
Then move on to outside the home. What sort of places do you pass when you are walking your dog? It is ideal to help your dog to get used to different environments it may encounter from shops to workmen to of course the vet.
Here is a list of the most common locations and objects puppies benefit from being socialized to:
- Vet Clinic
- Construction Site
- Pet Store
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Hair Dryer
- Washing Machine
- Lawn Mower
2. Weather & Environment
This part of the checklist may take more time to complete than the others as you will be dependent upon mother nature delivering these conditions! Just try to keep note of whether or not your puppy has encountered anything on the list below and keep an eye on the ones that don’t have a tick.
3. People & Pets
Perhaps the most important part of the socialiation process is getting your puppy used to people and other animals. Start with the animals and people whom you know your puppy will need to encounter almost immediately. Delivery people and repairmen can be particularly tricky as they most likely visit your home infrequently.
- Adult Dogs
- Adult Men
- Adult Women
- Delivery People
- Small Animals
- Farm Animals
Sometimes your puppy may be thrown by people behaving in a different manner or having some type of external item on which suggests they may be something or someone entirely different. Here are some examples:
- People with Hats
- People with Face Masks
- People with Umbrellas
- People on Skateboards
- People on Bikes
- People on Rollerblades
- People with Baby Strollers
Finally, puppies need to get used to different types of experiences at as young an age as possible. It may be particularly difficult for your puppy to get comfortable with physical touch or anything involving restraint like a collar or harness. Be patient as it is normal for the socialization process around these types of actions and items to take some time.
- Car Rides
- Being Handled by Strangers
- Public Transport (Trains & Buses)
- Having Paws Touched
- Having Ears Checked
- Wearing a Collar or Harness
Socializing is also a great opportunity to bond with your puppy and to build trust, and we encourage looking at the concept of socialization as something fun and exciting, rather than a chore. Go hang out outside a department store, just to watch people go by, or take a ride in the car around town.
Keep in mind that puppies should preferably not walk around in public places until they are fully vaccinated, due to the risk of Parvovirus and Canine Distemper, but you can carry your puppy as well as work on socialization in the comfort of your home (stairs, kitchen appliances, etc, etc).
A well-socialized puppy is more likely to grow up to become a functional, secure, and friendly adult dog.
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