Checklist

How To Socialize Your New Puppy

Understanding why socialization is so important it only the first step. Follow the guidelines below to learn how to socialize your new pup after bringing him home.

1. Learn How He Has Been Socialized So Far By His Raiser

The breeder or shelter should provide you with details on how far the pup has come, and what they planned to introduce to him next.

2. Create A Socialization Plan To Be Thoughtful And Intentional About Socializing Your New Pup

Plan which environments and situations you will introduce to him first to be sure you are moving at a speed that is comfortable for your puppy. The goal is to build his confidence, not overwhelm or overstimulate him.

3. Get Him Vaccinated

The AVMA states that puppies can begin socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age, after receiving a minimum of one set of vaccines at least seven days before the first class, as well as a first deworming.

4. Sign Up For Puppy Socialization Classes

Led by pet experts, socialization classes not only introduce your puppy to new dogs and people but also will help him learn basic commands. Be sure to check into the class size and the curriculum to ensure the class will be beneficial and not a free for all. If a skilled trainer is leading the class, all pups will stay happy and safe, and you’ll get to have access to a socialization expert.

5. Introduce Him To New Sights, Sounds, And Smells

Your puppy has a whole world to explore and everything is brand new to him. Exposing him to as many different environments, people and objects as possible, in a safe and well-timed manner, is key. For example, have him walk on different surfaces, and meet people of different sizes and ages.

6. The Only Beneficial Socialization Experiences Are Positive Ones

Therefore moving at your puppy’s pace is crucial. Always have treats on hand to be able to reward your puppy after a positive interaction or experience. Be sure to praise him and use a friendly tone when making introductions so he feels safe and comfortable.

7. Include Friends And Family When Socializing Your Puppy

By introducing your puppy to people that look, smell and act different, you are easing him out of his comfort zone and preparing him to be in public and around strangers. Be sure that your family and friends let the puppy approach them, and that they are armed with plenty of treats!

8. Start Taking Your Puppy To Public Places Once He Gets Comfortable In His New Home

Start with running quick errands to pet-friendly places or a friend’s house. Seven to 10 days after he completes his full vaccinations series, he’s safe to go to a local dog park.

9. Pay Attention If Your Puppy Is Becoming Uncomfortable Or Overwhelmed

Be prepared to step in and remove him from the situation if he looks frightened. Doing so will help your puppy recognize that he can rely on you to keep him safe.