If you adopt a puppy, there are several things you need to do for your new pet. The most common one that comes to mind is taking a puppy out to the bathroom. While a routine can help potty train a puppy in less time than many people expect. it’s important to understand that small puppies can’t physically resist the need to go for more than a few hours. So if you want to prevent accidents, you and the rest of your household need to take the puppy out quite frequently.
Socializing is another important part of starting a puppy off right. Although this task is easier to overlook than potty training, it’s still something that’s quite essential. Since proper socializing can mean the difference between a well-adjusted adult dog or one that’s always fearful, we want to dive into exactly what you need to know and do:
The When and Why of Socializing
When a puppy is between 8 and 16 weeks old, it’s going to experience a lot of changes over the course of that 2 month span. Specifically, this is when a puppy does a lot of maturing. If puppies go through this transition and aren’t properly exposed to plenty of stimuli from the outside world, it can put them on a path to be fearful for the rest of their lives.
The Best Approach to Socializing
Now that we’ve covered when socializing should take place and why it matters, we want to dig into the practical steps you can follow. When a puppy is adopted, it’s best for them to stay with their mother and siblings until 8 weeks. Then a puppy can be adopted and introduced to a new home. Following the timeline of getting a puppy at 8 weeks and putting plenty of effort into socializing them over the next 2 months is what all dog professionals recommend.
In terms of what you should expose your puppy to during the socialization phase, the best rule of thumb is anything the dog may come into contact with in the future. From taking your puppy with you when you visit a friend’s house to letting your dog interact with children, these types of experiences will form positive associations in your puppy’s mind. One helpful trick is if you have any concerns about how your puppy will react to a specific situation, simply bring along some delicious pet treats that you can use to keep your pup feeling good about what’s happening.
Keep in mind that dog parks are the one major exception to the rule of socializing. There’s nothing wrong with individually introducing a puppy to other dogs or cats under proper supervision. But because of the often chaotic nature of the dog park, it’s best save that experience until a dog passes the 16 week mark.