You may have heard people talking about socializing their new dog/puppy. But what is this and how should it be done correctly and for how long?
Socializing a puppy is extremely important and it includes dogs outside the home; people outside the family unit; people of all ages; people riding bikes, skate boards, scooters; large tucks; horses; cows; cats, etc. The critical time for socializing a puppy is before 4 months of age and should be continued for the rest of their life with visits and outings.
The American Veterinary Medical Association provides the following guidance: “Puppies need socialization with other dogs, but those dogs must be well vaccinated and healthy”. Make sure you check that dogs you plan to socialize with are healthy, up-to-date with vaccinations and friendly to puppies! Find a puppy play group to have dates with.
We recommend joining an AKC Puppy Star class which allows off leash socialization in a safe and controlled environment. Continue your dogs socialization after this class by joining a Good Manners class or by finding a dog sport you enjoy (rally, obedience, dock jumping- are all non impact bearing for young dogs).
Failure to socialize your puppy early may lead to aggression as your puppy becomes an adolescent. No one wants a dog who lunges or barks on a leash.