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How to Socialize a Puppy & Why It's Important
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How to Socialize A Puppy & Why It's Important

Got a new puppy? Congratulations and welcome to the newest most cuddliest, fluffiest and fun-filled journey of your life! There will be snuggles, there will be love, there will be trials and tribulations, pooping and peeing, a whole lot of mistakes and even more triumphs. But it all starts with you and your puppy. It takes a lot of time and effort to raise a puppy responsibly but it’s well worth it once you do because you’ll have a best friend for life. Socializing your puppy is very important - find out why it's so important and how to socialize a puppy right here!

Happy puppy

Why It's Important to Socialize a Puppy

An important part of raising your dog is socialization. You wouldn’t raise a child by keeping them locked inside a house and expect them to automatically know how to treat strangers, so it follows that you shouldn’t do that to a puppy either! That’s not to say that older dogs can’t learn new tricks, and new social skills, it’s just a whole lot easier to instill proper behavior when your dog is young. It’s best to start them off on the right foot with confidence and social competence at a young age so they grow up happy, healthy and friendly. 

Socialization enables both you and your dog to feel happier, and enjoy life more! Well socialized dogs are happy to meet new people and can say hello in a kind and friendly way so you won’t feel like you have a liability tethered to the end of a leash every time you take a walk.

Not only does it help you and the other people around your dog, it helps your pup too! They’ll inevitably need to see other people besides you for various reasons like visits to the Veterinarian, groomers, pet sitters, visiting friends and more. That’s all easier if your dog can greet all of these new situations and people with a wagging tail. Having a hound who loves meeting new dogs is great too. Your dog will love trips to the dog park because they’ll show up to find a ton of new friends to play with every time.

Puppy chewing a toy

The Perils of Not Socializing Your Puppy

Not properly socializing a puppy can lead to a dog that is afraid of new people, new places and new dogs. They won’t feel comfortable in unfamiliar settings and will likely exhibit antisocial behavior when confronted with new situations, such as cowering, barking or aggression. A nervous, stressed out dog can turn aggressive.

Dogs that aren’t socialized properly tend to be more aloof and disengaged, they won’t feel comfortable out of the home, and they’ll be sensitive to loud or sudden sounds and unfamiliar objects, people or places.

Two puppies playing together 

How to Socialize a Puppy

The great thing about socializing a puppy is that there are plenty of ways to do it and they’re all really fun! None of these need to be considered work, but can be creatively and naturally folded into your day to day life. It just takes a bit of conscious effort in order to make sure you’re properly helping your puppy grow into a good dog.

1. Take Them to New Places

First, make sure to bring your puppy with you to as many new places as possible. Going to explore a new park? Bring the dog! Going for a scenic drive? Bring the dog! Going to the opera? Well maybe don’t bring the dog, but get someone you know who loves dogs to dog-sit so your puppy so they get to spend time with a new person.

2. Use Positive Reinforcement

During each new experience you introduce your dog to, do your best to make sure there’s plenty of positive reinforcement. You can do this with treats, toys, and praise.

3. Meet Up With Friends

Don't be afraid to tap your own circle for resources. If you have a friend with a dog, set up a playdate. Make sure to introduce your pup to as many of your friends as possible. Of course this should be easy because all your friends will want to meet your dog anyway! Who wouldn't want to meet an adorable puppy?

Puppy at puppy training class

4. Go For Walks

Make sure you take your puppy out on walks as soon as they’re able to go. Puppies can tire quickly but they’re also really tiny and can be easily carried home in case they get pooped out during a walk.

5. Let Them Explore

Don’t be afraid to let your dog do some of their own exploring too, especially in their own environment. Let them loose in the house and yard - just be sure you've created a dog-friendly backyard first.

6. Puppy Socialization Classes

Taking your new friend to puppy socialization classes is the ideal way to socialize a puppy. These are get-togethers that are locally organized and specifically oriented to helping puppies with socialization. They are coordinated and led by professionals who can give you helpful tips and tricks but most importantly, offer your dog an opportunity to spend time with their puppy peers.

Socializing a puppy is important but also super fun! Getting to see your dog’s personality develop is a true joy, and an enjoyable process to boot. Make sure to keep patience in mind when starting, and trust that this takes time. Your dog has a lot to learn and they’re relying on you for guidance. Together, you’ll navigate this big beautiful world and having a dog makes this journey all the more fun, amiright?! Find pup portraits, dog typography and more to celebrate getting a new pup in our Dogs Collection!

Bernedoodle puppy hoodie

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