How to socialize a puppy

Socializing your puppy is the most important thing you can do to ensure the future happiness and stability of your dog. The critical socialization window starts the moment the dog is born and lasts until they are 16 weeks old. When you get the puppy, it’s most likely around 8 weeks old, so you have another 8 weeks where you need to let it safely explore as many people, situations, sights, smells, and other dogs and animals as possible. This teaches the puppies that life is wonderful and full of positive experiences, which will have a truly lasting impact on the well-being and happiness of the dog as it grows older. This part of the dog training videos library explains and demonstrates how to socialize your puppy in a proper fashion, with YouTube videos from various professional trainers

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Socializing dog videos

The period from 8 to 16 weeks isn’t just all fun and games exploring and socializing, it’s also the first fear phase in your puppy’s life. Fear can be triggered by simple things like people with facial hair, people in uniforms, sounds, loud cars, people yelling, fireworks, and so on. What’s scary today might not be scary in a couple of days or weeks, as long as you don’t push the experience on the puppy. A bad experience can last a lifetime, called imprinting. If your puppy exhibits irrational fear, it’s most likely temporary and nothing to worry about. Being sensitive, understanding, and encouraging are likely to get the puppy to move past it and avoid the source of the fear from being imprinted. After the puppy socialization videos, you will also find some informative videos that cover fear stages 

Socializing your new puppy

The first how to socialize a puppy video is from dog trainer Zak George. In this 5 minutes long video, he explains how you first must get your puppy comfortable with you before you expose it to new people and situations. Playing games is a great way to bond with your puppy, like tug for example. Young puppies require lots of love and attention from you to feel safe and comfortable, so don’t forget to spend some quality time with it yourself, snuggling on the couch and playing

Another great video you should watch about puppy socialization is the do and don’ts from Robert Cabral. Here he answers some questions from his subscribers and explains in detail the best practices for socialization, like how the puppies should meet all kinds of people with different ethnicities, languages, heights, weights, and ages. Taking the puppy to different environments is also important. Watch this and the one from Zak George and you have socialization covered

If you want to dig deeper and get a bit more technical information about puppy socialization, watch this video from Simpawtico. Dog trainer Ian Stone talks about socialization and the misguided notion about having to keep the dog isolated until they are fully vaccinated, which can be potentially disastrous as the puppy misses the critical timeframe for socialization. This video also includes a sitdown with a couple of veterinarians who talks about early socialization

Socializing your dog with other dogs

The last video about socializing your puppy is from McCann Dog Training, with professional dog trainers Ken Steepe and Kayl McCann talking about socializing your dog with other dogs in a video called The Unpopular Truth About Socializing Your Dog. This video covers some important things to take into consideration before you start your puppy socialization, like the importance of choosing the right dogs to meet and that your dog shouldn’t be pushed to meet and greet all the dogs you encounter. Also, dogs should never meet each other while on a tight leash. This video is 10 minutes long and should definitively be watched too

Coping with the puppy fear phases

This is a quick video from Howcast with dog trainer Robert Houseman explaining what to do if your puppy is displaying fear. Figure out what the dog is being fearful of, whether it’s strangers, other animals, or sounds. Expose the dog to that stressor at a very low tolerable level, with high-value rewards like treats, games, or a belly rub. If the puppy won’t take the food or play, it means the stressor is still too high and you need to back up. 2 minutes well worth watching

Michael Ellis from Leerburg Dog Training talks about the puppy fear stages and explains how it’s different for every dog, some dogs may not even go through fear phases at all. If you suspect your puppy is going through a fear phase, or want to be prepared for it and able to tell the signs, spend 6 minutes watching this video along with the one above from Howcast. Remember, you can also ask your breeder and veterinarian for guidance if you need help with your buddy

Puppy socialization resources

How to socialize a puppy resources

When you are done watching these videos, you should have a clear understanding of how to proceed with socializing your new puppy. If you prefer absorbing knowledge in silence, you will find articles about puppy socialization in the resources box below. Quickly summarized, the critical socialization window lasts until the puppies are around 16 weeks of age, during this time, they should encounter lots of new people and experience new places. Early socialization builds the foundation for future happiness and stability for the dog. If you haven’t already, you should also check out the chapter about potty training your puppy. Another important feature you need to learn is how to get your dog’s attention. This is required for further training, like basic commands and leash walking

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