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  • Writer's pictureDebby Palencia

How we socialize your future puppy?

How we socialize your future puppy?

Puppy socialization is a key component of dog care because under-socialized dogs are often fearful and reactive. Learn how to socialize your puppy now.

In short, socialization involves thoughtfully exposing your puppy to various experiences she may have throughout life. This helps your pup develop into a well-balanced, confident dog. And that makes your life as a pet parent much easier.

What you should know:

  • During the Neonatal Period (birth to 12 days), puppies need to be exposed to mild environmental stressors, such as changes in surface texture and temperature.

    • Stimulation as little as 3 minutes a day has a positive impact on a puppy’s resistance to disease, emotional reactivity, and adult learning and problem-solving ability.

    • The puppies should be handled a few times a day.

    • Try rubbing their bodies against warm and cold towels.

    • Nail trimming should start as soon as week 1.

    • Gradually expose them to different sounds (doorbells, vacuums, hairdryers, vehicles, horns, barking dogs, kids playing, etc.) starting at low levels.

  • Major changes happen during the Transitional Period (12 days to 3 weeks). Puppies become more active and start walking as early as day 12. Their eyes open (12 to 14 days), and ears open (20 to 21 days). They start eliminating independently of maternal stimulation.

    • During this time, novel stimuli (e.g., toys, cold bottles) should be introduced to the whelping box.

    • The puppies can be moved for a few minutes into a different room (e.g. kitchen area, bedroom, living room).

    • At about 3 weeks, expose the pups to other friendly, healthy dogs and a variety of new people.

  • The Socialization Period is a critical period of development that happens in two phases. The Primary Socialization Period is between 3 to 5 weeks and the Secondary Socialization Period is between 6 to 12 weeks. During the Socialization Period, the puppy learns how to communicate and relate to other dogs, humans, and its environment.

    • Acclimate the pups to various substrates including carpet, smooth floors, tile, etc.

    • Starting with week 4, the puppies should begin to experience the outdoors.

    • Between weeks 5 to 8, familiarize the pup to grooming tools, ear cleaning, drinking and eating from a bowl, training with treats, wearing collars, and leash walking.

    • At weeks 6 – 7 separate puppies from their litter for short periods of time to help accustom them to being alone. It can be a shock to a puppy to go from sleeping near several siblings to being alone in a crate and you need to help the dog gradually transition.

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