Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
There is nothing cuter than a brand new puppy. Whenever you see one, your heart melts. When we encounter a new born animal, we sometimes forget that they are very disoriented in their new world, except for the instinctual tendencies that are born with them. Because the new born pup is going to be interacting with humans and other animals throughout her life, it’s extremely important that she starts getting socialized at an early age. In this blog, we will look at puppy socialization, when to do it and some great tips for achieving it successfully.
Why Do We Want To Socialize Puppies
It’s the goal and hope of every new pup owner that the dog grows up to have a happy, healthy life. The foundation of this plan is socialization. Since it’s very important that we get our new little buddies on the right road early in life, we need to start getting her familiar with the environment in which she is going to live. The purpose of socialization is to develop the ability in a dog to peacefully co-exist in all aspects of her world. When a puppy is introduced to people, her new home, other animals and other everyday experiences, it sets her on a great path to develop a healthy emotional state. Dogs who are socialized early are much better at dealing with everyday life without aggression or fear.
When To Socialize
Vets and other experts advise that the primary socialization period should start between 8-16 weeks of age. By this time the puppy has hopefully spent a good amount of time with her mother and is ready to meet the rest of the world. By no means does socialization end at 16 weeks, as owners should continue to work with their puppies as the months pass.
How To Socialize A Puppy
Because dogs have been domesticated for many years, it’s not hard to socialize a new pup. Here are some great tips on how to introduce your puppy to the world.
- • Lots Of Affection – Socialization actually begins at home with puppy’s new family. Be sure to give your new dog plenty of physical affection by petting her, speaking in a loving tone and handling her ears, mouth, paws etc. This kind of physical stimulation will get her used to being touched and promote a strong emotional bond with you.
- • Don’t Overwhelm Her – Even though you want your dog to meet all kinds of different people and animals, be careful not to put too much on her plate at once. Introduce her to people and other animals in small groups, in a calm, peaceful environment. She will feel much more safe meeting others in this kind of atmosphere.
- • Dog Meets World – Every dog owner has a different lifestyle. Some may live in big cities with lots of traffic noise, sirens and people around everywhere. Other pet owners may prefer to live out in the country, where it’s much more quiet and has wide open spaces. Wherever your dog will be living, it’s important to get her used to the environment. Take her for walks and let her take in the sights, smells and noises of the area.
- • Meet & Greets – Many pet stores and other related businesses offer classes or just plain old get together parties where puppies can meet other dogs and have a blast playing around. This is great way to keep your pup safe while meeting other dogs of her age group. There are even classes for puppies where they can socialize with one another. If you happen to know of a friendly, indoor cat in your neighborhood, throw him into the mix too!
- • Safety First: Visit The Vet – Before you embark on any kind of socialization activities, it’s critical that your pup has all her shots and vaccinations. A healthy dog is a happy one and it’s important to make sure she is protected before interacting with other animals.
Socializing a new puppy can be a joyful experience, as you watch your new dog meet new people, animals and environments. It’s important to start the process at the appropriate time and do it in such a way that your dog feels safe. Puppies who are socialized properly tend to be much less fearful and aggressive. Keeping a close eye on the puppy’s reactions during socialization will help you get a sense of how she’s feeling. Dogs are loyal, wonderful animals. Start your puppy’s life out right by socializing her. You will both get a lot out of it!
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