Socializing Your New Puppy with Your Dog

When should your new puppy be socialized?

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If you know calm and friendly adult dogs who are up-to-date on their shots, allow your puppy to visit with them to reinforce the appropriate puppy etiquette he began learning from his mom and littermates. At home, puppies can be exposed to a variety of things without their health being at risk. These can include other pets in the home, children (include kids other than the ones who live with you), bicycles, vacuum cleaners (turned off so as not to frighten them), and other such items.

Puppies can now be cratetrained and can begin to be housetrained. Most puppies take to cratetraining easily and find comfort in the warm, dark space of a crate. Some puppies catch on to housetraining right away, while others need a few months to become reliably clean in the home. You can also begin teaching him some basic commands, such as sitting for food and watching you when asked to. There are even some puppy kindergarten classes that will enroll these young pups, although most are limited to puppies three months or older.

Young puppies are naturally curious and eager to explore their surroundings. They want to test their teeth on new materials and sniff and taste new substances. Unfortunately, the human world yields a number of dangers for curious puppies, and misbehaviors such as chewing shoes and eating tissue can become habits. So puppies should be kept in a safe place, like a crate, at all times. Some people keep track of their puppies by attaching one end of a leash to their belt and the other end to the puppy.

Three to Six Months
At the age of 12 weeks, puppies should attend puppy kindergarten. Attending obedience classes gives puppies the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and new people and to experience a new environment. Most puppy training schools require proof of vaccination to help keep the puppies safe from disease.

When puppies reach the age of 17 weeks, they're old enough to venture out on longer walks around the neighborhood. They should continue to be exposed to as many different environments and situations as possible. Parks, beaches, and local shopping districts are good places to go. For health reasons, sniffing around busy canine potty areas is still not recommended and shouldn't be allowed until puppies are at least six months old.

Some trainers call the three- to six-month age the fear imprint stage. During this stage, puppies make important decisions about what is and isn't safe in their environment. Its vital to keep exposure to new things and situations upbeat and safe because at this time a puppy can easily develop fears that he will carry throughout his life.

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Hilary   Houghton, NY

2/26/2010 7:52:45 AM

Great information. Just what I was looking for. Thanks!

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