Early Puppy Socialization

There is some controversy around when you should begin socializing a new puppy. The controversy lies in the notion that socializing a puppy will make her susceptible to disease. There is some merit to this, however, if you are careful in how and with who you socialize your puppy the benefits far outweigh the negatives. You don’t need to and shouldn’t wait until your pup is fully vaccinated. In fact, if you don’t socialize in the first 4 months of age your pup is missing out on some very important interactions that will help her be more well-rounded and confident as an adult dog.

It is crucial to the emotional well-being of all puppies to be around other dogs of all ages and sizes that are friendly. This doesn’t mean that you would take your pup to a dog park, by no means am I suggesting this. I am suggesting supervised play dates with your friends and family’s dogs in your own yards right after the first vaccination.

The first 4 months of a puppy’s life is when they most vulnerable to experiences that could lead to lifelong negative issues. If they live in a bubble, unexposed during this critical period of puppyhood they may grow up to be timid and or aggressive adult dogs. Having positive social experiences with other dogs makes for a well-adjusted adult dog.

In this picture, you’ll see a 1 yr old Golden Retriever pup playing with a 1 1/2 yr old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Not only can pups learn how to play appropriately with dogs of different ages and sizes, these kinds of experiences are a necessity if you want to have a vibrant, socially interactive adult dog.

And while you’re at it you can use the Dog Decoder app to learn all you need to know about dog body language so you’ll be a pro by the time your pup grows up.