The Importance of Puppy Socialization
The process of socialization is critical for our puppy and by saying that, we mean that during this period, he learns how to be comfortable around many kind of people and different environments. Socializing your dog from a very young age helps him to be a well-behaved and mature adult.
The best age to expose our furry friend to stimuli, is from 8 to 16 (maximum) weeks old. So, your job starts the time you bring your puppy home at the age of 2 months old. By the age of 4 months, your dog should feel comfy and relaxed in many situations of your daily life.
Imagine that a dog being in socialization process is actually developing a range of pictures, sounds, smells, objects, other animals and experiences that will encounter in his further life. Our goal is to ensure that all of his experiences will be positive and exciting without any pressure and stress. We should always go at our dog's pace.
I would also like to emphasize that the safety of the other people, as long as our dog's, plays a fundamental role. We want to create a friendly environment for all, without any issues or injuries.
I have seen many dogs that are calm and friendly in a familiar-for-them space, but the time they get out on the streets, they're scared to death and feel extremely nervous about everything around them.
On the other hand, a well-socialized dog will enjoy his walk calmly without being scared of cars or other sounds or sights, plus he will be able to adapt comfortably to new situations.
Even though all of the above information seems right, many people may wonder how to socialize their puppy if he hasn't been fully vaccinated. A lot of vets advise the dog parents to wait until puppy reaches 4 months old in order to walk him out. The problem here is that the socialization window closes in 16 weeks of age so we won't have the essential time to expose him in our daily life stimuli.
Don't worry though, puppies are somehow protected from diseases by their first vaccines, plus their mother provides them antibodies in her milk.
For me, the best solution is to not leave puppies get in touch with unvaccinated or sick animals as well as to avoid walking them in dirty places. A wonderful idea would be to hold our puppy in our arms and get the socialization process started.
Expose your little furry friend to different stimuli, objects, friendly animals, sounds and other situations you encounter in your daily life and don't forget to make all these experiences positive and rewardable. Our goal is to raise a puppy that will be able to live harmonically in the human world.