The Importance of Socialization in Puppies
Socialization can be defined as the process of learning life skills that are necessary for the puppy to survive in its environment and communicate effectively.
Socialization in puppies is essential, as it is a requirement for puppies to live with a human family or a canine family. If your puppy is well socialized, then he will be happy and confident.
You may read and hear this term in dog magazines or training books or from trainers or breeders and wonders why everyone emphasizes that pup socialization is essential. If so, read this article to the end.
Here we will discuss the importance of puppy socialization and many important things related to it.
If you want a puppy that is more relaxed, safer, and more enjoyable, you should socialize your puppy early. In general, socialization should start as early even before 8 weeks, when puppies are generally at the breeder house.
The most critical socialization period starts from the 3rd week and ends at 17 weeks. At this age, puppies can easily learn so that you can easily shape and influence their behavior. It also depends on the breed and stage of the dog’s life.
You just have to expose your puppy to different environments and conditions so that in adulthood, your dog adapts well to dogs, other people, and animals.
If you have appropriately introduced your dog to the world, then he will not be afraid and will behave aggressively when exposed to something new. Your dog will feel comfortable in various conditions compared to a poorly socialized dog.
Socializing doesn’t mean your dog is comfortable and socializing with everything. If you expose him to a wide range of environments, things, people, and animals, your puppy will be more comfortable with a wide variety of situations in the future as an adult.
Can you socialize the puppies before they are fully vaccinated?
Puppies’ socialization critical period coincides with the time when puppies are not fully vaccinated. Your puppy will be prone to infectious diseases at this age when the socializing of puppies is done because vaccination is not completed until your puppies up to 16 weeks old.
Puppy school usually takes puppies between the age of 11-18 weeks while also ensuring that your dog is fully vaccinated and wormed before admission.
Puppies cannot early vaccinate because antibodies that they get from mother milk interfere with the vaccine, and immunity cannot develop. Puppies’ immune system is not also developed at this age.
We cannot also miss that critical period of socialization because, after that stage, your puppy cannot socialize properly.
The best solution to this problem is to take precautions as much as possible to avoid infection as behavioral problems like fear and aggression are a much more considerable risk then infections for your puppy.
You can socialize your puppy with vaccinated dogs of your family and friends inside your house or in their houses. Always make your puppy socialization experience more safe and comfortable. Make sure the dogs of your friend and family are healthy, friendly, and fully vaccinated.
How to socialize puppies?
Birth to 4 Weeks of Age
Breeders usually start puppy socialization training at 3 weeks, and they begin handling their puppies for a few minutes each day. When puppies become comfortable with handling, they gradually increase the time to 5-10 minutes around 4 weeks of age.
This daily handling will help your puppy bond with you, and this process is called imprinting.
4 to 16 Weeks of Age
When the puppies reach the age of 4 weeks, they will begin to understand the touch and smell of their human guardian. From the fourth week to 16 weeks, puppies should be socialized with pets and other children. This phase is considered the most crucial phase of training.
Puppies are generally adopted between the ages of 6-8 weeks, and after that, it is the responsibility of the owner to socialize their puppy. The owner must take his puppy to every imaginable place and socialize it with other people and animals.
In this age, the more places puppies visit, the more they will socialize. Puppies should be exposed to different sights, smells, sounds, and different surfaces. Offer your puppy a multi-sensory experience; take him to the town store, music events, and playgrounds.
After 16 Weeks of Age
After 16 weeks of age, it is difficult to socialize the puppy because they have crossed their learning phase. You can do remedial socialization, but it won’t be as effective as you did at an early age. If your puppy is scared at this age, you need to know how to get through this situation, and with proper guidance and positive reinforcement, you can still guide him to behave appropriately.
What to do if puppies feel frightened during socialization?
When puppies are 3 to 12 weeks old, they are more comfortable with new experiences and socializing. At some point, puppies can get scared during socialization, so it is essential to gradually socialize your puppy to these scary situations.
Suppose you are in a playground full of children and your puppy is frightened by the noise, what will he do in this situation? You can try sitting away from the noise and giving your puppy a delicious treat every time he freaks out.
Socialization training is essential in puppies; it will teach your puppy how to behave in different situations and how to behave with different people and animals. Start socializing your puppy from a young age and don’t punish them during training, they are animals after all; they will take time to learn.