Dogs are naturally curious creatures who like to explore everything around them. This includes their environment, their family, other dogs, and objects. Their instinctive behavior pushes them to use their senses in order to explore the world around them and form bonds with their owners. This means, that dogs are obviously social animals that like to have connections with their human friends as well as with other dogs. The social bonding level varies from one dog breed to another, but in general, dogs like to have company.

Generally, dog socialization starts at an early age, when the dog is the most curious. Puppy socialization can start as early as 4 weeks of age when your puppy is the most attentive and sensitive to external instructions and stimuli. During that period, they are very eager to explore the people and objects around them, where they develop their olfactory, hearing, sight, and taste senses. This means that they do not only explore their surroundings by vision, but rather with all of their available senses. In fact, the olfactory sense is the most commonly used in environment exploration.

For this reason, you would want to introduce all kinds of objects, sounds, tastes, and people to your puppy to improve their perception of reality. You might want to initiate their understanding of different surfaces like carpet, floor, grass…etc. Additionally, you would want them to get used to all various types of sounds so that they won’t get startled every time you start the car in the future. Let them get familiar with traffic noises and different human voices in addition to the introduction of some voice commands. 

Puppy Socialization

Importance of Puppy Socialization

Puppy socialization is an essential procedure if you want to raise a smart, behaved, and safe dog. The main aim of socialization is to make your puppy familiar with as many different situations as possible. This will make your dog less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors once they encounter any situation as an adult dog. This increases their perception of their environment and reality and makes them more mature and behaved. If your puppy doesn’t get enough attention and care during the first months of its life, it will be very difficult to adjust its behavior later on. Meaning that your dog might grow to become ill-behaved and even dangerous.

The most essential aim of puppy socialization is to create a healthy dog, which can follow up with certain orders and have a happy life. The period of puppy socialization is critical because this will be the first time your dog will receive orders. This is when your puppy will start to understand the difference between correct and wrong behavior, where they would receive a reward after an adequate behavior and a punishment after a wrong one. This is where it gets tricky. You would want to make sure to continuously monitor your dog’s behavior and give a correct reaction towards whatever behavior they show. You can use treats and cuddle as a rewarding activity, and you can use a high tone for punishment.

This process is critical to obtaining a well-behaved adult dog. During the socialization period, your dog will understand that they can only poop in a certain area. They will know that it is prohibited to break or destroy any objects in the house. Additionally, they will create an idea about how they should treat their owners as well as other stranger humans. The puppy socialization period is very essential to prevent aggression, biting, howling, and other unfavorable behaviors.

When is the Best Period for Puppy Socialization?

The period of puppy socialization starts at 4 weeks of age. This is when your dog will start to understand what’s going on around them, and when they are the most curious. The best period for puppy socialization starts from 4 weeks to 4 months of age. If your dog receives enough care, attention, and orders during this period, you can be certain that your dog will grow to be a well-behaved, smart dog.

At the beginning of 4 weeks of age, your puppy will start to develop their teeth. Meaning that this is the time when you would want to introduce them to solid food. Introducing new kinds of foods during this period is very important to achieve a well-nourished and healthy dog. This means that you should start to give them various vegetables, protein types as well as carbohydrates. Make sure to initiate your dog’s first diet with all food groups so that their digestive tract will get used to all kinds of nutrients. By doing this, you will be working on one of their senses as well as improving their overall perception of different types of food.

At the beginning of 7 weeks of age, dogs will start to develop their physical and athletic abilities. Meaning that they will get the urge to run, jump and play. This means that this phase is very important for the correct development of their musculoskeletal system. At this phase you would want to initiate certain activities with them, like daily walking, playing, and performing the exercise. Additionally, you can start to introduce them to other puppies and dogs so they can get familiar with each other and play together. After 9 weeks of age is when they become the most aware of their social interactions with people and other pets. They will begin to understand that humans are their owners and that other dogs are their peers. Hierarchy behaviors start to show up at this point where they would want to exert dominance over other dogs.

Essential Activities during Puppy Socialization

During your puppy socialization period, you would want to introduce all kinds of activities to your dog. Firstly you can start by making them play with you as an owner and with other family members. Then you slowly introduce him to multiple puppies and trusted adult dogs. Let him have an adequate time of playing with his peers, but make sure to let him play alone as well. This will make him understand that at some point he might have to be alone when you’re not around. The main activities that improve and boost your dog’s socialization include having a walk at the park, having a car ride, and meeting new people.

Additionally, you can start to familiarize behaviors like going up and down the stairs and other routine-related daily activities. You can aim to remove unwanted behaviors like aggression during eating, biting, and spoiled actions. Start to accommodate your dog to bathing, grooming, and cleaning activities so that he enjoys these activities once he’s an adult. Moreover, you can habituate them to visit certain people at certain times, as well as visiting unfavorable places like the veterinarian. At the first visit to the veterinarian, make sure that your puppy has a positive experience so that there will be no aggressive behaviors during future visits. Let your dog play in the house, in the garden, at the beach, and in several other different areas. Have your dog understand that all of his actions have consequences whether good or bad. Thus you will obtain a tame adult dog that follows up with your instructions and is more accepting of receiving professional dog training later on.

Unfavorable Behaviors of Non-Socialized Dogs

So many things can go wrong if your dog is not well socialized. When a dog is not taught to be mannered from their first few months of life, it will be very difficult to accommodate them to certain rules later on. This does not only mean that your dog will create a mess in your house, but it also means that he can exhibit aggressive behaviors towards you and towards other people. Your dog might even try to hit or bite other pets, especially if there is another pet in the same household. You will then have a stubborn, strong-headed dog that will want to exert dominance even on its owners.

Generally, non-socialized dogs will defecate in any area, will destroy and chew on many objects, and will destroy the living area of your house. This does not only affect us, humans, as owners, but it also affects the dog itself and its overall physical and mental health. Your pet might then grow to become a shy adult which always avoids eye contact, keeps its tail between its legs, and has an overall depressed profile.

For this reason, you might want to accommodate your pet to certain living and environmental situations during the first few months of his life as it will highly influence his behavior later. Puppy socialization is essential for any dog breed and will create an effective base for further dog training. So after all, make sure to pay attention to your young puppy and give an adequate amount of time and care in order to boost and develop his social life.