Are you getting ready to welcome a new pup into your home?
As any experienced Los Angeles puppy trainer would tell you, proper socialization is incredibly important. Well-socialized pups are able to react to different situations in a healthy way, without fear or aggression – and providing a puppy with early socialization experiences helps them grow to become a confident, well-adjusted adult dog.
Hearing this, you’ll want to prioritize socialization when you bring your new pup home. Here, the professional puppy trainers at iWorkDogs Dog Training Company explain how to safely socialize your little tail-wagger.
What is Socialization?
Look up the definition of socialization, and you’ll see that it’s the process of learning how behave in a manner that’s acceptable to society. For a puppy, socialization isn’t just about playing with other dogs – puppy trainers say that it’s about exposing them to a wide range of experiences and situations, including:
- Contact with various ground surfaces
- Exposure to locations away from home
- Interactions with unfamiliar people
- Experience with different types of objects
- Introductions to loud and unusual noises
In addition, professional puppy trainers say that proper socialization also involves strategies for helping a pup learn to be comfortable with whatever life throws at them at home. For instance, dogs need to be at ease when being held, getting brushed and having their nails trimmed. And, dogs need to be able to cope with unique challenges, such as a wobbly food bowl, a broom blocking the doorway or an opening umbrella.
According to professional dog trainers, early socialization experiences – within the first few months of puppyhood – are critical. The window for socialization closes at about 16 weeks of age, and when a pup isn’t properly socialized by that time, they’re more likely to develop behavior problems.
To see success with socialization, encounters with new sights, sounds and situations must be positive. The idea, puppy trainers say, is to get a pup to associate new stimuli with something fun – so, every socialization experience should include tasty food treats and plenty of affection.
Also, as you work on socializing your young furry friend, don’t let yourself get stressed out. Dogs pick up on our emotions, and if you’re stressed, your little tail-wagger may get anxious or fearful. And, puppy trainers recommend paying close attention to a pup’s reaction to each new situation, and if they seem uneasy, move on – you can always try again later.
Los Angeles puppy trainers advise pet parents to take baby steps with socialization. Too many new experiences in a day can leave a pup feeling overwhelmed, and going at too fast of a pace – taking a young pooch out to a crowded park or busy public place instead of starting by having them meet one or two new people, for example – isn’t likely to produce the desired results.
To safely socialize your puppy, trainers suggest employing a number of strategies. A few you may want to try include:
- Heading to an area with a different ground texture, like gravel or wood chips, when you take your pup out on the leash
- Spoon-feeding a few bites of food or serving up one of their meals in a pie plate, cardboard box or other strange container
- Playing recordings of fireworks, sirens and thunder or running the vacuum cleaner when your pup is in the room
- Taking your little tail-wagger to a spot where they’ll see people riding bikes, skateboards and electric scooters
- Visiting a lake, river or park and giving your puppy some time to relax and observe the wildlife in the area
Professional puppy trainers also suggest arranging for interactions with other dogs – however, the dogs your pup meets need to be well-behaved, as that helps ensure that the socialization experiences are positive ones. To that end, it’s best to set up play dates with trusted friends or neighbors who own dogs.
Get Help from an Experienced Dog Trainer
Are you having trouble managing your puppy in new situations? Or did your dog miss out on early socialization?
For some Los Angeles pet parents, putting the puppy socialization tips and strategies listed above into practice proves to be a challenge. Many others have older dogs who are under-socialized. In both cases, the professional team at iWorkDogs Dog Training Company is ready to help.
Our experienced dog and puppy trainers have put countless canines on the path to becoming happy, well-adjusted family companions. Along with socialization, we work to help dogs of all ages, breeds and temperaments overcome behavioral issues and bad habits. In short, whatever training difficulties you may face, the iWorkDogs team can step in and provide a solution.
At iWorkDogs Dog Training Company, we offer a customized training programs designed to meet the needs of pet parents in Los Angeles and the surrounding southern California area. Our professional puppy trainers take a unique approach to dog training – starting off with an immersive boot camp experience – and we have the expertise to achieve results.
For more information on our dog and puppy training services, or to get expert advice on socialization from an experienced puppy trainer in Los Angeles, contact iWorkDogs today.