Here at Grafton Animal Hospital, we have been seeing a lot of puppies recently, so we thought it would be a great time to talk about socializing your puppy. Socialization is important to ensure your puppy grows up to be a dog that you can confidently take into any social situation. This will making grooming and veterinary visits much easier in the future.
According to Jennifer, dog trainer here at Grafton Animal Hospital, the first 3 months are the most important time for a young puppy to learn about his environment. This is when puppies develop social relationships with other dogs and other species (including humans).
Unfamiliar sounds, sights, smells and events can lead to fear and anxiety if not properly introduced. Jennifer suggests using the Game of 7’s. When your puppy is 8-12 weeks of age, try to introduce him/her to:
- 7 different surfaces (carpet, tile, wood, grass concrete, etc.)
- 7 different sounds (vacuum cleaner, motorcycles, whistles, etc.)
- 7 different touches (paws, ears, teeth, etc.)
- 7 different environments (veterinarians, parks, stores, etc.)
- 7 different dogs (sizes, genders, ages, breeds, etc.)
- 7 different people (races, hats, uniforms, children, etc.)
- 7 different objects (things that roll, bounce, etc.)
You can great reduce your puppy’s chance of developing a fear-based aggression if you surround these experiences with positive interactions (treats or praise). Be sure not to enforce any undesirable responses (fear, barking, etc.) because it could lead to excessive coddling or holding.
Another great way to start your puppy off on the right paw is to enroll in our puppy training classes. Our next class will run on Saturdays from April 1st to May 13th and are held at 2 pm. Cost of the class is $100 for the six sessions. You and your puppy will learn all the basics of obedience training. This class is not just for puppies. Enroll your older dog for a refresher course before the weather gets really warm. Space is limited so sign up today!
If you have additional questions about puppy socialization or for more information about Grafton Animal Hospital’s obedience class, call Jennifer at (757) 898-8433.