It’s very important to keep it positive. Don’t expose your dog to another dog that could potentially harm or scare your puppy. If during the puppy play date things are making you uncomfortable, give the dogs a few minutes to cool off, calm down, or even take a nap.
Don’t make the mistake that Socializing is only for leaving the house. You need to socialize your puppy to your house too. Intentionally expose your puppy to other household pets (cats, birds, rodents, reptiles), and maybe even farm animals. Expose them to sounds they might hear around the house such as the vacuum, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine and dryer, hair dryer, or garage door opener. Purposely drop something that might clang to startle your puppy, yet not frighten your puppy. As always, keep life positive for your puppy.
A few questions I often get….
Q: How often should I socialize my puppy?
A: Every single day from the age of 8 weeks until 14 weeks. If you can’t leave the house, then focus on something within the house to expose your puppy to.
Q: What do I do when I take my puppy out in public?
A: Keep Socialization positive and be careful to not overwhelm them. Plan ahead with pockets (or treat bag) filled with treats, and when you’re exposing your puppy to these new things, use lots of encouragement, toys, and treats to help your puppy associate fun things with new experiences. Have strangers meet them with treats either handed to them or dropped for the more shy puppies. Teach them something fun (trick) or revisit an easy obedience command. (come and sit)
Q: What should I avoid?
A: Large crowds, very hot weather, extremely cold weather, aggressive or unfamiliar dogs, dog parks, anything that might actually frighten your puppy, and teaching a new command or trick. Remember this is about positive experiences. Teach the new stuff when you’re home and it’s easy to learn.