I see and hear about so many dogs that are not well socialized as a puppy or young dog. I think part of the problem is we don’t want to take any puppy around other dogs or people until they are fully vaccinated which is generally around 16 weeks and I totally agree that no puppy should be out and about before they are fully vaccinated against Parvo! But that does not mean you can’t still take your young pup for a ride in the car, or have people over to your house when the puppy isn’t allowed to go out yet.
By the time a puppy is 6 months old you would like it you have meet at least 100 people and 50 dogs. So, basically you have about 2 months to do that if your puppy has been vaccinated by 16 weeks. Break that down even more and you need to meet about 25 dogs and 50 people when you puppy is 5 months old and then the same when you puppy is 6 months old.
Now you are probably asking how in the world am I supposed to find that many dogs and people for my dog to meet? Here are a couple of ideas for you to try.
First taking them into your vet counts! So, if you count the receptionist, vet tech or two, and vet that is four people right there, you could also ask if any one else on the vet staff has time to say hi to your pup while you are there. And you can take them there once a week to weigh them, even if they are not due for their shots, just so they (puppy) don’t always associate the vet clinic as a “bad” place to go.
Second, once your pup is finally fully vaccinated you can start taking them to the feed store, North 40, (or other local farm store), Home Depot and Petco are just a few places that I know allow you to bring your dog in. Now all of those places have lots of people, but not always so many dogs. So, if you can take them there once a week you should be pretty close to the 100 people by 6 months.
Third, finding a good dog park is really hard, but if you can find a dog park where people have control over their dogs, great! Start going there a couple of times a week and make friends with people who have dogs you would like to let your puppy meet. Always ask permission before you touch another person’s dog. This is common curtsey and needs to become the norm. You would not believe how many people think it is ok to just come right up and start petting your dog.
And fourth, enroll your puppy in obedience classes! This will help them meet more people and dogs in a more controlled environment. Plus, all puppies can work on their manners and obedience.
By having a well socialized dog you will avoid many issues like aggression when new people come over to your house, wanting to fight every dog they meet, and it will be a benefit to you if you ever want to take your dog with you camping, to the park, hiking or any other place you might run into people/dogs they do not know.
Speaking of socialization, I am going to close as I get ready to take one of my board and trains to North 40 to start meeting more people. Please let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy this dreary dull day ?