Whether you are a new dog owner or you have raised several types of puppies, the term “socialization” will eventually come up in your circle of friends. Although the term is unfamiliar to some, it is a “must know” when it comes to having a well-behaved and happy adult.

What is Socialization?

Socialization of a dog involves the process of preparing your pet so that it establishes positive behaviors around other animals, people and places. Generally it is best to “socialize” your dog between 4 and 14 weeks of age. This period is crucial for developmental stages. It is when your puppy is more sensitive and receptive to new experiences. In fact, quality positive experiences during their sensitive period are vital for your pet’s disposition. Specialists agree that negative experiences during these times can also have long-lasting damaging effects. Socialization is essential if you desire to form positive behavior so that your puppy develops into a secure and happy adult.

When to Train

Although 3 to 14 weeks is ideal for socialization, it is never too late to help your dog socialize. Older dogs really can be trained; it just takes more time. Make sure to keep the experience positive when exposing your pet to new dogs, people and places.

Tips on Socialization

It is relatively pretty easy to socialize your animal especially when you keep the experience positive. However, there are a few tips that can help the process along.


Always start slow or small when introducing your pet to something unfamiliar. For example, introduce the vacuum cleaner while it is turned off. Next, move the vacuum cleaner while it is off. The next cleaning, turn the vacuum on but be in a room on the other side of the house. Never force your dog, allow him to approach the item on his own. Use encouragement and a happy voice. Feeding your pup treats is also a good technique when your pet is near the object. Also, make sure that your puppy focuses on you as well as the item.

Take Your Puppy to the Dog Park

Rendering to the American Kennel Club (AKC), it is important to give your dog ample stimulation, encouragement and socialization or the risk of fearful or aggressive behavior is increased. As well, the AKC) adds that your dog is more apt to bark and have separation anxiety. One of the best ways to add more exercise and socialization is to take your pet to the dog park on a regular basis. Never force your dog and always avoid over-stimulation. Introduce your pet to the dog park by a brief first visit then gradually increase the time. In addition, make sure to pick up after your dog during your visits.

Handle with Care

One of the best ways to ensure that your puppy grows up to be a friendly and confident dog is to have socialization and a variety of sensations for them to experience when they are a puppy and adolescent. One of the most important sensations for a pup is the way they are handled. According to the Animal Humane Society, young puppies need to be handled and cuddled every day and by as many people as possible. The contact should always be nice and gentle. As well, your pet should be held in a variety of positions. Other handling methods include rubbing her muzzle, stroke her back and sides, gently fondling her feet and make sure to look into her ears.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you have any concerns or you are unclear about how to socialize your puppy, always contact an experienced veterinarian. In addition, make sure to schedule an appointment while your puppy is still young and easier to train.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, Dr. Whitworth provides top quality care for your canine. In fact, Charles D. Whitworth, D.V.M. has more than thirty years devotion as a Madison veterinarian. In fact, as a young kid in third grade Dr. Whitworth began his passion for animals and veterinarian life.

If you have any questions about socializing your puppy, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. The clinic is conveniently located in Madison and serves the surrounding area including north Alabama and communities of Madison like Huntsville and Decatur.

Note: This article is not meant to replace professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about socializing your puppy, make an appointment at Whitworth Animal Clinic.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

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