Like many others around, you may have adopted a new puppy over the pandemic. If you are one of those people, congratulations are in order!
After staying at home for almost a year as we continue to fight through the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for companionship has grown tremendously. As a direct positive consequence, it keeps the animal shelter numbers low! There is no better way to fill that void than to adopt a four-legged furry friend.
Eventually, we will get back to normal life. Before that happens, it is essential to ensure that your new family member gets the proper socialization early when their brains are still developing and absorbing the world around them. Having a good dog that listens to you and is well-behaved is very rewarding.
If you are unsure about why your puppy needs socialization during this pandemic or how to do it, read on to learn about the importance of puppy socialization.
What is puppy socialization?
Socialization is the developmental process in which puppies familiarize themselves with their surroundings. This can include them being around different people of all shapes and sizes and other dogs. Socialization will allow your puppy to be comfortable in new environments and stay confident in new situations.
The best way to get your new pup acquainted with other dogs is to bring them around puppies just like them! Some people are wary about their puppies being around other dogs before they are fully vaccinated. Your pup will still need socialization before the vaccination process is complete. Always consult your veterinarian if you are unsure about what is safe for your dog.
How do you properly socialize a puppy?
You want to bring your puppy around places and situations they will face in adulthood. These situations include visiting your neighborhood parks around Los Angeles, visiting friends they will be around often, and even introducing them to neighborhood dogs.
When introducing your dog to new people, ensure you allow them to encounter people of all different shapes, sizes, and ages.
These days, to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 in Los Angeles, we must wear masks to prevent the virus’s spread. It is more than likely that the people your dog will encounter will have face covers on. This is all part of ensuring your dog has exposure to you and other people in these many different scenarios, so they know everything will be okay when they reencounter them! Some pups might not like this, while others will be okay with it.
The critical socialization period for puppies is within the first 16 weeks of their life. That’s not to say puppies cannot be socialized later in life. However, the sooner you do this and get them used to their new surroundings, the better!
When introducing a new situation or person to your pup, always remember to keep the experience positive and upbeat! Dog training involves a lot of associations and classical conditioning. Your dog will eventually learn to associate a person or situation with something positive, which increases their ability to tolerate it.
Why is puppy socialization important?
Like humans, you want your puppies to grow up to be good citizens! The last thing you want is for your new puppy to jump on your guests that come by or be reactive with other dogs.
The more your dog has exposure to a wide variety of situations, the better it will be at handling them. They will be able to regulate their reactions and emotions, so they do not respond with fear and aggression.
You want your pup to grow into a confident, well-adjusted adult dog. Look out for puppy playgroups in your area that your pup can participate in!
Need help getting started with socializing your puppy in Los Angeles? Check out the services we offer to find out how we can help you and your pup achieve your training goals!