Socialize puppies

Avoid puppy behavior problems with socialization

The best way to avoid puppy behavior problems – that will later grow into full-grown dog behavior problems – is to socialize your puppy from the very start. It is best to start socializing your pup at the earliest age possible.

Socializing simply means to expose your dog to a lot of other dogs, people, activities and sounds so the animal can be comfortable in as many situations as possible. If you acquire a dog who is over a year old, you may have to work a little harder if the dog was not well socialized earlier. The more exposure your pup gets to outside events and experiences, the more confident he or she will become. It is the fear of being unable to cope that is at the root of many behavior problems. That fear or lack of confidence is likely to encourage a puppy or dog to over-compensate by developing behavior problems.

Although you will want your puppy to have all his/her inoculations, you can selectively start exposing the pup to different environments, sounds, people and even to other dogs once the pup has had the first few shots; usually by 12 weeks old. Until the main course of immunizations are done, avoid heavily frequented dog parks and other areas where a lot of dogs with unknown backgrounds have been. But do let your pup meet up with as many known, well-cared-for canines and humans as possible.

Make sure your pup meets children and adults and gets to feel comfortable with people of all ages, sizes, ethnic backgrounds and both sexes. Otherwise your dog can feel uncomfortable and even defensive around people who are unfamiliar to him/her. This can grow more pronounced as a dog ages, and, when combined with certain temperaments can become a behavioral problem in the future.

Have your canine friend meet other dogs, too. Make sure these dogs are calm and comfortable with your dog. The idea is to have a GOOD experience. Start with people and dogs you know well so there are no nasty surprises. The more situations a pup encounters and experiences as something positive, the more confident and at ease that pup will be. By having lots of good experience swith other dogs, people and situations, your dog will be less likely to react badly even to more stressful situations. Taking your dog places will also make your pet more comfortable in the car for those times you NEED to transport him or her.

In short, the best way to avoid puppy behavior problems is to socialize your pup and expose him or her to as many positive experiences as you can to build confidence. A confident dog is likely to be more relaxed and comfortable in the diverse situations he or she will encounter throughout life.