Dogs Benefit from Early Socialization

I worked in a dog kennel/daycare for two years, and I found that one of the most rewarding aspects of the job was integrating a new dog into the regular pack!
Most people don’t realize that it’s sometimes scary for your dog to suddenly meet several new dogs at once. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of dogs who jumped right into it and couldn’t be happier, but there were more than a few who hid shyly behind their parent’s legs like a nervous child on their first day of kindergarten. A new place and new people can be a little intimidating to a dog. Especially one that hasn’t been properly socialized early on.

The best thing you can do for your dog is to start socializing them at an early age. The primary socialization window for your puppy is 3-16 weeks of age. It’s great if you can get your puppy interacting with at least five different people, places, and things a day but make sure to hold off meeting a lot of other dogs, like attending puppy classes or daycare, until your puppy has received their 2nd set of shots.
Your vet may tell you it’s best to hold of socializing your puppy until it’s received it’s 3rd set at around 5 months but studies have proven that your puppy is healthy enough to attend puppy class and visiting the dog park after just the 2nd set. Remember, you can cure illness but you cannot cure socialization! I highly recommend puppy classes as a dog trainer. Especially ones that focus on socialization. If your puppy isn’t well socialized by the time they are 6 months old you could end up with a fearful dog and behavior problems down the road and poor Fido will have missed out on fantastic opportunities to get out there and have a blast with his canine companions!
If you have an older dog, you can still get them in on the fun! Sign them up for obedience classes or have a small play date with a few friendly dogs. This will give them the opportunity to meet new friends in a supervised, off-leash environment. Your dog won’t be cured of it’s shy nature and they might end up playing with only one or two dogs, but you may find they really enjoy themselves!
It’s in your dog’s nature to be part of a pack, so help make it an enjoyable experience for them by getting them out there and socializing early!

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