Socializing our puppies is one of the most important things you can do to get their lives started on the right paw. But there are a lot of common outdated misconceptions about puppy socialization that are ineffective and even dangerous. In this blog, we outline the top techniques for introducing our little fluff balls to the world in the most healthy way possible.
What Is Puppy Socialization?
The reason why socializing with our dogs is so important is to help them get acclimated to all sorts of situations. Our dogs should be able to take in new sights, sounds, and smells in a positive way. Getting our dogs used to all sorts of things at a young age helps them grow up to not be scared or triggered by loud noises, children, postal workers, doorbells, riding in the car, etc.
Socialization is great for pet owners because their animals usually bark less, but the main positive is that your dog is happier. We never want our fluffy family members to be stressed or have constant anxiety. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) shares that behavioral issues are the leading causes of relinquishment to shelters. This means it is the number one cause of death in dogs under the age of 3 in the United States.
Socializing your dog is another part of being a responsible dog owner. Thankfully there are so many options when it comes to socializing a puppy! Here are some of our top tips:
Get Started Right Away
If you’re adopting a puppy from a breeder (that is a responsible breeder), then their socialization process would have already begun well before you picked them up. However, if you’re purchasing a puppy from your neighbor’s dog who accidentally got pregnant, or are rescuing a pup from the shelter, there are a couple of things you can do right away.
Your puppy might not have all of its vaccinations yet, but this doesn’t mean they need to stay home. Contrary to popular belief, if your puppy has their primary vaccinations, maternal immunity, and has the appropriate care, the risk of them catching infections from other animals is really low.
Many used to avoid socializing their puppies in fear they would get sick. But the risk of improperly socializing our puppies puts them at a bigger disadvantage in the long run. Here are some easy ways to socialize your puppy:
- Take them on plenty of walks
- Take them on new routes
- Let them meet new people and other dogs
- Take them in the car
- Let them explore snow and rain
- Invite all of your friends over to play with the puppy
- Set up puppy play dates
- Take in public whenever possible
Treat every new experience as a positive one by offering treats, lots of pets, and make sure to give off a confident and positive attitude. Our dogs can read our emotions, so positivity is key. The more new experiences your puppy has in those first few months, the better adjusted they will become.
Avoid Dog Parks & Pet Stores
If there are a couple of places we would advise you to avoid with your puppies, it would be the dog park, pet stores, or anywhere with a lot of dogs. This is because your puppy is not yet fully vaccinated and the other dog’s vaccination history would be unknown. Once your puppy has all of its vaccinations with yearly routine boosters, then they are good to go.
Another reason is that one bad experience with another dog in those first few months can be traumatizing. It can turn your dog off from meeting new dogs for a while, thus slowing down their socialization progress. It is best to introduce your puppy to other animals in a secure environment when you know the other dog and its owner well. It is also a good idea to keep the dogs on their leashes until you feel confident that they will play nicely with one another.
You never know what might happen when dogs meet one another. However, it is important not to let this fear hold you and your puppy back. This is why getting the right dog insurance is so vital. Pet insurance with wellness plans offers so much peace of mind.
Your puppy’s preventive care, like vaccinations, is covered with the wellness plan. The insurance portion is there in the case of emergency illness or injury. The best pet insurance for dogs will offer pet owners flexible ways to protect their furry friends.
Enroll In Puppy Training
It’s important not to choose any old puppy training class off the internet. Do your research and most importantly read the reviews. There should never be more than 6-7 dogs in each class, and the facility should be clean. This includes asking for proof of primary vaccinations beforehand.
When it comes to vaccinations before class, according to the AVSAB puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the duration of the class.
Vaccinations are the top reason why pet insurance with wellness plans are perfect for puppies. You can use the wellness portion of the puppy insurance plan right away for vaccinations. Then once the 30 day waiting period is over you will have access to emergency care as well. Puppies keep us on our toes so it’s important to protect them and our wallets by having the best pet insurance for dogs, Wagmo!
Don’t Be Pushy
While most of our advice above goes for both puppies and for older dogs they might react differently to different situations. If your dog is very shy, timid, or untrusting due to their past does not mean they always have to live in fear. Keep every new experience positive with lots of treats and don’t push them too hard.
If your dog has severe anxiety and doesn’t seem to be getting any braver, you should talk to your vet. Sometimes they can prescribe certain medications that can help and offer your dog a new lease on life.
Be Prepared With Puppy Insurance Plans!
Pet insurance plans are perfect for when rescuing an older pet because you don’t know everything about their past. Pet insurance with wellness and care plans offers you the option of medications, medical care, diagnostics, and therapies, as well as routine care like vaccinations and bloodwork.
If you’re looking for a puppy insurance plan then look no further. Wagmo is a pet insurance company that offers the best pet insurance coverage for dogs as well as the best wellness options. Mix and match dog insurance with Wagmo Pet Insurance and Wagmo Pet Wellness Plans to find the perfect fit for your puppy and your wallet!