How to Socialize Your Puppy Successfully: A Few Practical Tips

Puppies are around five to eight weeks old when they first meet their new owners. This is quite an unsettling time for them, and at this point they’re most in need of familiarity and comfort. Socializing your puppy at the beginning of a pet's life is crucial as puppies and young dogs can get used to any sounds, smells and new people (or dogs) almost instantly. It’s also the best time to help them get over fear, an emotion that dominates everything else at this time to develop confidence and become well adjusted.

The first few days with your new puppy

When you bring the puppy home from the breeder, put them in a crate and allow them to get comfortable with being in a small space. Teach your puppy to settle in and then train them to rest. Most puppies will be upset the first few days, so give them a little space to adjust. It’s important to be with the puppy during all of their waking hours at this point. Set an alarm when you need to feed your puppy, take them outside to do their business, slot in some playtime and other activities to get familiar with routines.

Tips to socialize a puppy

Introducing new sights and sounds: Begin trying to socialize your puppy as soon as they’re weaned (about six weeks of age). For most puppies, this means getting them comfortable around unfamiliar people, objects and environments and introducing them to a variety of things in new settings. Teaching your puppy to accept the world around them is a great opportunity to make positive associations. This is when they’re at their most curious. Get them to meet different people, take them to different areas and neighborhoods, and treat them with patience while they get used to all of this.

Take it slow and with patience: Puppies will take time to learn and it’s only with patience and affection that you can help them progress. Give them treats and hugs every time they accomplish something to associate it with positive feelings and comfort.

Earn their trust: Puppies need lots of attention because they are still trying to figure out who they are and what they are supposed to do. They need to feel safe and that you’ll protect them from strangers. Gradually, they will trust you and the world around them as their experiences widen and confidence increases.

Introducing strangers: Next, it’s time to meet a few strangers. Take your dog to a particular place to meet other people and their pets. Call ahead of time and make arrangements to meet and greet other pet parents or dog-loving friends. Begin with a calm, low-key introduction, but if he becomes aggressive, relax. Use the gentle leader collar and treat, and don