Owning a new puppy is an exciting time, but it can also be quite stressful. Making sure you are incorporating everything they need into their lives at the right stages can be overwhelming. Today we want to discuss where to socialize a puppy and the certain steps you should follow to keep them safe and happy.
From dog parks to events, there are certain locations that are better than others to meet other dogs. Once your pup has all the proper vaccinations, you will want to get them socialized. So they can be confident but calm around other dogs for the rest of their lives. Puppies that are not properly socialized will become timid or aggressive. Both of which negatively affect your dogs and yourself. Which is why it is so important to know where to socialize puppies.
Socializing Spots for Pups
There are certain locations that are better for meeting dogs than others. The locations below are some of the best to look at when trying to find out where to socialize your puppy.
Independent Coffee Shops
As opposed to chain brand coffee shops, independent coffee shops will often allow you to bring your pup. Those that are very special will let you take them inside. Most, however, will offer outdoor or separate seating for customers with dogs. Therefore, you know you will be meeting other dogs and people that are happy with dogs when taking your puppy to these locations.
Furthermore, those that take their dogs to these locations are usually well behaved and controlled. As they have to be in order to be sat around other dogs, food, and people for a longer period of time. So you don’t have to worry that your puppy could be at risk from an uncontrolled or aggressive dog. Just be sure to bring your puppy on a leash and monitor the other dog’s behavior to see their boundaries. As puppies aren’t the best at respecting them.
The dog park is an ideal place to take your dog. As you know there will always be dogs for your pup to interact with. There will also be a wide variety of owners for your puppy to interact with. Such as children, adults, men, and women. This means your dog will get used to all kinds of individuals and help them to become more socially confident.
Of course, you will need to be careful when bringing your puppy to a dog park. Due to all the energetic and large dog breeds that could knock over your pup. Either choose a quiet area of the dog park or a time where there will be fewer dogs initially. Your puppy needs to work their way up to a high level of confidence. One accidental knock from a large dog can cause them to become quite anxious. Therefore you will have to help build up their confidence once more. However, once you have found suitable dogs to let your puppy meet, they can also greet their owners to meet new people too.
Everyone loves taking their dog to the beach. They love to run through the sand, play in the ocean, and of course, meet new friends! Many families and owners will take their dog to the beach so they too can enjoy some beach fun. Just be sure that the dog you are introducing your pup too is dog friendly, as not every dog on the beach is. So ask the owner if you have any worries.
Another great socialization point about the beach is the wide range of people that go to visit. This way, your puppy can grow their confidence in greeting adults and children alike. Simply walking your adorable dog around will be enough to attract people to greet them. However, you can also consider asking people if they would be willing to meet your pup to help their socialization skills. Who would say no?
Puppy Meet and Greet
There are classes that you can sign your puppy up for that allow them to meet other puppies, and sometimes, healthy adult dogs. Owners and their puppies will come along to these events and follow the advice of the professionals to ensure a safe and fulfilling session. This is usually half an hour to an hour long and allows your dog to meet different dogs and owners at this crucial stage in their life.
You can usually sign up for these classes through your vets or through professional behaviorist groups. An added bonus of them is that they are usually free. You and your pup will receive anywhere from three to ten sessions of socialization in a contained and monitored location. So at the end of these sessions, your puppy should have a stable foundation of socialization.
Dog Show Events
Where is a better place to find other dogs than show events? Of course, many of these dogs will be ready to perform, but there are many other dogs enjoying the atmosphere of the day. Your pup will be able to meet many other dogs that are well behaved, and not leash reactive. You know this because they will have to be in order to perform in the shows.
While walking around the show, you can ask other owners if their dog could greet yours and if they would be interested in petting your puppy. Make sure your dog is not overwhelmed, of course. If they begin to seem stressed by the large numbers of people, dogs, and a large amount of noise, take them outside for a break. Perhaps it is time to go home for the day, but you certainly will have made progress together!
A Regular Dog Walk
Walking your puppy is a necessity. Once they are of the right age and have had all the correct vaccinations of course. Where is a better place to meet other dogs, than on a dog walk? Every owner does this daily to ensure their dog is well exercised and socialized for the day. To increase your chances of meeting other dogs, walk routes that are popular for dog walkers, such as through woods, near fields, or even short hikes. Just make sure your puppy is not walking too long of a distance!
Always be sure to ask an owner if you can approach their dog with yours, as they may be leash reactive or generally nervous. Once given the approval, you can do so and use your puppy’s leash to make sure they do not jump all over their new potential friend.
Tips to Follow When Socializing
There are a few tips and things to check before encouraging your dog to socialize.
Check With the Authorities
When you are considering bringing your puppy to a show or establishment, you must be aware that not every place is dog friendly. You should always check first to see if you can take your puppy inside and if there any rules when doing so. For example, some dog-friendly buildings will allow dogs in as long as they are continuously kept on a leash. Others will do so if the owner can show they have doggy poo bags on them in case of an accident.
To find out if a place is dog friendly, you can check online. Look at their website or social media pages to see if they have mentioned this or not. If you cannot find out from looking alone, consider contacting them. Most places will have an email or telephone number that you can quickly use to ask. Sometimes it is easiest to just go in and ask though. Leave your pup at home for this trip and just pop inside and ask an employee if the establishment is dog friendly, then you know whether you can revisit with your dog, or go looking elsewhere.
Keep the Focus on Your Pup
Sometimes, as owners, we can forget that puppies are going to make mistakes and need to rely on us more. This does not go just for play or potty training, but socialization as well. Make sure that you are praising your puppy throughout the process. Not only that, but ensure they are getting regular breaks and not feeling overwhelmed. Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety such as whale eyeing or ears bent backward. A puppy will need a break from play and interactions of strangers for some alone time or cuddles from you. It all depends on them as an individual as well as their breed characteristics.
Expose it to Different Dog Types
When your dog is young, they go through sensitive periods, meaning they need to be exposed to all kinds of new things so they are not fearful of them. This includes dogs, as they may feel confident with small breeds but not large if they have never met one before. This is why it is so important to introduce your dog to many different types of dogs, from large breed, thick-coated canines, to tiny, short furred rascals. Make sure they have socialized with a wide variety of individuals so they realize there is not just one shape, size, or color of dog. And that each dog can be a new friend.
Invite People Over
By inviting your friends and family over, your pup will be able to socialize with all new kinds of people that you trust. Furthermore, if you know they have a patient and friendly dog, you can invite them over as well! As long as your puppy has had their vaccinations of course. This gives your little buddy some time to greet people in a place of safety because they are at home, and they also have the option to leave to the comfort of their own bed with isolation if they so request it. This can make socializing go much more smoothly and help increase your puppy’s confidence.
Expose them to Different Types of People
From different age ranges to adults of different heights, puppies need to be introduced to a wide range of people. Often, dogs may feel comfortable around adults, but show some nerves or aggression towards children. This may also be because some children do not detect the boundaries of dogs, but it may also be that your puppy has never properly met children before. Make sure that your dog meets and greets all kinds of people so they can love every kind stranger that asks to pet your adorable friend.
Where to Socialize a Puppy – FAQ
We have also put together a FAQ section to further explain any more details you need to know about socializing a puppy.
You can over socialize your puppy whenever they are socializing for a long period of time. This can cause them to feel overwhelmed or irritable, leading to anxious or aggressive behavior. These negative responses can cause another dog, with whom they are interacting with, to react negatively back. This can lead to general social anxiety or aggression. This is why it is so crucial to make sure your puppy is not being overwhelmed and that they regularly have breaks.
If a puppy is scared in the moment, let them calm down entirely before trying. However, if you generally have an anxious dog, the key is patience and socializing them to the right individuals initially. If they are scared of interacting with humans, then do not introduce them to a young child. Instead, allow them to meet an experienced and patient dog owner.
Let them take their time and allow them to approach your guest, and not the other way around. Ask your guest to not initially make eye contact with them, and instead let your puppy sniff your guest. When they begin to try to play, rub against them, or climb on them, your guest may then begin to stroke them.
If their anxiety is targeted towards dogs, allow them to meet a calm and patient dog first. Let your puppy approach the new dog in a similar fashion and be sure to make sure neither dog is too overwhelmed.
When your puppy is properly vaccinated, they can then begin to socialize with other dogs and go outside. If they begin to socialize before then, they will be at a huge risk of becoming ill.
One of the best places to take your puppy to socialize is to a puppy meet and greet. These locations allow your puppy to meet other puppies in a controlled setting. Furthermore, a professional is watching over their behavior to ensure they are not overwhelmed and all the puppies are socializing as they should be.
Puppy socializing is important, so therefore, know in the best place to take them is too. We hope you feel more confident about where to socialize a puppy now and are ready to take your pup to make some new friends.