The best way to socialize your puppy is to let it play with other puppies! Yes indeed – your puppy needs to meet other puppies in the magic window of socialization (that we discussed in Part #1). Where do you find other puppies?? It’s ok that your puppy gets to socialize with its own litter mates, but to really get the optimum in socialization, your puppy should be exposed to as many other puppies as possible in a friendly, controlled environment. Many dog training centers offer puppy socialization and it is worth your while to check them out. Make sure that the puppies are supervised by a competent dog trainer who will break up play when it gets too rough and makes sure nobody is put in a fearful situation.
The most important thing your puppy will learn from puppy socialization is bit inhibition. This is crucial to the dog’s social development in interacting with humans as it teaches them to not bite hard. Through your dog’s life, it may feel the need to snap, and learning bite inhibition is the best way to avoid a serious incident where a human or other dog could get hurt. You as a human cannot properly and fully teach bite inhibition to your puppy. The best teachers are the pup’s mother, or other puppies.
In addition to puppy socialization venues, you should expose your puppy to as many nice people that look and sound differently - large, small, young, old, male, female, and all the funny clothes we wear and all the funny things we do!
Stay tuned for Part #3 where we share what our partner vets from Front Range Animal Clinic recommend on puppy vaccinations in keeping your pup safe!