Puppy socialization is the act of exposing the puppy to many of the experiences and stress-producing situations that will occur in a dog’s life. Lack of puppy socialization can lead to aggression, fear biting, and other behavior issues. The best time for puppy socialization is between 7 to 16 weeks of age.
Puppy socialization should include exposure to new sights, smells, sounds, and surfaces. This includes learning to be handled for grooming and bathing and getting them used to have their feet handled so they are not afraid of nail trims. Having them exposed to new people and other fully vaccinated dogs in a controlled situation is also very important. Alone time will also help prevent separation anxiety as they mature.
Since we don’t want to put the puppies at risk until their vaccinations are completed, we can do certain things to minimize exposure to disease while still socializing the puppy. This would include 1) strollers or backpacks to keep the puppy off the ground but still able to see the neighborhood 2) Having the children dress up in hats, costumes, or sunglasses to expose the puppy to different clothing 3) Taking the puppy to the shopping center while they sit in the car with the owner to see different people and sights.