Did you welcome a new furry family member into your home over the holidays? While puppies are a wonderful addition, it’s important to be prepared to train and socialize your pup as soon as he comes home.
Socializing your dog is not an easy task, but it is totally worth it. Having a dog that is used to different people, animals, places and experiences is priceless. Dogs who are exposed to many different things as puppies, are more adaptable, easy going and secure as adults. Many new dog parents know they need to socialize their puppy, but don’t realize how important the early days are for doing so.
When to socialize
Puppies are genetically disposed to exploring everything around them until just over 4 months old. Their brains develop a great deal during the first months of life. Because of this, the first 100 days are key to socializing your puppy. The goal is for your puppy to experience 100 positive new things in the first 100 days after you adopt him.
How to socialize
Introducing your puppy to as many people as possible is fun and key to this socialization process. Your puppy should meet men, women, boys, girls, babies, old people, large and small people. He should meet people with sunglasses, big coats, beards, moustaches and people of all races. Your puppy should also meet dogs of all sizes and colors. He should visit many different environments – parks, pet stores, lakes, restaurants and noisy areas. Basically you should expose him to anything he might encounter later in life. Check out this list from our friends at Good Dogs & Co for a complete list of ideas for 100 positive experiences.
BarkHappy can help
One of the best ways to socialize your puppy is to download BarkHappy, an app made for socializing dogs. It allows users to connect with other dogs nearby to make friends or play dates. Users can look for dogs that are the same age and/or get along well with small dogs. Check out the BarkHappy meet ups for a fun and easy way for your puppy to meet new friends. The app is free and currently available in the Austin, Seattle and Portland areas now for both Android and iOS.
Meeting puppy pals
When introducing your puppy to new furry friends at the park or a BarkHappy Meetup, make sure to:
- Start slowly so you don’t overwhelm your puppy.
- Scope out the other dog’s demeanor before introducing your puppy. If he shows signs of aggression, find another new pal.
- Keep a close eye on your puppy as he meets new friends
- Find friendly dogs by using the search feature on the BarkHappy app
- Hit the dog park when it’s not too crowded the first few times.
- Bring treats to encourage positive behavior
– Consult your veterinarian about the best time to introduce your puppy to other dogs based on his vaccination schedule.
Once you’ve introduced your puppy to 100 experiences, don’t stop there! Continue to build his positive disposition by showing him different aspects of life. The BarkHappy app will also introduce you to dog friendly restaurants and bars to explore with your pup. Make sure to share your 100 positive experiences on Facebook and Instagram and tag your photos #BarkHappy to be featured. Happy exploring!