Looking to start socializing your new dog? We are so happy to hear that! By nature, your pup
will be very interested in other animals. You want them to be! There are a number of ways for
you to start socializing your dog with other pups and encouraging safe interactions.
When to start puppy socialization
Don’t take your dog on outings where they will be interacting with other pups before they have
all of their shots. The final round of puppy shots happens when they are about 16 weeks old.
Included in the final round is their rabies vaccination, which is very important. You don’t want
your dog to be exposed to any sickness that they have yet to be vaccinated for. Avoid places
like off-leash dog parks until your pup has had their shots.
Instead of the dog park, start off by socializing your dog with other pups in the family. Make sure
these pups are vetted and up to date on their shots. If you know these dogs are safe, then we
encourage monitored socialization!
Where to socialize your pup
Wherever you decide to socialize your pup, you want to make sure it is a safe area.
Socialization zones are best as fenced in areas. You want as many people in the area as there
are dogs. It is unsafe to socialize your dog in an area like a public park that is not fenced. Your
dog can easily get away from you, and other animals can easily make their way to your dog. To
air on the side of caution, stick to areas like fenced in yards or inside a room.
There is a safe way to start socializing your dog, and that is monitored socialization. Don’t ever
leave your dog alone with an animal they’ve never interacted with before. Fear can present itself
by way of aggression, and you want your puppy to be safe.
Things to avoid when socializing your dog
When introducing animals for the first time, it is absolutely recommended to have both dogs on
a leash. The leash gives both owners the control to guide their dog and prevent them from
jumping on the other dog. When they are on a leash, try taking the dogs for a walk to minimize
some of the meet and greet pressure.
Leashes are NOT encouraged when socialization becomes a playdate. It is incredibly
dangerous for dogs to play on leash. Not only can leashes become tangled with each other, but
they can also get caught on sticks, other pups, and anything else you can think of! If you’re
worried about not being able to catch your dog after removing their leash, then check out our
article on teaching your dog good manners.
Socializing your dog is important, but it is even more important for you to do it in a safe manner!
Remember, start slow, socialize in an enclosed area, and remove leashes when play time
begins. Every breed has a different temperament. Some breeds are prone to being very friendly
and some naturally take more time to bond with outside family members. Explore breeds that
may be right for you by using our puppy finder. If you have any questions about socializing your
puppy, then feel free to contact us, or leave a comment below.