What Does Socializing a Puppy Mean?

What Does Socializing a Puppy Mean?

Socializing a puppy means that your puppy should be meeting as many new people and animals as possible. It involves exposing your puppy to different environments, sights, and sounds, making these experiences as pleasant for your puppy as possible.

Socialized puppies grow into dogs that are comfortable with the world around them.

Proper socialization when young means that a dog is less likely to develop any behavioral problems. On the other hand, pups who are not socialized properly can often develop fear or aggression issues when they are older. This is particularly the case when the dog is exposed to something new.


1. Exposure to new things such as different people, different animals – such as other dogs, cats, chickens, other birds, and livestock, different floor surfaces, and chaotic environments – such as train stations, school playgrounds, crowded markets, construction sites.

2. Involve Family and Friends.  Your puppy needs to learn that these new experiences are safe, no matter who they may be with.

3. Keep It Fun.  Keep your socializing time fun and playful, bringing along treats and toys to distract your puppy if they become fearful of anything. Reward positive behavior as much as possible.


Unvaccinated puppies can be socialized almost the same as the vaccinated one.  Have your puppy interact with dogs that you know are well-cared for such as those belonging to family and friends.  Do it in a controlled environment (a private yard) and wash the visiting dog’s paws to ensure nothing is tracked into the vulnerable puppy. 


Whether due to a traumatic experience, genetics, or their breed being particularly sensitive, some puppies are simply shyer than others.  This can make socializing such a puppy quite challenge but even more important. 

Provide new experiences for the puppy and allow him to interact at his own pace.  Provide distance from the “new scary” thing. Your pup’s body language will tell you when your puppy is afraid. Signs of this include shivering, excessively salivating, or a submissive posture.

When your puppy is showing signs of fear at a new situation, try NOT to provide too much comfort.  This can be hard to do, but you want your puppy to gain the confidence to deal with those types of situations on their own.  Reward the puppy for showing signs of bravery.  (Dr. Alexa Diaz, 2022)

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