FAQ's About Socialization
Should I wait until my puppy's fully vaccinated to work on socialization?
Veterinary associations say no. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior edited its position statement on puppy socialization over a decade ago to shine a light on the fact that puppies are more at risk for behavioral problems in life than infective diseases during the early months. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests puppies are exposed to a variety of socialization opportunities before being fully vaccinated in order to have healthy coping skills. They point out that behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one reason puppies are put in shelters or die before dogs turn three years old.
My dog is older than 16 weeks, are we too late to socialize?
You may use this checklist with older puppies and dogs, but
you will want to go slower and with more rewards for your pup as they will be less eager to embrace these new sights and sounds.
My dog seems overwhelmed when crowds of kids or new noises startle him or her. Should we just push forward when they are anxious?
No. Let dogs and puppies of all ages and stages move at their own pace. We want to avoid overstimulation, fearfulness, or withdrawal. Instead, these are opportunities we are providing for puppies and dogs to be exposed to these people, places, and things on their own terms. You are your dog’s advocate. If they are overwhelmed, don’t force interaction with a new person or object. Be prepared to step in and provide another opportunity later. This will help them feel safe and open to more experiences.
We can tell which puppies we work with have been well-socialized and which haven’t. The families who have been purposeful about it experience a more relaxed and easygoing relationship with their dog and enjoy the confidence their dog feels in new settings and meeting new people. We are thrilled to support you giving your puppy a chance to be the most relaxed and confident dog they can be!