Young puppies are adorable!!…Which is why they often get away with jumping, chewing, and misbehaving. The thing is, they are learning from every moment of their lives whether you like it or not. This is why it’s ideal to start training and socialization them as soon as you bring them home. In other words, teach and reward them for good manners and create enjoyable experiences when exposing them to any and everything they might encounter in their life (aka socialize them). Hint: Give treats helps make it a positive and successful experience!
After four months, this window begins to close and your puppy may become cautious of new people, children, dogs, sounds, items, and the list goes on.
That’s not to say that you can’t socialize an older dog. You might just need to backtrack if there are things that cause your dog anxiety, whether it’s the toaster or the beeping from your phone. Need help? Reach out to me about private dog training.
The big lesson here—Don’t wait to start training! Slowly introduce new items, sounds, people, etc, using treats to create a positive experience. You may want or need to start with the item or noise far away, using recordings if needed, in order to reward your dog for calm, relaxed behavior. Note your dog’s response! Literally, keep a journal so you can note improvements or regressions, being specific as to what item, person, etc you were focusing on.
Did they get stressed and growl, nip, or bark? Did they try to run away and/or freeze? Or, were they calm and relaxed, either focusing on the treats or so relaxed that they didn’t even need them. If they are upset in any way, try again another day with the noise, item, person, etc further away, quieter, or whatever helps not only reduce it’s negative effect on your dog’s emotional state but creates a positive experience.
Here is a list of some things to incorporate socialize your dog to as early as possible…