3rd Sign of a Responsible Breeder: Socializes Puppies
If you have decided to get a purebred dog, you are probably searching for a responsible breeder. We have already covered a couple of key items to look for when selecting a breeder, but this is something you may not have thought of. Even if a puppy is healthy physically, their mental health is crucial to their development also. Interview your selected breeders about their socialization process and make sure they can talk to you in depth about their practices and training methods.
Why Socialize Puppies?
I have firsthand knowledge of how lack of socialization can affect a dog. I have a good friend with an Akita puppy that didn’t know about socialization. It was an abandoned pup, so he got her very, very young. He didn’t expose her to people and other dogs, but he loved her and took care of her like his own child. She loves him and is a wonderful dog, but with new people and new places she turns aggressive, growls, bites and even foams at the mouth when upset. It is very difficult to take her to the vet and he gave up on taking her to a groomer and just bathes her at home. She cannot go places unless it’s a remote area with no other people or dogs. Even though they have a wonderful relationship and he will never give her up, this is why many owners choose not to keep their dogs. Socialization makes a world of difference.
Would you like to be able to take your trusted pal with you anywhere? Would you like to know your pup will behave and be comfortable with strangers? Would you like your new pooch to be comfortable in your home? If you said yes to any of these, then you should be concerned about socialization when looking for a puppy for sale.
Puppies that have the advantage of proper socialization will develop into calmer dogs that are less likely to become aggressive. Overall they will make more enjoyable pets. When they are exposed to many different scenarios as young pups, they will be more comfortable with them later in life.
When Does Socializing Start and End?
Truly, socialization starts when they are born. They learn how to act with their mother and siblings right away, but the critical period is from 3 weeks to 12 weeks old. This is when they should experience many scenarios in a positive environment. This is one reason why it is not recommended to take a puppy from its home prior to 8 weeks old. A responsible breeder knows just what a puppy needs in those first weeks. Also, puppies under 8 weeks old need special health attention that is best given by an expert, so wait until your puppy is at least 8 weeks old to bring him home.
Now, don’t think that socialization and training ends when the puppy comes home with you. The first 18 months continue to be an important period of time for you and your new puppy, particularly breeds such as Rottweilers. Keep introducing your puppy to new people and places.
How to Socialize Your Puppy
Your breeder should tell you what strategies they have already used to socialize your new pup, but you will want to add to the list when they come home. Expose them to different types of people, children, animals, sounds, places and experiences that they might encounter later in life. One rule of thumb is 100 people before 12 weeks. Also, don’t forget about nail trimming, and other grooming items like clippers.
It should be done in a comfortable and calm manner. Don’t overwhelm them and pay attention to your puppy’s reaction. If they are cowering and becoming shy or aggressive, you should ease up on the new stimulation. If the puppy does seem frightened, move further away from the situation. Make sure you are not tense. Animals sense our feelings more than you may realize.
If you decide to enroll your puppy in a class, this can be done around 7-8 weeks after they have had proper vaccination shots and deworming. This is recommended to protect them from any unnecessary risk involved with meeting lots of new dogs and people.
Proper socialization takes time and effort, but it will really pay off in the long run. Don’t purchase from a breeder that does not do this and make sure you continue the efforts at home too. It is essential to help your new pup develop into the best dog he or she can be.