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The Puppy Socialite


Proper exposure and handling of puppies during their first months of life is essential to the prevention of behavioural problems. The socialization period in puppies begins at the age of 3 weeks and continues to the ages of 12 – 14 weeks depending upon the breed. During this time, a puppy’s brain is developing social capabilities and associations. Puppies who do not experience appropriate socialization during this period often suffer behavioural problems throughout their lives.


Appropriate Socialization


  • Expose your puppy to a variety of new people, animals, places, things and situations without causing him/her to become fearful.
  • Evaluate your lifestyle and decide what situations your puppy will need to deal with throughout his/her life.
  • Carry treats with you at all times so that any new person your puppy meets will be able to provide a positive interaction.
  • Exposure to stimuli such as vacuum cleaners, cameras, popping balloons, crates, loud noises and the veterinary clinic are important and will help your puppy develop social skills.
  • Create positive exposures towards objects as well as people.
  • Make procedures such as grooming ‘fear free’ these events need to be positive experiences so your puppy learns brushing, grooming and nail trimming are good experiences.
  • Friendly interactions with other animals are important for your puppy’s social development.
  • Arrange play dates with friends who have other dogs or puppies; be sure to supervise all interactions closely.
  • If an adult dog is avoiding he puppy, growling or playing too roughly, remove your puppy from the situation immediately. A bad experience at this sensitive age can have long lasting negative effects.


On a final note doggy playmates can increase the risk of infectious diseases. Make sure all playmates are up-to-date on vaccinations and are healthy. Avoid locations where unvaccinated dogs may be allowed to hang out such as pet stores, off leash parks etc. until your puppy is fully vaccinated.


Written by Marie Hearn




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