The most common cause of unprovoked aggression in dogs is a lack of socialization in the first two or three months of their lives. Bringing a new puppy home might seem like a big change for you, but imagine the kind of change your puppy is dealing with! New sights, sounds, people, other animals –it’s a big world out there!
But Pet Pro Luciano Aguilar says that there are some things you can do to help ease him into his new world.
“Socialization means learning how to be a part of society. And for your puppy, that means learning how to deal with a variety of real world situations. Puppies that are well socialized are often more relaxed and enjoyable adults who have fewer behavioral problems later in life,” Luciano explains.
The best time to socialize your dog is when he’s between three and twelve weeks old. This is when your puppy will be most accepting of new experiences. The best way to expose your puppy to new experiences is to hold him in your arms. This will not only make him feel more comfortable, but you’ll feel comfortable knowing he’s out of harm’s way.
All of the situations your puppy experiences are important, but the three most important situations to introduce him to are new people, new dogs, and new environments.
The sight of a new puppy will draw plenty of admirers to your dog, so socializing your puppy to new people is easy. Just hold your dog in your arms while you let new people embrace him.
Putting your puppy on the ground with an older dog can be dangerous, so hold your puppy in your arms and let him become aware of the other dog. He’ll have plenty of time to play with new dogs when he’s a little older and more stable.
Exposing your puppy to new environments is really important. Take him to the park, and where it’s safe, let him walk around and sniff everything he sees. Exploring is how puppies learn!
“With all new situations, keep a close eye on your puppy. If he becomes overwhelmed at any point, remove him from the situation. The last thing you want to do is to create a lifelong fear or phobia,” adds Luciano. “And the more experiences you expose your puppy to, the more comfortable he’ll be around them as he grows up.”