Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Positively Puppy Socialization

 The first week you have your new puppy home can be exhausting!  Here is a short part of my Socialization Lessons available inside the Positively Puppy Paws Virtual Training.

Socialization in your household.

Socializing your puppy to your household is a step many people forget about.  This is my general outline for how I go about household socialization with a new puppy.

Day 1- Letting your puppy get used to you.  This is commonly “travel home” day which is often filled with new experiences such as the car ride.  So let puppy relax and get accustomed to you and the people in your house 

Day 2- Getting your puppy comfortable in their general puppy safe environment.  I pick one room of the house, typically a laundry room or kitchen without carpet for easy clean up.  This becomes the pup's safe spot; naps, meals, games all happen here.  If you don’t have one room of the house you can use for this, an X-pen set up in a family will work too.

Day 3- Letting your puppy see and spend short periods, well supervised, in other parts of the house.  At first, just carry the pup with you through the house.  If you are using a backpack or stroller for outdoor socialization, start using it at home today.  All houses and families are different, so if your house is on the quiet side you may be able to disengage from the pup while they take a cat nap on a blanket but if your house is on the busier side you simply want to put them in a stroller or x-pen so they are not interacting with the environment for another day or two.  You need to be especially cautious with this if there are other pets in the home.  (See introducing your puppy to other animals.)

Day 4-  Letting your puppy explore the house one room at a time.  Eventually, as the puppy grows up, I want them to be able to be calm in any room I’m in so today I start to set the tone for that.  Make use of baby gates and other barriers to block the puppy in one room of the house with you.  For example, you need to make sure you are eating while dealing with an exhausting puppy so take the puppy to the kitchen to make a snack.  The barriers help ensure your pup isn’t going to wander off but also helps to prevent other family pets from interacting with the pup while you are distracted with a snack.  FYI- make sure your puppy goes potty before gaining temporary access to this new room.  I will typically take a blanket and a few toys with me while exploring a new room to give pup something that is familiar to them.  And make sure you make the room puppy safe before you let the puppy start exploring.  Throughout the day and maybe some of the next day, do this activity with every room of the house.

Day 5-  Making the pup’s world a bit bigger.  If there is a person that lives elsewhere that will be a “puppy sitter” or have a regular presence in the pup’s life, today is a good day to meet them.  We might go for a “walk” mostly carrying the pup or placing it in a stroller around our neighborhood.  Or we might simply take a 5-10 car ride without any real destination in mind.  Remember socialization is about making experiences, so you don’t have to interact with anyone or anything in these environments, simply being present in the environments will help socialize the puppy.

After this I will pretty much start checking off boxes on my Socialization Checklist trying to hit 3-5 new or novel items on the list each day. Commonly I’ll try to check off items that affect each one of the senses each day.  For example, a car ride might expose people to sounds of traffic, smells of restaurants if go thru a drive thru, seeing people walk through a parking lot, feeling the vibration of the car driving at different speeds, and of course tasting wonder treats along the way to make sure that riding the car is a wonderful experience.

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