Socializing your puppy from the beginning (after they have had their vaccinations) is very important for developing their behavior. Creating positive experiences when socializing your new puppy is key. Try to expose your puppy to a wide variety of people, dogs, other animals, travel, sounds, and various places, as this will shape their behavior later on in life.
Creating Positive Experiences
The puppy stage is a critical time for introducing your new pup to many different surroundings and environments. This will allow them to grow up to be confident and social dogs. It is important to have them experience social interactions but to make sure those interactions are always positive experiences to avoid fear and anxiety when they get older. Start by introducing them to situations you can control. For example, introduce them to close friends in your life. You should also introduce them to dogs you know at neutral grounds after your pup has all their necessary vaccinations.
Socializing with Young Children
Socializing a puppy with infants, toddlers and preschoolers follow the same rules as socializing a puppy with adults. If the puppy does not want to socialize, do not force them to.
The best way to introduce your new puppy to children is to get them to stand a few feet away for the first time. This way, if the puppy wants to say hello, they can without having their personal space invaded. Having a child approach the puppy too quickly can make them nervous or over-excited. If in a large public area (a park, for example) with unfamiliar children, it is always a good idea to ask the child’s parent(s) if it is OK for their child to greet your puppy. The parents know what their child’s behavior is like and will judge how the situation will go on the child’s behalf.
If that child has been given the OK, give them a few treats that they can give to your puppy. This will teach your puppy that kids are a good thing. If they behave, they will get a treat. It is recommended to put the treat on the ground as opposed to hand feeding. This will discourage your puppy from getting used to taking food out of people’s hands, especially a stranger’s. Treats will help create positive experiences when socializing your new puppy.
As far as petting is concerned, make sure the child is instructed on what to do. Many kids (especially the very young ones) will like to pull on the ears, tap on the head, etc., and may not be giving your puppy what he’s used to. Once the child is done playing with your puppy, it is best to give your puppy a break. You do not want to overwhelm your puppy with too much too fast. This could give them a negative first impression of children.