Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about how you’re going to socialize a new dog or puppy or recently adopted dog.
I decided to create a list of different people, animals, situations, sights, sounds and experiences you may want to consider introducing to your puppy.
It’s a huge list, but i’s not like you have to expose your puppy to everything. That would be impossible anyway. Especially now that we’re dealing with social distancing and so many closures and restrictions ourselves!
But, if you pick one or two new situations or experiences per week, it could help your dog tremendously.
Try to think about your lifestyle and the situations you’d like your dog to be comfortable with ideally.
I liked to take my old dog Ace on boat rides, for example, but this may not be something you plan to do with your dog.
Socialization is about slowly introducing the pup or dog to new things over time in a positive way. Don’t underestimate the power of hot dogs to help create positive associations!
So here’s my list. Please add your suggestions in the comments, because there’s no way I can think of everything myself.
Things to safely introduce to your puppy or new dog
Different types of people
All types of “strangers” in general if you can. Women, men, seniors, teenagers, elementary-aged kids, pre-school kids, toddlers, babies, etc. The key: Start taking your puppy for walks early.
Different types of clothing
People wearing backpacks, different types of hats, big coats, big sunglasses, uniforms, suits, boots, helmets, burkas, face masks, etc.
The different ways people move
People in wheelchairs, people using crutches or walking with a cane, people pushing strollers, people on bikes or roller blades.
People walking at different speeds – runners, seniors moving stiffly and slowly, kids running and squealing, people running or biking with dogs, etc.
People holding tools
Shovels, rakes, weed-whackers, etc.
Cats, kittens, hamsters, ducks, chickens, horses, pet rabbits, any type of animal you think the pup might live with or be around later in life.
(Thanks for this tip, Colby!) Sand, rocks, gravel, pavement, slippery or shiny floors, wooden walkways, tiles, concrete, dirt, snow, grass.
Swimming at the lake, the ocean, the river, plastic kiddie pool, playing with the hose, etc.
Riding in the car
Going through a car wash, going through a drive-thru window, driving by lots of pedestrian traffic such as school parking lots, etc. See my friend Dawn’s tips on getting a dog used to the car.
Riding in a boat
Or standing on a dock, fishing or watching boats.
Dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds on and off leash, including other puppies. I highly recommend obedience or puppy socialization classes.
Loud outdoor noises
Trucks, trains, tractors, snowmobiles, motorcycles, school buses, lawnmowers, gun shots, fireworks.
Vacuum, blender, loud TV like football games, smoke alarms, musical instruments.
Once we safely have crowds again … Softball games, 5K events, parades, fairs.
Regular places to visit
If these places are open near you, visit places such as the vet, the groomer, dog daycare or boarding facilities, pet friendly stores, different people’s homes.
Getting left alone with someone new, like staying with a friend or relative for a few hours; Getting them used to having their toys or food taken away; visiting the country or visiting the city or the suburbs.
Campfires (smoke and flames), being in a tent, visiting dog friendly restaurants, getting used to a doggy door.
I think I could go on and on …
Also see my posts: