Getting a new puppy is an exciting and wonderful event! Whether it's one you fell in love with from the shelter, or a specific breed you know and adore, getting a new puppy is always fun! Along with the usual obedience and house training lessons, you have surely read or been told about the importance of socializing your puppy. Dog trainer Ian Dunbar wrote in his excellent book Before You Get Your Puppy:
Socializing early sets your dog up for long term success. A dog that is friendly around other dogs and people (especially strangers) is a dog that is easy to own and live with, and makes for a relationship with more love.
So you have the goal of how many people and dogs you want to meet by a certain age, so how can you meet this goal?
1. Visit your pups future daycare
2. Visit Stores
If your puppy hasn't received all of their puppy shots, there is a risk of certain diseases, parvo virus being the number one concern. If you're carrying your puppy the risk of catching parvo is greatly reduced, since it spreads the easiest through an infected dogs urine and feces. So if you're worried about the risk, carrying your pup is a great way to keep them safe!
There are lots of stores that allow dogs. The two that are the best are Lowes and Home Depot (always call specific locations ahead of time to confirm they allow dogs).
Home Depot and Lowe's are great places for socialization for several reasons. Firstly, lots of people! There are plenty of people there that will love to meet your puppy, and give it great positive interactions.
Secondly, many of the patrons are contractors and construction workers who will have beards or wear hats. These are things that seem insignificant, but when it comes to puppys it's a big deal! Being exposed to these things young is extremely important to a dogs future confidence.
Lastly, there is a large variety of sounds and sights and smells. From the garden section, to lumber, to tools, your puppy can hear saws, drills, concrete being moved around etc. Hearing these things now is a huge boost in the socialization game for your puppy.
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