Socializing your New Puppy

Socializing your puppy is very important. It sets the foundation for a happy and healthy relationship between your pup and the world around them.

Before they leave us, they will already be comfortable with young children, cats, other adult dogs, baths, hairdryers, and car rides. The rest is up to you!

The Benefits of Socializing Your Puppy

There are a number of benefits that come with socializing your puppy well. First and foremost, it allows them to feel safe and comfortable around new people, and in any situation. This will help to lessen their stress levels, and yours, and make it much more fun to take them out and about. Proper socialization prepares your pup for unexpected situations and helps avoid unwanted behavior, such as biting or barking. Fear can produce all kinds of undesirable behavior. Good socialization makes your puppy welcome wherever they go, and makes it much more enjoyable to take them to dog parks, on walks or on trips.

Before You Start

Before you start introducing your puppy to all the wonderful animals in their world, make sure they have completed their 12 and 16 week vaccinations. Their 8 week vaccinations will have been given before you pick them up to go home. Your vet will be able to provide you with a vaccination schedule after the 16 week rabies shot. While vaccinations do not protect your pup against everything, they can help to keep them safe from some common diseases that can be contracted during socialization.

Introducing Your Puppy to Strangers

One of the first steps in socializing your puppy is to get them used to meeting new people. The more the better, as long as the experience is positive. This is particularly important when your puppy is meeting children. Positive experiences early on will set them up for healthy relationships with children for the rest of their life. As we all know, young children, especially, can be unpredictable, so keep a close eye on those first interactions to avoid tail and ear pulling. Bernese Mountain Dogs and Bernedoodles are naturally amazing with kids, and one day, they will probably sit contentedly with a toddler crawling all over them and yanking merrily. But it is still best to avoid any scary or painful experiences when they are young and impressionable.

If you are able to find a puppy-friendly adult dog your puppy can safely interact with, this can be a wonderful way to help them become more comfortable with new dogs. If you don’t have access to another dog, you can also consider visiting a dog park. You can also visit a pet store, or go for a walk in a park. When introducing your puppy to a stranger, make sure that your puppy can be controlled. Let the person know that you are training your puppy, and let them know how you would like them to interact.

Introducing Your Puppy to Other Animals

One of the best ways to socialize your puppy is to introduce them to other types of animals. Cats, chickens, goats, horses. Keep the safety of your pup, and the other animal in mind, especially if they are meeting for the first time. It is best to have your dog on a leash, particularly if they are meeting an animal that they could harm if they got too excited.

Taking Your Puppy to New Places

Take your puppy on frequent car rides if you plan to travel with them. This will help them to get used to being in a car and will make it less likely that they will be anxious or stressed when you travel with them. If your puppy is still young and you plan to take them to a restaurant or a place where food is served, you can try to introduce them to the experience early on, and work on commands like “no begging” at home before you go. If you plan to take your puppy to a store, or visit friends or family, take them when they are young so that they can get used to these places. If you will be flying with your pup, have them spend time in the carrier or crate you will be using on the plane ahead of time. First, just have it in the room with your puppy so they can get used to it. Then coax them in with a treat or bully stick without closing the door. Then close the door for just a few minutes, and gradually increase the amount of time until you are close to the amount of time they will spend in the carrier/crate on the plane.

Socializing Your Puppy in Different Environments

You can help to socialize your puppy by exposing them to different environments at a young age. Normalize all the sights, smells and sounds. You can visit busy streets, parks, or anywhere you frequent.

Fearful Behavior

If your puppy is afraid of something like the vacuum, normalize it. Vacuum and talk to your dog in a happy voice. Keep going until they realize it isn’t going to hurt them, and stop paying attention to it. The idea is to desensitize them, until it is just background.

Final Tips for Socializing Your Puppy

The bottom line is that you want your puppy to have lots of positive experiences with as many people, animals and environments as possible! This will make for a happy, confidant, pleasant companion who feels safe and secure in the world.

Montana Berner's - Breeders of exceptional Bernese Mountain Dogs
Montana Bernese Mountain Dog and Bernedoodle Breeders


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