Little puppies don't come into our world with ready knowledge about humans or the world in which we live. They need to learn all about people, cars, vacuum sweepers, weaving bicycles, and more. If they don't have a chance to learn about the people, animals, and things in their environment, they may grow up to be fearful, anxious, antisocial adults. An un-socialized dog is untrustworthy and an unwanted liability. They often become fear-biters. Often they like to fight with other dogs. They are difficult to train and are generally unpleasant to be around. Un-socialized dogs cannot adapt to new situations and a simple routine visit to the vet is a nightmare not only for the dog itself, but for everyone involved. Don't let this happen to you and your dog.
Socializing is one of the most important things for a young puppy. Pleasant exposures to people, other dogs and other animals will have long-lasting influences on the sociability of your dog. Well socialized dogs tend to be friendlier and less fearful of the kinds of individuals they were socialized to. Puppies, like babies, are like sponges--ready to absorb all kinds of information about their world. Six to twelve weeks of your puppy's life are the most critical for its development. The socialization process primarily begins soon as the puppy is away from its mother. Most times puppies are not found homes till eight to twelve weeks. This means that sometimes the work is out of your control. If your puppy has been raised by a breeder with many dogs and puppies you may have an uphill battle to fight when you get your new puppie home.
At Papillon New York, we start socializing puppies at eight weeks with simple, quiet, one-person introductions, and gradually includes more people in noisier situations. It is important that your puppy learn that it is a subordinate member of your family. This will minimize the potential for bad habits and behavior problems such as dominance or aggression. We invite other people and puppies to come to our homes to meet, greet, and play with the pup. As soon as the veterinarian says your puppy is adequately vaccinated, we take it on as many walks and outings as possible. We avoid situations that might be high risk for disease such as neighborhood parks or areas with stray dogs. To make the new introductions special we give a small biscuit to the puppy whenever it meets a new friend. If your puppy seems exceptionally cautious when introduced to situations or stimuli we start off with mild exposure, and give food rewards for non-fearful responses.
It's important that your puppy meets a variety of people of all ages and appearances. A puppy that grows up in a restricted social group (e.g. all adults or all females) may show fear and aggression when later exposed to people who appear or act significantly different (e.g. children, men with beards).
Properly socializing and shaping your puppy's temperament requires an investment in time. You will find that our efforts and ideals are well worthwhile when you become the proud parent of a social, friendly dog.