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Socializing your puppy should start early on, setting the stage for your dog to feel happy and confident throughout their life. It is key to start exposing your puppy to new people, places, and situation from the time you bring your pet home.

How to Begin Socializing Your Puppy: Starting at Home

The integral window of time to shape positive social behaviors occurs when a dog is five to 16 weeks old. In other words, it begins right away. Playtime is a great way to start socialization and for you and your pup to bond. Try sitting on the floor and cuddle or play using their favorite toys.  Have a friend or two come over during playtime so your pet can start meeting new people.

Bullmastiff puppy playing with a toy
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Bullmastiff puppy with a toy ball laying on the floor.

Puppy’s Day Out

Be sure to introduce your puppy to new people, places, and things gradually. After your dog starts feeling comfortable around new people at home, take them for a walk around the block. Keep the walks close to home and do not take your pup around large crowds of dogs until they are fully vaccinated.  Once your dog begins to feel more comfortable with daily walks, take them to places that have more people and activity, such as a park.  If your dog is on a leash and sitting calmly, invite people to pet them.

Basset Hound puppy sitting in the grass on lead.
chillin/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Puppyhood and Beyond

Socialization is ongoing process that continues throughout your dog’s life. Keep introducing your pet to new places, sounds, people, environments, and other animals to make them  confident in all types of environments. Consider if your dog has the temperament for participating in dog day care, or if supervised play at a well-maintained dog park would be appropriate. You can try taking your puppy on different routes with the opportunity for different sights, sounds, smells, and experiences when you’re out for a walk! Make everything a positive experience by using treats and praise to reward your pup for showing confidence and resilience when encountering new situations.


Related article: Setting Puppies up for Success: Beginning Crate Training
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Puppy Socialization

Socializing your dog in an important step in raising a balanced and happy dog. Not sure where to start? Download this e-book for some tips.
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