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How to Socialize Your New Puppy

February 27th, 2012 Pets

Bringing a bright and lively puppy home is an exciting experience, but as the owner, you have a lot of work ahead of you. One of the crucial first steps in owning a young dog is teaching him proper social skills, both with other animals and people. Above all else, you want to be consistent in your rule enforcement. The more frequently you can reinforce good behavior and punish bad behavior, the quicker your pooch will learn how to act.

According to the Humane Society, puppies are most acutely influenced by humans between four and 12 weeks of age. It's also at this point that young dogs realize how much they love to play, which can result in a lot of playful nips at your hands and feet. Teach him that doing so is bad by loudly shouting "ouch" whenever you're bitten. It's also a good idea to hand your pooch a chew toy whenever you pet him - this can help him learn that being pet is wonderful and that his teething is best taken out on this new toy.

According to the Partnership for Animal Welfare, your work doesn't stop once the dog is fully grown. It's important that he meets new people and animals all the time. Try laying out a few different routes for your walk every day and hosting parties. This is a great way to ensure that your pooch makes friends with dogs and humans for quite some time.

Note that your dog isn't going to be friends with every living creature he meets. After all, you probably aren't friends with every single human you come across, and your brain is much bigger! Set reasonable goals for your pooch and do your best to keep him as well-socialized as possible.