Ultimate Guide: First-Time Dog Ownership

2018-11-27T06:28:49+00:00

This is one of the most important guides which will help you to become a responsible dog owner. If you recently brought a puppy to your home or are planning to get one, this article is a must for you which will help you understand about what it takes to get a puppy, care for him and commit to him. For our convenience, this article is divided into three major parts which will help you navigate between all the information.

Thinking about a new dog? Not so fast…

There is nothing more fun than bringing home a cute and adorable puppy. However, being a dog owner requires a lot of responsibility and is not a decision which you can make lightly. When you bring a puppy home, you not only become his owner but also his caretaker for the net ten to twenty years. You will also be responsible of feeding hm a good diet, training him to grow into an obedient and well mannered dog, taking care of his veterinary needs etc. even though all of these sounds like a lot of work, owning a dog is a lot of fun as well.

In order to make sure that you step into dog ownership smoothly, make sure you first learn about various aspects about owning a of before you make the decision of purchasing one. In this article we have covered all information for first time dog owners such as choosing the right breed, purchasing from a responsible breeder, preparing your house for the newest member, canine nutrition, importance of socialization etc.

So if you are ready to know about what it takes to become a responsible dog owner, keep reading on!

Part One – What to Think About Ahead of Time

Before you even think of getting a puppy, first make sure you can provide for all of a dog’s needs. When you bring a puppy home, you automatically become his caretaker for the rest of his life. Owning a dog requires a lot of love, time and energy along with being quite expensive. Make sure you can make all the expenses for the next ten to twenty years.

So before you start looking for puppies, make sure you educate yourself of all the expenses involved in owning a dog and level of commitment that you need to show as a dog owner. After this you can start thinking about what breed you want to have and whether you want to purchase a puppy from a breeder or want to adopt one from a shelter.

Overview of Initial Costs for Dog Ownership

You can find different dog breeds ranging from few thousand rupees to even lakhs. However, purchasing a dog is not the only expense in dog ownership, in fact it is just one of the many that you have to make in the first year. Once you get through the first year, the costs will gradually start to normalize. However, you will still have to think about monthly expenses for the rest of his lifetime.

We have curated a summary below stating almost all major costs that you have to make first year of being a dog owner.

Expected costs in first year:

  • Purchase Price for Your Puppy – Purchasing a puppy is the biggest expense that you have to make in the initial year as a dog owner. Prices of dogs vary greatly depending on what breed you choose or where you plan to get a puppy from. Some puppies sell for a few thousand rupees while some other exquisite breeds sell for as high as few lakhs. Some breeds are desirable than others which causes the prices to go up. Again, puppies born as unplanned litters always costs lower than the ones which are bred from champion show dogs. Purchasing a dog from a breeder will always be much more pricey than adopting a dog from a shelter which is also a noble thing to do. Hence, think of all the options available to you before you make a decision.
  • Puppy Crate or Kennel – Before you bring in a new puppy to your house, you need to set up a special area for your newest member. You can block this special area which is ust meant for your puppy with the help of puppy playpens or baby gates. This where you should set up his crate or kennel. You can also use a small room or bathroom which is not used for this purpose. Initially, it is not ideal to allot a large area to your dog as it might make him more prone to accidents. Hence, having a crate or kennel where your puppy can stand, sit, turn and lie down is a good idea to keep him safe. If you effectively use the rate, your dog will start thinking of its den. This means he might need a crate even after he grows up and you will have to get him a bigger crate as he outgrows the smaller one. Crates usually cost a few thousand rupees generally, however, larger crates may cost higher.
  • Bedding – Along with providing your puppy his own space and a crate, you must also make sure that he is comfortable in his area. You can use old towels and blankets for this purpose. It is not a good idea to invest in an expensive dog bed for your puppy until he is properly housetrained as he might end up ruining it. You can also choose to set up a bedding outside the crate within his area so that he can take a nap on it when he is not confined inside the crate.
  • Toys and Accessories – Apart from a kennel or a crate, you will also need to buy a leash, harness, collar, and some toys for your dog. You must make sure you get your puppy a leash and collar which fits to its size. He will surely outgrow them as he gets bigger and you will have to get him new ones. Try getting toys of different types initially and as you learn what he likes the most, you can get those specifically. Make sure you also include some chewable toys.
  • Cleaning/Grooming Supplies – Another very important aspect that you need to lay emphasis on as a dog owner is your puppy’s grooming supplies. You must have dog shampoo and cleansers that are gentle and are chemical and fragrance free. You will also need other things such as ear cleaning solutions, cotton swabs, nail cutters, combs, dog toothbrush, toothpaste etc. Try to find grooming products that have natural ingredients in them instead of harsh chemicals. Again, it is not uncommon for puppies to have little accidents every now and then. You have to be prepared to clean up for any such accidents as well.
  • Veterinary Care – Vaccination is very important for your puppy’s good health and well being. If you purchased your puppy from a breeder, he might have already received some of the vaccination shots before you bought him. Talk to your breeder about the shots that the puppy has already received. Puppies require several shots in their first year to remain immune from various diseases. Post that you have to take care of booster shots every few years. Apart from vaccination make sure you visit the vet twice a year to monitor your dog’s health. Expenses at the vet usually cost a few thousand rupees every year
  • Spay/Neuter Surgery – While getting a puppy you must also keep in mind about the expenses of spay or neuter surgery which will cost a few thousand rupees. Spaying or neutering can help your dog to stay protected from several diseases like breast cancer and other types of cancers as well. It can also reduce the risk of certain behavioral problems such as urine marking.
  • Puppy Food and Treats – Puppy food and treats are some of the most important expenses that you have to make when you bring your furry little friend home. While these are more of recurring monthly expenses, it is a good idea to stock up puppy food before you bring your puppy home. You will find a wide range of dog food brands available in the market. A lot of them are inexpensive. However, do not purchase these just because of their low cost because they could be potentially harmful for your puppy’s health. Purchase food of the highest quality that you can afford keeping in mind your puppy’s breed and size.

Go through all of these costs before you make the decision of getting a puppy. If you think you are not ready yet financially to bear all these expenses, step back and take some time to save up. Get a puppy only when you feel ready.

Understanding the Commitment Involved

In addition to thinking about financial aspects required to become a responsible dog owner, you must also think thoroughly about the level of commitment required in this case. When you bring a dog home, you automatically become his best friend, family as well as full time caregiver. In case of new puppies, your dog will rely on you for all of his basic needs such as food, shelter, exercise, grooming, as well as a lot of love and affection. You will also be responsible for his socialization and training in order to make him grow into a obedient and well mannered dog. Socializing your dog is rather straightforward; it involves exposing your dog to new things, people, surfaces, sounds etc. However, it requires a great deal of your time and effort. It is a good idea if you try to spend the first few days at home with your puppy until he gets used to his new surroundings. For this purpose, you can also choose to bring a puppy home on a weekend so that you can spend maximum time with him. During the first weeks you must start to enforce certain boundaries which is very beneficial in house training and obedience training later.

Your dog is going to be your responsibility for the next ten to twenty years however, there is no good way to define the period of commitment required. When you spend time with your new furry friend, you will develop a strong bond of love and trust with him. It is very important that your dog trusts you which will be helpful during obedience training. The stronger your bond is with your puppy, the more likely it is that he would respond positively during training

Choosing the Right Dog Breed

Before adding a new member to your family, first you need to be sure that you can invest the time, energy and money for your new pet dog. After checking these points off the list, you can go ahead with selecting the right kind of breed or mix for yourself. Here are a few things you need to remember before getting a new dog.

  • Size: One of the primary factors that you need keep in mind while selecting the right breed is the “size” of the dogs. There are various sizes of dogs depending on their breed; there is the tiny little dog breed called Chihuahua to the huge Great Dane. Select a breed depending on the amount of space that you have for your dog and which suits your living conditions. If you live in an apartment or a condo, choosing a smaller breed size would be more convenient for you instead of going for larger dogs which require more indoor as well as outdoor space to play around. Apart from that, if you are a new dog owner and lack experience, going for big dogs won’t be the best idea as you need to think of your own ability of controlling and managing a dog.
  • Energy requirements: Think about the energy requirements prior to getting a new dog. There are dogs that are bred to be working dogs while others are more like couch potatoes. Getting a dog that does not suit to your idea of a pet dog is not a good idea. Hence, know what kind of dog you want before you decide the breed.
  • Exercise requirements: Always keep in mind the exercise requirements of various breeds before selecting one for yourself. Prior to getting a dog think of how much time you can invest for your new pet’s exercise. If you a get a dog with high requirements for exercise and cannot devote to it accordingly, it is likely to develop various health and behavioral problems along with frustration and aggression. Hence, always select a dog breed keeping in mind the amount of time you can devote to its exercise.
  • Friendliness: If you have children and frequent visitors to your home and want a friendly dog, pay attention to breed descriptions. Look for terms like friendly, affectionate, gentle etc. Breed descriptions are never termed as unfriendly or dangerous. Instead they will come as courageous, reserved, vigilant etc and these do not necessarily mean that these dogs love everyone.
  • Trainability: Trainability is another factor to consider while selecting the right breed of dog. Some dogs are more intelligent than some of the other breeds because of which they are referred to as work dogs from time to time, for example the livestock guarding breeds of dogs. These dogs can also be “aloof” and more stubborn than other dogs.
  • Grooming needs: Grooming is an important factor while selecting the right breed. Some dogs do not need much grooming and are easy to look after while it is quite opposite for breeds like Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute. These dogs shed a lot of hair and need frequent brushing along with trips to the dog salon which will drain quite some money from your pocket. Keep these things in mind before deciding on which breed you want to get.
  • Breed lineage and history: While selecting the right breed for you, do not forget to take breeding history and family lineage in account. There is a huge variety of dog breeds, some of which are pure breeds while others are mixed breeds. In some cases there is a considerable amount of difference in the nature dogs of the same breeds due to different levels of breeding. For instance, the Standard Poodle is a great dog for show that also makes an excellent family pet. While selecting a breed it is your choice to make what type of a dog you want for which paying attention to breeding history and family lineage plays an important part.
  • Health: Research about health related problems and the typical lifespan of the breed that you are planning to get. Many dogs have certain health risks due to genetic disorders and a shorter life span than others. Talk to your breeder or pet shop about these before getting a dog. If your desired breed associate health related problems, you might want to rethink about your budget and must be ready to frequent visits to the vet.
  • Puppy mills: Avoid dogs from puppy mills and the best way to do this is to ask to see the mother and the puppy together. Dogs at puppy mills are treated very inhumanely where they are caged at crowded environments with poor biosecurity which leads them to have behavioral problems, being aggressive at the owner, gastrointestinal problems, problems socializing and other health risks.

Buying a Puppy vs. Adopting an Adult Dog

Rethink about getting a puppy from breeders or pet shops; they require a lot of work, time and energy to invest. Consider adopting a rescued adult dog or even a senior one. These dogs too have the right of having the joys of a forever home. It is found that rescue dogs who get adopted live up to the expectations of their owners. This is a noble act that you must really think of doing.
Getting a puppy or an adult rescued dog both has its own set of pros and cons.

GETTING A PUPPY

PROS –

  • Purchasing a puppy gives you the chance of selecting the puppy on your based on your requirements from the breeder. You can also interact with the puppy before purchasing it.
  • Purchasing a puppy from a breeder gives you complete information of its history, where it came from, lineage, genetics etc.
  • Many breeders also offer health guarantees which are helpful if your puppy develops any kind of inherited health problem.
  • Getting a puppy means you get the opportunity to train it which makes you have more control over your dog. Having a dog right from its early stage increases the chance of having a better pet-owner relationship and can make it more obedient.
  • The entire puppy stage is fun and joyful both for the dog as well as its owner.

CONS –

  • Many breeds cost very high and purchasing a puppy can be quite expensive.
  • As puppies grow and develop, they change not only physically but there is considerable change in their nature, personality and temperament as well. You can never accurately say how your puppy is going to turn out.
  • Apart from all the joyfulness and fun, the puppy stage actually requires a lot of time and work. You are entirely responsible for looking after it, training it, making it socialize etc.
  • Looking after a puppy is also quite expensive considering its special requirements, vaccinations, etc.

GETTING AN ADULT DOG FROM THE SHELTER

PROS –

  • Adopting a dog from the shelter is a noble act. There are numerous dogs that are without a home and the love of a family. Many of them are even in the line of getting euthanized as there is no one to give them a home. Adopting such a dog means saving a life and giving it the love and care it deserves.
  • Many people firmly believe that dogs that are adopted from shelters are more understanding and loving than others. It is their way of showing gratefulness to their owners for giving them a second shot at their lives.
  • Adopting a dog from dog shelters is a lot less expensive and does not cost as much as it does as purchasing a puppy from a breeder.
  • Most shelters look after the primary health care needs of the dogs’ right after they are rescued and brought in. This means, basic health examinations, vaccinations, spaying, neutering etc have already been taken care of before they can be adopted.
  • Adopting an adult dog also means that it might have some prior obedience training under its belt.
  • Adult dogs do not change in terms of personality, nature and temperament with time in contrast to puppies.

CONS –

  • You may find it difficult to find a dog belonging to a breed if you opt to adopt from a shelter instead of purchasing a puppy.
  • Most of the dogs in shelters have been abandoned and have lived without a home and a family for a long time which might have led them to develop some behavioral issues. These dogs may require considerable amount of time to recover from their stress even after being adopted.
  • You may not be offered the history of dogs in a shelter since most of them have been abandoned and were homeless without an owner for most of their times before being rescued. Hence, you won’t have access to information like where a dog was bred, its previous living conditions, where it came from etc.

Part Two – Finding and Bringing Home Your Dog

After deciding what breed of dog you want, you might feel that you are done with all the hard work. However, this is not true. After finalizing on a breed, the next step is to decide where you want to get your puppy from. Finding a puppy is not as simple as you think. You can simply choose to visit a local pet store and get one but this is not the best option.

In this section we will further elaborate about best places to get a puppy from, ways to identify a good and responsible dog breeder, making a deal with the prepare and important points about preparing your home as well as yourself for the new furry member of the family.

Where to Look for Puppies

The whole idea of getting a dog is always exciting; it is like adding a new member to the family. It is always advisable to adopt a dog from a shelter if you do not have any definite breed in mind or are not particular of getting a puppy only. However, if you do not want to adopt an adult dog and have already decided on a breed than there are a still of points to think about before purchasing a puppy. One of the most important points is – where to avoid getting puppies from? The answer is puppy mills or puppy factories. Look for pet stores that get its puppies from any local shelter or breeders and not puppy mills.

Tips for Identifying a Puppy Mill

Puppy mills or more accurately puppy factories are commercial breeding facilities which mainly focus on producing as many puppies as they can. The main goal of such mills is to produce puppies and sell them for profit. These puppy mills or puppy farms are a huge threat to the welfare of dogs. Because their main focus in producing as many puppies as possible and selling them for profit, they are treated inhumanely with no care for the health and well being of dogs. Female dogs are made to reproduce puppies as quickly as possible and this is repeated until the poor dogs finally succumb to death. The conditions in which dogs are kept at these farms or mills are horrible. They are caged in cramped, dirty and overcrowded spaces which poses serious issues to their health. Hence, make sure you avoid purchasing puppies from these kinds of mills or farms at all costs.It is not uncommon for people to think that purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill is a noble act as it is like rescuing the dog from a horrible environment. However, this holds no truth in reality. Purchasing puppies from such mills means supporting their business which will make them keep doing it and torture more and more dogs just for the sake of making profits. Purchasing puppies from such mills is also risky because as a buyer you won’t have any definite information regarding a puppy’s breeding and it might develop many health related risks.

How to Identify a Responsible Dog Breeder

Getting a puppy requires a great of responsibility is definitely not something that you can rush. Before you purchase a puppy from a breeder you first need to an entire background check to make sure you are dealing with a genuine and responsible breeder. Avoid people who breed their dogs just to make some extra money. A responsible breeder is someone who has considerable experience and knowledge about different breeds of dogs and is serious about the welfare of his or her dogs. A responsible breeder will also pay extra attention in choosing the breeding stock to avoid the possibility of any inherited diseases and may also have them DNA tested.

Tips for vetting breeders:

Here are some of the tips and tricks to select genuine and responsible breeders.

  • Talk to other dog owners, veterinarians, dog trainers etc. Ask them about genuine and responsible dog breeders.
  • Look out for places that may not have a wide variety of dog breeds but are very serious about looking after their puppies.
  • Visit websites of various breeders and try to dig out as much information as you can find.
  • Look out for breeders who have a good reputation. Look for reviews from people who have previously purchased puppies from them.
  • A responsible breeder will always let you see the puppies with its parents and will never deny from showing the living conditions of his dogs if asked.
  • Examine the facilities of breeders closely. Make sure the dogs are kept well and are not caged. Look out for any signs of illness amongst the dogs.
  • A responsible breeder will also ask you questions regarding your living conditions, other pets, etc as he or she will want the puppies to get the best home and owners.
  • Look for breeding license. A responsible breeder will always be licensed.
  • Having proper paperwork is a sign of a responsible and good dog breeder.
  • Always ask breeders questions like-
    • How long have you been in this business?
    • What measures did you take while selecting your breeding stock?
    • What kind of guarantees do you provide to your customers regarding your puppies?
    • What do you look for in a potential buyer?

Even after following the above guideline, there is no guarantee that your final choice of breeder will be a good option. Hence, always keep your eyes open and look for red flags.

Making a Deal with a Dog Breeder

After you have narrowed down your options based on the type of dog you want, the breed along with choosing a responsible breeder, it is now time to make a deal and take a puppy home. Just like all other things, it is also important that you interact with the puppies prior to purchasing and then select the right one for yourself. Here are a few points to remember while choosing a puppy from a litter.

How to choose a puppy from a litter:

  • Before you interact with the puppies, take some time in observing them. Make sure that they are displaying healthy activity without no signs of impaired movement or other visible abnormalities.
  • Always be calm while approaching the puppies; let them take their time and sniff you. It is okay for puppies to be scared and wary at first but make sure they are not too frightened and completely uninterested in any interaction.
  • Pay close attention to how each puppy responds to your approach as this can help you gain a good sense of understanding of each of the puppy’s temperament.
  • Pay attention to how the puppies respond to your touch and being handled. Try picking them up and see how they respond to it. It is normal for them to squirm a bit and be a little wary however, you must avoid the ones who respond too negatively.
  • Check for any visible signs of diseases in the puppies. Look out for – eyes with no discharge and must be bright and clear, no discharge from the nose of the puppies, clean ears with no waxy discharge and foul odor. Make sure the puppy that you want to take home a healthy breathing without coughing and wheezing sounds. You will want your puppy to be healthy and have a round belly but it should also not be overly distended at the same time. Look for any signs of diarrhea around the rectum. Also make sure your dog has a uniform coat of fur with no signs or discoloration or even patches of missing hair.

After you have chosen the puppy that you want to take home, make sure it is at least eight weeks of age and is weaned. Many puppies are weaned before hitting the eight week mark however; it is the best that puppies are kept together along other littermates till it hits that age. The next step now is to make a deal with your breeder. Different breeders have different norms when it comes to closing a deal, responsible breeders will ask for some paperwork. Some of the breeders also ask for a deposit. Always make sure to give a proper read to all the paperwork and contracts before you sign and hand over the money. Most responsible breeders offer health guarantee by which any puppy that has developed any kind of inherited disease can be returned back to the breeder. You are now ready to take your puppy home.

Preparing Yourself and Your Home for a Puppy

Selecting the right breed, a responsible breeder, getting the puppy may already seem like a long process however, the journey is far from over. Things do not just end after you make a deal with the breeder. It is now time to prepare yourself and your home for the new member of family.

The first thing that you need to do is stock your home with food supplies for your new puppy. Make sure you ask your breeder about the type of food that the puppy was being fed previously. However, if you do want to change your puppy’s food and switch to new ones it would be a good idea if get both of them. Do not try switching to new food at once; instead slowly incorporate it in to your puppy’s diet by mixing both of them together and slowly transition your puppy to get accustomed to the new food.

There are a lot of things in our house that can be possibly harmful for dogs especially for puppies. Since you have a new young member in your family, make sure you “puppy proof” your home and get rid of all hazardous items.

It is also important that you provide your puppy its own area “special” area. It is essential that your puppy gets all of your attention but it will also need its quiet time to itself every once in a while. Hence, choose an area which is not completely isolated but also not the center of attraction at the same time. Section off the area by using puppy playpens or baby gates. Make sure to keep in your puppy’s bed, crate, toys, food and water within its “special’ area. Toys are important as they will keep your puppy busy. Initially, include different types of toys in your puppy’s area for with to play with. Eventually, you will learn of its likes and dislikes and can provide them accordingly.

After you have set up your puppy’s special area, it is now time for you to make sure that the rest of the house is safe for the new young member.

Ways to puppy-proof your home:

  • Any open containers of food must be put away or safely stored in other places which are not accessible by your puppy like the cupboard. If you have food on your kitchen counter, cover them with lids or store them in closed containers.
  • Make sure your puppy has absolutely no access to trashcans and dustbins and are safely covered with tight lids. A lot of times dog ingest things from trash cans and dustbins which lead to various diseases.
  • All products used for cleaning must be safely put away from your puppy’s reach and stored in child proof cabinets or shelves which are placed at a higher level.
  • Make sure there are no small sized items lying around the floor or other places which are easily accessible by puppies. Small items can cause your puppy to choke leading to other serious problems.
  • Always keep all electrical cords, ropes, chargers etc wrapped up properly as they possess major threat in strangling your puppy while playing.
  • Never forget to cover any kind of open water bodies such as the bathtub, pool, pond and even toilets. Never let your puppy play around in these areas without your supervision.
  • All medicines and toiletries must always be kept in cabinets away from your puppy’s reach.
  • Puppies are also tempted to eat clumps from litter boxes of other pets. Hence, if you have other pets like a cat, make sure to keep litter boxes away from your puppy’s reach.
  • Pay attention to all chemical substances lying around at your home. If your puppy ingests any such substances it can lead to serious problems and even death.
  • Heavy tools such as gardening and lawn tools must be kept in such a way that they do not fall over and hurt your puppy.
  • Remove any plants in your garden that can be harmful to your puppy if ingested.

Part Three – Caring for Your New Dog

Once you bring in a puppy to your home, he becomes a part of your family. You are now responsible for his entire lifetime which can be ten to fifteen years or even more. You are not just his friend but also a caretaker; you will have to look after your dog’s overall well being.

As a dog owner you are also responsible for teaching and training your dog; try teaching him something new each day. After you bring your puppy home, some of the first things that you need to teach him are socialization and housetraining. You also need to have a good knowledge of canine nutrition in order to provide the best dog food for your puppy. It is also your responsibility to take care of your dog’s grooming and take him to a good veterinarian whenever he needs. Read on to discover more about how to care for your dog.

The Importance of Socializing Your Puppy

After getting a puppy make sure that you make the best use of their sensitive period of socialization. This is the time when your puppy’s brain is most receptive to learning and also best time to make it habituated to the environment that it is going to live in as it gets older. This includes your house, people, different sounds, surfaces etc. This sensitive period is the most important time of your pet and; make sure to fill this time with happy and positive experiences and interactions which will make your puppy grow into a friendly, confident and well adjusted dog.

Socializing is one of the most vital important aspects that you need to take care of after getting a puppy. According to various researchers, the socialization window of puppies closes between 12 – 16 weeks of age. Try giving your puppy as many happy and positive experiences as possible along with enough opportunities to socialize with new people and opportunities before the socialization gate closes. If you do not so, your dog may approach unfamiliar things and situations with fear as he grows into an adult dog. Once your dog starts associating new things and situations with fear, it is almost impossible to turn things aronds. Hence, start as early as possible and make your dog socialize with all kinds of people, other animals, locations, sounds, surfaces etc.

Ways to socialize your puppy:

Make sure your puppy interacts with these :

People and Objects

  • Men
  • Women
  • Children
  • Babies/toddlers
  • Tall people
  • Short people
  • Thin people
  • Muscular people
  • Men with beards
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • People with glasses
  • Long hair
  • Short hair
  • Different disabilities
  • People dancing
  • Exercise
  • Brooms and mops
  • Flags
  • Flashlights
  • Strollers

Objects and Experiences

  • Balloons
  • Mirrors
  • Umbrellas
  • Plastic bags
  • Shopping carts
  • Bicycles
  • Cars
  • Buses
  • Trains
  • Planes
  • Motorcycles
  • Escalators
  • Elevators
  • Moving sidewalk
  • Hardwood floor
  • Tile floor
  • Gravel
  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Bridges

Animals and Places

  • Other dogs
  • Squirrels
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Horses
  • Sheep
  • Chickens
  • Cows
  • Rabbits
  • Grocery store
  • Dog park
  • Bus station
  • Playground
  • Shopping mall
  • Outdoor park
  • Sporting event
  • Coffee shop/cafe
  • School
  • Parking lot
  • Offices

Socialization will be an ongoing process for your puppy and hence, try making him interact with something new each day. You must also keep in mind that you do not have to check off everything in the above list in the initial days only as this could lead your puppy to be frightened and overwhelmed. Give your puppy enough breaks along with praising him and giving him rewards whenever he does good.

Here are a few points to keep in mind while socializing your dog :

  • If your puppy is shy, don’t force it to interact with other people or pets. Instead let it hide and approach you on its own. This will help your puppy in building confidence.
  • Make sure socialization of the puppy begins even before you bring it home right at the home of the breeder. According to studies, the earlier you start the social training of your dog, the better adjusted it would be. If you are getting a dog from a shelter make sure that they had received early socialization at the shelter or foster homes.
  • Avoid dogs from puppy mills. Dogs that have been caged show a lot of behavioral problems including issues with socializing.
  • A lot of people wait until their puppy has been vaccinated before starting with its socialization as a caution. While this is understandable, it also means that these people miss the sensitive period of socialization by waiting that long. This makes it harder for puppies to have a friendly interaction with things and people and adjust after their socialization window closes. Many reports also show that the leading cause of young dogs who are under the age of 3 is due to euthanizing them because of behavioral problems instead of any kind of infectious or other deadly diseases.
  • Consider puppy classes. These classes are really popular today where puppies get to interact with other dogs and people and develop their basic doggy social skills. Keep in mind a few points before selecting a puppy class for your new pet like making sure that the trainer uses reward based methods, shy puppies are kept away from the ones who are more boisterous, puppies that are shy are not forced to make interactions that they are not interested in etc.
  • Do not expect your puppy to learn all proper manners and obedience behaviors right at puppy class. Such classes are more like kindergartens where your puppy will develop its basic social skills and learn to live in a controlled environment with other pets and humans.