5 Steps To Combat Inappropriate Puppy Chewing
Socializing Your Puppy Through Development
Having a properly socialized dog makes life easier for both you and your pet. Puppies who are not adequately exposed to life grow up to be anxious, and sometimes dangerous dogs.
The earlier you get a jump on socializing, the better adjusted your canine pal will be throughout life.
It’s much easier to do this kind of work when a puppy is young and adaptable. If you’re not sure where to start, look no further. We put together a guide on how to do this as your puppy develops.
0-7 Weeks Old
When a puppy is this young, your only job is to prepare for the arrival! While you’re getting ready, your puppy will learn from his mother and siblings. This is where he discovers how to function as a dog.
He’ll probably look comical as he learns how to navigate all of his quickly developing senses.
As those physical senses like sight and sound grow, so will the senses of curiosity and courage. The mother will kindly discipline your puppy when he gets too exuberant.
In an ideal setting, puppies should receive brief and gentle human contact at around two or three weeks old. Each week, the level of contact can increase. By the time the puppy is ready to go to his new home, he should be familiar and comfortable with human presence.
Missing out on these formative first weeks with a mother and siblings is damaging to a dog’s psychological development. Depending on the circumstances, they may become aggressive, human-dependent, and fearful.
8-12 Weeks Old
Finally, your long-anticipated arrival is here. The first month of your puppy’s time with you is critical for successful socialization. Puppies are never more flexibly primed to learn than they are during this phase. Take advantage of this impressionable age.
Options for socializing your new friend include:
Around this time, usually between weeks eight to ten, you may notice your puppy go through what is called a “fear period.” This sounds worse than it is. All it means is that at this time, puppies are more sensitive to bad experiences.
If something upsetting happens, it sticks with them in a deeper way than it normally would. All you have to do is stay positive, supportive, and cautious about any new stimuli, whether that’s another dog, person, or even a trip in the car.
3-6 Months Old
While the first sixteen weeks are the most critical for socialization, that journey continues on as the pup ages. Before, exposure was the priority. Now, allow training within the socialization experiences to take a stronger focus.
Somewhere in this period, your puppy will lose his baby teeth. Have some teething toys ready to save your fingers and furniture, as chewing tendencies increase during this period. If you find your puppy's chewing is particularly excessive, check out our article on combating inappropriate chewing.
This is also the time where your pup can be spayed or neutered.
With all of these developmental changes, you may notice your puppy growing more assertive. He might test his boundaries and challenge you to see where he stands.
Combat this with obedience training and consistency. Continue to take your puppy out to as many places as possible. Regular exercise will help with the rebelliousness often seen in puppies at this age.
6-12 Months Old
We’re officially in the teenage phase. Depending on the breed, your puppy will either look a bit gangly or be nearing his adult appearance. Energy and confidence will be at an all-time high.
Don’t be discouraged if training seems to take a setback here. It’s normal for puppies to be a little erratic as they approach maturity.
The six to twelve-month period is not the optimal socialization time, but that doesn’t mean you should stop exposing your pet to new experiences. Keep up your efforts to show your pet unexpected places and people.
Don’t be surprised if your puppy goes through another fear period somewhere during this time. Since dogs are bigger and more opinionated at this point, the second fear period may be more obvious.
Power through it by offering loving support to your pal.
Don’t indulge his fears by making a big deal out of them. He could view that as confirmation he was right to be afraid. Remain a kind but confident leader throughout any moments where your puppy gets spooked by something unfamiliar.
Don’t Wait to Socialize!
Without proper socialization, dogs suffer from excess anxiety and are often over-reactive. A dog like that ends up being left alone instead of brought along with the group. This is why taking these steps at an early stage is so worthwhile.
Making the time to socialize your puppy sets you up for a lifetime with a well-adjusted, friendly companion.
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