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Socializing Your Labradoodle Puppy

June 26, 2014

 

If you’ve been thinking about bringing a new Labradoodle puppy into your home, you’ve probably heard that socialization is important.  However, many new puppy owners don’t know what it is or how to do it. In this article, I’ll teach you how to socialize your puppy so that he or she will grow into a happy, well-adjusted adult dog.

 

 

 

What is socialization and why is it important?

Socialization involves exposing your puppy to new sights, sounds, smells, people, and animals and teaching your puppy that the world is a safe place.  Puppies form most of their lifelong habits from birth to one year of age.  The most critical socialization period is from three weeks to three months.   For that reason, it’s a good idea to choose a breeder that has already started the socialization process, which gives you the opportunity to build on a solid foundation.  Never acquire a puppy younger than 8 weeks old.  When you remove puppies from the litter too soon, they miss important lessons from their mother and littermates.

 

 

 

How do I get started with socialization?

After bringing your puppy home, you can start the socialization process in a slow and controlled manner.  Invite people and dogs to your home and regularly visit other households.  Take your puppy on short car rides to fun places.  Allow your puppy to investigate new objects, like umbrellas, bags, boxes, and vacuum cleaners.  Don’t forget to expose your puppy to new sounds like traffic, thunderstorms, and crying babies.

 

 

 

The next steps in socialization

Once your puppy has been vaccinated, you can start walking around the neighborhood to meet friendly strangers and dogs.  At this point, you can start introducing your puppy to larger groups at outdoor shopping centers, dog-friendly restaurants, and parks.  Let your puppy meet people of different ages, races, and genders.  By 4 months of age, your puppy should be comfortable meeting a variety of strangers and other dogs and be accustomed to being handled by your veterinarian and groomer. 

 

 

 

Starting puppy kindergarten class

If there is a puppy kindergarten class if your area, it would be a good idea to enroll. These classes are specifically structured to give your puppy positive experiences. You will have the opportunity to teach your puppy basic manners, prevent problem behaviors, and build confidence .  Reward-based training works best for Labradoodle puppies and teaches them to enjoy learning.

 

 

 

What to do if your Labradoodle puppy shows fear

Just like people, puppies are born with different personalities.  Some are bold from day one, while others can show some shyness.  With socialization, naturally shy puppies can become more confident. Puppies should be praised for showing confidence, but never scolded for showing fear.  While you shouldn’t coddle your puppy for showing fear, you also shouldn’t force your puppy to stay in an uncomfortable situation.  Introduce new things at a pace that suits your puppy so that the experience is always positive.

 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the socialization program at Notch Hill Labradoodles, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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