Socializing Your Puppy

Getting a new puppy can be very exciting, but you have to make sure you don’t skimp on preparation! You know the basics like bowls, collar and leash and a bed, but what about things like finding the right vet, trainer and even groomer? Each breed of dog is different in what they require, whether it be room to run, consistent grooming, some are even if they’re prone to allergies! You want to make sure you’re fully prepared because getting a dog is a lifelong commitment, meaning you’re responsible for them for their whole life! You must also consider socializing your puppy, because an unsocialized puppy can grow to be a difficult dog!

socializing your puppy

Getting a puppy can be very exciting, but you have to make sure you don’t skimp on preparation! Learn more here about socializing you puppy.

Doing research is the best way to make a truly informed decision about getting a puppy. A few things to consider are:

  • How much room do you have inside & outside of your house? And how much room will your puppy need as it grows?
  • How much time do you spend away from home (at school, work, etc.)? Crate training is a great tool for new puppies, but if you’re away from home more than 8 hours a day then that is something to take into consideration.
  •  Are you financially capable of adding a new member to the family? Between puppy vaccines, food, bedding and the possibility of them chewing up your home – puppies can be expensive!

When To Start

When it comes to training and socializing you want to start young (essentially as young as possible). Getting your puppy used to many different sights, sounds and smells at a young age will help permanently shape their future. Although sometimes when rescuing puppies they can come to you at a few months of age, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to socialize! The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” couldn’t be more wrong. While it’s definitely recommended to socialize at the youngest age possible, by working with your pup and building up trust, you can teach your dog anything!

Why Should You Socialize Your Puppy

The idea behind socialization is that you want to help your puppy become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from being fearful of children, for example, or of riding in a car, and it will help him develop into a well-mannered, happy companion.

Having a dog who is well adjusted and confident can even go as far as to save his life one day. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, improper socialization can lead to behavior problems later in life. Start taking your dog out to public places once your veterinarian says it is safe, and he’ll learn to behave in a variety of situations and to enjoy interacting with different people.

How To Start Training

Preparing your puppy to visit the vet is a great way to get started. Many dogs can be nervous when they visit the vet because of the new smells and sounds, but by acclimating them to how they will be handled by the doctor can make the exam process easier for them (and everyone involved). While playing with your puppy, make sure you handle their feet, mouth, ears, and tail so they can get used to someone touching them in those areas. If you are able, start trimming their toenails as soon as you can. This helps greatly when going to the vet or grooming, not only for nail trims but just getting used to being handled in general.

A few other things to keep in mind when socializing & training:

  • Introduce your puppy to new sights, smells & sounds. – The world is a REALLY big place for a puppy, so let them take in everything so they can learn about their surroundings!
  • Make it a positive experience. – By including training treats, your pup will associate the new experiences with a positive reward, which means they’ll be more likely to retain the new information!
  • Take baby steps. – Training & socialization both take time and patience. It could take days to weeks to learn a new skill or become adjusted to new surroundings, so don’t rush!
  • Go to puppy classes. – Finding a reputable training class for your puppy is a great idea. One facility we recommend is Puppy-Wuppy Dog Training located in Hackettstown NJ.
  • Go out in public. – From local parks & trails, to stores that allow our canine friends to shop with us, there’s plenty of places to go with your puppy to get them adjusted to all sorts of new surroundings.

Places To Go

There are many stores and facilities that will allow you to bring your dog in with you. Places like Home Depot & Lowes, Tractor Supply, Homegoods & Marshalls and basically any pet store (especially PetSmart) encourages our canine companions to join us. A great idea is to carry small training treats that you can have strangers feed to them once they sit. This is helpful to curb jumping when your dog meets a new person, as your dog will learn to associate meeting someone new with sitting and getting a reward. By acclimating your puppy to new people at an early age, it will help set them up for a bright future.


Socializing your puppy is essential to ensuring they have a successful future. Check out our other blog, Places to Hike With Your Dog This Spring, to see some of the outdoor adventures we recommend! A good thing to remember when bringing your puppy around other dogs is what vaccines your pup has in order to keep them safe from potential diseases. While this may be a lot of information, always remember to have fun with your new puppy!

Our Certifications

AAHA: The Animal Hospital of Sussex County is a certified hospital in the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). To achieve this distinction, our hospital has passed regular comprehensive inspections of our facilities, medical equipment, veterinary practice methods and management. If you are traveling or relocating anywhere, finding an AAHA hospital will ensure the best medical care for your pet. The AAHA is recognized as the world’s leading association of small animal practitioners.

AAFP: We are also a cat friendly practice, certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. This means that the Animal Hospital of Sussex County is specifically set up to decrease stress and provide a more calming environment for your cat. Our staff has also been trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding cat behavior in order to increase the quality of care for your cat.

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