Socializing Your Doodle Puppy
How to introduce a puppy to new experiences – including people, places, objects, and other animals
There are a few very important aspects of socializing your new pup: creating a bond between you and your new fur baby, making sure that they are comfortable with you as the pack leader, exposing them to new people and other dogs, introducing new sensory input and exposing them to a myriad of objects and sounds.
The main purpose of socializing your new Doodle pup is to make sure they are developing into a happy, well-adjusted Doodle that will be comfortable around you, your family, whomever and whatever else they will experience in their life. Having a Doodle that can accompany you in any situation with any company will greatly heighten the happiness of your Doodle and your experience as their owner.
The first step to a well-socialized Doodle pup is to create a bond with them. Before you start taking them to a myriad of new places where they will experience countless new sights and smells make sure that they feel safe with you. They have just been taken away from the only home that they have ever known and placed into a whole new arena with a completely different hierarchy. Give your Doodle puppy at least a week to adjust to you first, then start introducing them to their whole new world in this socialization experiment!
An important part of this early socialization is to adopt your Doodle from a breeder that has properly socialized them from birth. A breeder that raises your Doodle in a family environment with access to their mother and siblings is the optimal situation to adopt your puppy from.
When your doodle puppy becomes used to new sights, smells, people and other dogs in a home environment since birth, as opposed to being kenneled, they will be much more receptive to your home because they will be used to such things as carpet, a vacuum and a family. If your Doodle comes from an irresponsible breeder or the kennel they are not a hopeless case at all! They will simply need more time, patience and attention as they adjust to your home.
The second step to proper socialization is to start introducing your Doodle to new situations. That can look like taking them for a walk around your neighborhood, having family friends over to your house or enrolling them in a puppy Kindergarten or other class. Make sure that you are nearby and that you are extra vigilant at the beginning of your Doodle’s explorations as you have become their new sense of safety.
Whether they are going for a walk or at puppy Kindergarten there will more than likely be stimuli that scare your new pup. You don’t want to protect them from everything, but you do want to be sure to make sure that their fear doesn’t become imprinted in their mind.
Negative stimuli can easily become imprinted in your Doodle’s mind until they are at least 10 weeks of age, and that imprint can become a fear that they carry with them for life if you aren’t careful to notice your pup’s scared reactions. Let them deal with the situation if isn’t one that would harm them, then distract them with a positive interaction so that they aren’t dwelling on that negative experience.
If it is not a harmful situation for your Doodle puppy, you can distract them with treats and take them away from their fear or you can simply calm them and reintroduce the situation in a more positive way. Again, you have become their leader and provide your pup with a sense of safety so make sure that you are being vigilant to help your Doodle socialize healthily without being overprotective.
The third aspect of proper socialization is continued exposure to new experiences. Make sure that you avoid making socialization merely a “new puppy” experience or that you fully rely on a puppy class to socialize your Doodle. While it is important to make sure to provide those experiences for your Doodle, take the responsibility to make socialization a life-long process.
Continue to take your doodle puppy for walks, introduce them to new places and be aware of their reaction to those new experiences. Once your Doodle pup gets to be a little older you can even start taking them to dog-friendly events where they will likely be the most popular attendee of that event and love every second of it!
Doodles are very friendly dogs that love people, so properly socializing them is of utmost importance. A Doodle that is improperly socialized and afraid of things that would usually bring them joy would live a very stunted life indeed. So make sure you are providing them with all the correct tools to build a joyful, well-rounded life with you and your family!