Dogs need to learn how to socialize with other people as well as with other dogs in order to be more confident and more well-adjusted to a family environment. There are dogs that may become timid and isolated if not given the proper socializing training. The earlier the training is done, the better. Here are some tips on how to effectively socialize a puppy while it is still young.
The most effective time for puppies to go through socializing training would be on its fourth week after birth. By this time, its eyes and its ears should already be open and taking in a variety of stimuli from its environment. It is during this time that the puppy may be able to form attachments with humans.
At this stage, the puppy should be given most care as it forms attachments with its human family. The puppy should be considered as still as a gentle and sensitive stage. Other things such as having children handle the puppies should be avoided for now. Try to avoid keeping the puppy away from its mother or the rest of the litter. Try to prevent the puppy from going through negative events during this stage since it might develop shyness and other unwanted qualities in them.
Fifth to Seventh Week
By the fifth or seventh week, the mother would now be trying to wean the puppy. Try to let them go through this stage and avoid disrupting the process. Some might be tempted to try to start feeding the puppy with dog food. This will disrupt the process of attachment between mother and puppy. Puppies will learn from their mother that food would not be always available. By giving the puppy food on demand, humans may spoil the puppy.
Removing the puppy from the litter should be avoided after it has reached more than seven weeks. Aside from the weaning period, puppies also learn how to interact with the other puppies of the litter. They learn how to be gentle with the other brood as well as learn vital communication skills with the other dogs. Taking them away from the litter at this stage would prevent the puppy from learning lessons in sensitivity and might make the dog grow into an uninhabited or violent dog.
Eighth to Twelfth Week
At this stage, it is now okay for humans to form its attachment to the puppy. Initially, when the puppy is taken away from the mother, it would cry and scream. This is just a natural reaction considering that the puppy would be separated from its mother and caretaker for the first time. Separating the mother from the puppy would take some added gentleness and care.
Avoid leaving the puppy alone. Try to be as close to it as possible to avoid making it feel that it has been abandoned. Bodily contact may be helpful in this case. Try to make the change as gentle and caring by making the puppy feel that it is not being abandoned, but rather have a human parent now taking care of it.