As soon as you get your pup one of your responsibilities as a new puppy owner (apart from making sure your pup’s health issues are addressed) is to teach him or her about the world. Your pup is at an age where he habituates to different things very easily so before he turns 16 weeks, he must be exposed to as many different people, dogs and environments as possible, so that he can cope with new experiences more easily when he becomes an adult. Make a list of all the things your pup needs to be exposed to and in the next few weeks, work through the list to see where you are in exposing your pup to a variety of experiences.
The various categories could be:
- Humans of all ages and appearances – men and women, children, toddlers, babies.
- Humans wearing hats, or with peculiar gaits.
- Crowds, bicycles, motorcycles, traffic.
- Cats and livestock such as cattle and horses (if you live in the countryside).
- Rides in the car – not only to the vet for vaccinations.
- Other dogs.
In socialization to any category of person, the single best way to obtain this cushion is through hand-feeding. You cannot overdo socialization. The payoff is enormous.