• August 19th, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    You want your new puppy to grow up happy, confident, and ready to go with you anywhere. That means it is time to start socializing. Your dog is most open to new experiences before 3 months old, so you will want to start as soon as possible, keeping in mind any safety precautions before your dog is fully vaccinated. But even if your dog is older, it is never too late to start.

    It is best to socialize your dog in a variety of different locations. You can of course invite all your dog-owning friends over, but there are also likely many dog-friendly places in your neighborhood where you can take your puppy.

    Dog-Friendly Places to Go with Your Dog

    Socializing your dog involves more than just meeting new dogs and people. Exposure to new sights and sounds is also essential. In fact, you will want a combination of trips. Some should involve off-leash play time with dogs and pets from people. On other excursions, you want to keep your dog behaved on leash while seeing new things.

    Some of the best places to go with your puppy or young dog for a variety of socialization include:

    • Dog Park - This might be an obvious choice. Once your pet is vaccinated, the dog park provides a place to run around and play without a leash. Use caution here to avoid a negative experience since not all dogs may be trained.
    • Pet Stores - Pet stores naturally love pets and are a great place to take your dog (and get some new chew toys). One thing to keep in mind is that pet stores often have a strong smell of other dogs, so you will want to watch for signs of being overwhelmed.
    • Hardware Stores - Home improvement stores often welcome dogs, although you might want to call ahead first to confirm. Cement floors and wide aisles give you a good place to train good leash behavior in a new environment.
    • Restaurants with Patios - Most cafes or restaurants with patios will let your dog sit beside you while you eat. You might consider bringing a small blanket and toy to keep your puppy occupied while you eat.
    • Puppy Classes - Take care of two tasks at once with group training classes. Your dog gets to be around other puppies while also learning obedience skills. Local pet stores and trainers in your area will frequently offer obedience classes.

    Wherever you go, make each excursion a positive one with treats and praise. Watch your dog and if either of you begins to get stressed or overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to head back to the car. It is always best to start small and associate socializing with a good time rather than force a situation.