Socializing a puppy or dog is not about quantity. It’s about quality. The more positive new experiences the dog has, the more increased their confidence. Dogs that are naturally optimists are easier to socialize. Dogs that are naturally pessimists (fearful, timid) require controlled safe experiences with the new things in their world.
Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy/dog.
Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise.
Slow down and add distance if your puppy/dog is scared!
Puppies less than 5 months old or who are timid should never be in the dog park.
Just because you have a puppy, it doesn't mean other people get to pet it without you deciding first that the puppy feels safe. Read their body language to know whether the puppy wants to interact.
If the puppy/dog doesn’t approach that is a body language signal that they don’t feel safe. People should ignore the puppy if they do not approach on their own. Ask them to toss a treat to your puppy not hand it to them. If a puppy doesn’t eat the treat that is a sure sign that they are scared.
Make all socialization activities short for puppies.
Always end with the puppy/dog wanting more and feeling positive and happy.
Avoid any social environment that you have no control over. Social gatherings should be small and subdued.
Only expose your dog/puppy to other dogs/puppies that you know to be emotionally stable. The other dog’s owner may not realize that their dog is not friendly.
Children and puppies should never be left unsupervised. This is especially true for other people's children.
Don't let people or kids gang up on your puppy. One person interacting at a time.
If you meet another puppy on a walk, the interaction should be very short and then walk away. No playing on leash. The puppies could get tangled up and panic. If the puppies get along agree to meet in someone’s fenced yard.
FEAR IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL AGGRESSION. WHAT YOUR PUPPY BECOMES FEARFUL OF, THEY WILL BECOME AGGRESSIVE TOWARDS.