We want our puppies to grow into happy, healthy, and confident dogs. Socialization helps your puppy to become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner. As they grow older, proper socialization can help them from developing unwanted behaviours, such as “stranger danger” or a fear of riding in a car.
Socialization starts with you, the pet parent. When you take the time to play with your puppy, you and your pup learn how to communicate with each other, which will strengthen your human-animal bond, as well as encourage physical activity and stimulate their brain.
Here are three tips on how to make your playtime with your puppy fun and effective.
Offer rewards: When you use rewards, you help your pet associate an action with a positive outcome – this is called positive reinforcement. This is not only important in relationship building, but also in reinforcing appropriate behaviours such as coming when called, walking politely on a leash, or sitting or lying down instead of jumping up.
Be Inventive: The same way humans need a new show to binge watch every now and then, animals need new games to stay engaged. Keep your puppy engaged by changing up the play and rewards.
Keep Games Short: The longer you play, the more excited your puppy will get. The more excited they are, the less control they have. Follow playtime with a cooling off period. When your puppy is calm, let the games begin once more. The more self-control your dog learns, the longer you can play!
Puppy socialization also includes showing them how to play nicely with other puppies. Toronto Humane Society offers playgroups that allow pups to burn off some energy while receiving socialization at the same time.
Led by a trainer, you’ll learn how to understand puppy body language and how to interrupt play when it gets out of hand with positive reinforcement techniques. Plus, your puppy will learn how to play appropriately – like Bobby.
Bobby was a regular at puppy playgroups. Every week he was so excited to see his other pals. Bobby can be a wild child when interacting with other pups, so the puppy playgroups were a great way for him to learn how to play with other dogs calmly and appropriately. It was a big learning curve for Bobby, but he improved his social skills and learned about the importance of personal space.
Puppies between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks are invited to attend. The class is held on Mondays at 6:00pm and on Saturdays at 11:00am at 11 River Street. Each playgroup is $25.
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