Socialize Your Puppy:  Are You Ready for some FUN?

by Janice Jones     |Last Updated 02-14-2020

So, everyone is telling you to socialize your puppy?  Exactly what does that mean and why should you bother?  There's no guarantee with that sweet little bundle of fur that he will grow up to be a well-mannered, socialized and obedience-trained adult dog without your help.  Socialization is a way of exposing your puppy to a wide variety of people, places, things, and other animals. 

We have compiled a list of easy and fun things to do with your puppy to speed the process up and assure that the puppy gets off on the right foot.

Already have an adult dog, you can still do these things (and we recommend that you do so), but be patient with the adult dog--training and socialization takes a little longer. 

For those of you who crave more information on Puppy Socialization, please visit our other page.  There you will learn the reasons behind the mandate to Socialize Your Puppy.

Twenty Fun and Easy Ways to Socialize your Puppy

  1. Play different kinds of music.  If your puppy is hyper, try some soothing “spa” type music. It will relax him and you too.

  2. Expose your dog to trails that allow skaters, bikers, skateboarders or strollers so your dog will not become frightened of people moving quickly.

  3. Take your dog to a parade, outdoor musical concert, cultural festival, fair,  or other places where there will be crowds.

  4. Let your dog view you using a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, washing machine, blender or other “noisy” appliance.

  5. Supervise your dog outdoors when the lawn is being mowed.

  6. Play with your dog with moving objects:  blow bubbles, fly kites, watch flying flags, play with balloons (just as with kids, dogs need close supervision with balloons.).

  7. Expose your dog to small kiddy pools with about 1-2 inches of water; allow dogs to run through lawn sprinklers, or take them to the beach (dog beach).

  8. Let your dog explore a pile of leaves, dirt, twigs.

  9. Take a walk in an outdoor shopping mall.  Some stores will encourage you to come in.  Do not overwhelm the puppy, but if he looks interested, let others pet your dog.

  10. Visit a few yard or garage sales.  Be sure your dog is on a leash.

  11. Almost all retail pet stores invite dogs to shop.  Visit on a Saturday or Sunday when you are most likely to encounter other dogs.

  12. Take your dog on a boat ride.

  13. Go to a busy playground where children are likely to play. Be sure to supervise very carefully if children want to pet your dog.

  14. Visit different parks, people and dog parks.  Save the dog parks until your puppy is fully immunized. A stroll through the park is likely to attract some attention from passersby so be prepared.  Few people can resist the charms of a new puppy.  

  15. Invite friends to the house to meet the dog.  Save this until the puppy has had a few nights to adjust to your family.  Too much excitement and too many people greeting a new puppy on his first day are very overwhelming to a baby dog.

  16. Enroll your puppy in a puppy class.  Check to make sure your puppy is the correct age for the class you are considering. Puppy Kindergarten is Fun and will teach you more than just how to socialize your dog.

  17. Walk your dog in your neighborhood.  Get to know the neighbors and their pets.

  18. If you have children, attend their sporting events with the dog.  This is a great opportunity to expose your puppy to young children, but do not let the puppy get overwhelmed by too many hands.

  19. Let your puppy watch television with you.

  20. Run errands with your dog to get him use to the car.  Never leave your dog in the car alone. If your dog is prone to car sickness, do not feed him before the trip and only offer treats when you are almost home.

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.