It seems like the beginning of summer is a popular time to bring home a new Labradoodle puppy. School is out, the weather is nice and the days are longer. This adds up to extra time to socialize your new puppy!
Socialization Should begin around 3 Months of Age
The socialization period ends when the puppy is between 3 and 4 months old. At some point between 12 weeks and 16 weeks they lose the ability to accept new situations easily. You will want to work on this a little each day starting as soon as you bring your puppy home.
Here is why: Poorly socialized dogs are much more likely to react with fear or aggression to unfamiliar people, dogs and experiences. Well-socialized puppies usually develop into safer, more relaxed and enjoyable pet dogs. This is because they’re more comfortable in a wider variety of situations than poorly socialized dogs, so they’re less likely to behave fearfully or aggressively when faced with something new.
This is a very important step in the raising of your new dog.
How to Socialize your Labradoodle Puppy?
Go slowly and watch for signs that your puppy might be overwhelmed. All socialization is not good socialization. Bad experiences at an early age can make negative impressions for years to come. Sometimes, certain situations are just too much for your puppy. If she is having a good time, she will look the part. Her ears will be up, her eyes will be bright, and she may wag her tail or whole body and actively seek interaction. If your puppy is not enjoying herself, learn to recognize her signs of stress to avoid causing emotional harm.
Signs of Stress in your Labradoodle Puppy
- Cowering or clinging
- Ears down and back
- Lip licking
- Sleeping (all young puppies take frequent naps, but if you find your puppy sleeping a lot when you have her out or at a busy event, she may actually be shutting down)
- Tail tucking
- Turning the head or body away from people who approach
With this in mind, take her everywhere you can. Take her:
- In the car
- For a walk down the sidewalk
- In an elevator
- Through automatic doors
- Pretty much anything you can think of
- Invite friends over to visit, let them hold her, feed her treats and sit on the floor with her.
- Go to a puppy ‘kindergarten’ class so that she can meet other puppies and people.
If you see signs of fear, go slower. Let her approach new sights and sounds at her pace. Don’t urge her on with treats into an uncomfortable place, but praise her as she makes her own way.
Enjoy yourself and enjoy watching your new puppy learn about the world around it!