Exposure is key!

While your puppy grows up at Ashford Manor Labradoodles, we try to expose them safely to as many new experiences possible! However, it’s up to you to continue that socialization when they go home with you.

Many people think about socialization as getting your dog to meet as many new dogs as possible and make puppy friends, but that is really a small portion of what socialization consists of. In fact, trying to meet as many dogs as possible can have negative repercussions if the dogs your puppy meets have impolite or aggressive tendencies.

Kinds of exposure 

Socialization is really about getting your puppy to be calm and collected in new environments, around new people, in various situations, and around new or different objects. Socialization is done with the goal of your dog being able to quickly adapt and acclimate to whatever situations they may find themselves in the future.

Girl with umbrellaBefore your puppy is fully vaccinated, there are lots of ways to do this safely from home. One is to have new people, wearing different clothing come to your house. Have your puppy sitting on their place or a bed when the guest enters the home, reward and praise your dog for reacting calmly to this stranger! Remember that hats, glasses, scarfs, hoods, umbrellas, face masks, and other accessories can all be new and different to a puppy.

Have you ever seen a video of a baby who doesn’t recognize their father after they grow or shave facial hair? A similar process is happening with your puppy, they need to learn how to accept changes that might seem minor to us, but are major to a developing brain. A puppy who recognizes a person wearing a hat outside can go inside and begin barking at them, they seem completely different because of being in a different place.

Things that may be challenging

You can also begin conditioning your puppy to different tasks that will be necessary in the future. These tasks are often referred to as “husbandry” and we can make sure they go as smoothly as possible for our dogs. Clipping a dog’s nails, brushing their teeth, putting booties on, putting a harness on, wearing a coat – all of these are important tasks that we can condition our puppies to like or handle well.

Using the example of putting on booties: break down the steps of putting on your dog’s booties.

  • First, you have to have your dog come to you. Practice calling your dog’s name and reward them for coming to you. Have Dress up sweater and bunnysnack stations all over your home to always be able to reward that behavior.
  • What’s next? Picking up their right front paw. Start picking up their right front paw and rewarding them for that! Add a cue
    like “paw” to this so that they offer you their paw on cue. After they give you their right front paw?
  • Putting the bootie over their paw. First just put it on their paw for a second and reward them, slowly increase the time it’s on their paw and maybe even let them walk around with that bootie on.
  • Now move to their left front paw, maybe that one is cued as “hand” or “shake”.
  • Repeat the process with all their paws.

This process can take lots of time to build up, but you’ll be thankful when you need to put booties on your dog and they work with you to make that happen!

Socialization is a very big step in a puppies life. Make sure to be consistent and do not reward your puppy for bad behavior. This will make sure your puppy understands what is required of him/her.

A well Socialized Australian Labradoodle makes a Happy Home!

Cheryl Sabens

Ashford Manor Labradoodles

Australian Labradoodle Breeder in Indiana