Puppy Socialization Cannot
I can't stress enough how important it is to perform puppy socialization and training activities early, and often, in your new purebred puppies life. Go to the park, to as many dog-friendly stores as possible, on errands,shopping, etc.
Assuming your puppy is in good health and up on all it's vaccinations, take your puppy with you wherever and whenever you can. And when I say take the puppy with you, I mean take it in with you to meet and observe what is happening, not leave it in the car while you're inside the store.
Puppy socialization will occur whenever your puppy is introduced to new situations, new people and animals, and new places. The pup needs to actively participate in socialization for it to really work - that means you must let them safely interact with new people, places and things.
This is definitely a great step in building the new puppies confidence and building a more stable temperament - more capable of coping with new and unusual experiences. Puppies are highly intelligent and these early puppy socialization lessons, being around new and different stimuli, will make your adult dog much more stable and confident - and this is exactly what you want.
Your new puppy has spent the first few weeks of it's life with his mother, litter mates and breeders family. Your new puppy may have gone on rides to many new places such as the veterinarian, short shopping errands, and on short training rides. It has probably heard many different kinds of noises: people, horns of cars, birds chirping, children, sounds of traffic, etc.
If your purebred puppy was raised in a farm type locale the puppy has probably seen, heard and smelled many different types of animals, larger farm equipment, weird vehicle noises, etc.
Other interesting things to introduce your puppy to are: slick floors (tile / linoleum), elevators, stairs and carpeting. These are all important puppy socialization factors to deal with.
One of your new jobs as the new puppy's new owner is to add to all of those past experiences with many other new puppy socialization ones. Ask the breeder what kind of socialization has been done with your puppy and take it from there. The more new and exciting experiences that your make your puppy a part of, the better.
I can't stress enough how important it is that you continue to socialize your puppy during the first several months of its life. Discovery of new experiences and teaching the puppy to deal with them positively and confidently is highly important to the pup's future well being.
Many studies have been done that show the critical puppy socialization period is from eight to sixteen weeks of life. During this period it is essential that the new puppy safely and positively experience as many new things as possible. Some of these experiences will be a little stressful, but you must support your puppy during these times and encourage them throughout the entire puppy socialization process.
Here's a short example of how simple this puppy socialization process can be: Several years ago I was walking my 10 wk old GSD puppy, Cera, around our block on one windy day. Out of nowhere a small piece of trash paper blew by both of us, quietly startling her.
She watched the trash as it continued to blow up against the curb, changed direction and blew closer toward us. Curious, she wanted to check out the new object that was moving around on the curb in front of us and now moving toward us but unsure as how exactly to react to the new object.
It was obvious to me that she was curious enough to want to check it out, but also fearful enough that she wanted to run away from it. I waited to see what she would do. She watched the object as it moved around, sometimes backing up slightly, sometimes moving toward it. I allowed her the time to observe the paper and waited to see exactly what she was going to do about it.
It seemed longer, but I'm sure that it was only a few minutes until she decided to slowly approach that piece of trash paper. What a brave girl. Eventually she pounced on the paper and give it a good shake and chewing before I finally took it away from her! I praised her profusely. Not for tearing up the paper but more importantly for approaching it after her initial fear response.
She met her fear of this new and strange object face to face and overcame it. In future experiences with new and strange objects she would now be more confident. Over time and with more and more positive puppy socialization experiences like this one, Cera grew up to be a very emotionally strong, good-tempered and confident GSD. As the owner you play a major role in providing this confidence for your new GSD puppy.
It is extremely important to socialize your puppy starting at as young an age as possible to make them more comfortable with other people, animals and dogs and able to feel comfortable and confident in strange and new environments.
Puppy obedience classes, also referred to as "Puppy Kindergarten", are an incredible means to introduce your puppy to the world outside of your home. This is both a prime puppy socialization experience as well as a wonderful training and bonding opportunity.
Puppy obedience training classes are set up in such a way as to teach the new puppy the actual commands, but also to teach you, the owner, how to train the puppy specific behaviors and manners, now and in the future. Your dog will discover the link between your commands and the desired behavior.
It is entirely possible that you can train the puppy at home as well but compared to all the great puppy socialization lessons your pedigreed puppy can gain from the puppy classes, there really is no comparison. In fact, I highly recommend them.
Return from Puppy Socialization to Puppy Housebreaking
"If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around." -- cowboy wisdom