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Puppy Socialization Checklist

Puppy socialization is essential to raising a happy and well-balanced dog. Use this Puppy Socialization Checklist to help you socialize your puppy.

Proper puppy socialization is a critical component to raising a happy and well-balanced dog. A puppy’s formative period has a direct correlation to their long-term well-being. It is imperative that you provide proper socialization to your puppy between 8 weeks and 16 weeks of age.  Below is a Puppy Socialization Checklist to help you get started.

When socializing a puppy, it’s critical that all interactions be positive, however do not stop socialization just because of one of a few non positive experiences. Keep on socializing as you will have more frequent positive experiences.  Socialization is with a variety of people, objects, noises, settings, etc. it will help develop their confidence, ability to handle stress, and overall knowledge of the world.

Below is a list of various elements that a dog will encounter though out life. Use your discretion to determine what is safe and appropriate for your puppy. Note your dog’s response to each exposure: Ex. displays of aggression (growl, bark, lunge), Avoidance, Freezing, Calm/Relaxed, Able to Take Treats, etc. If your dog display and aggression, avoidance, freezing, do not stop socializing keep on going and do not reward the aggression, avoidance freezing. Contact Value Dog Training and schedule a training session to stop the aggression, avoidance and or freezing.

In addition to socializing with items on the list, you will also want to incorporate sound effects to help positively condition your puppy to noises.

Touch & Handling

  •     Checking Ears
  •     Examining Teeth and Gums
  •     Squeezing Paws
  •     Trimming Toenails
  •     Holding Puppy in Your Arms
  •     Holding in Your Lap
  •     Laying Puppy on its Back for a Bell Rub
  •     Grabbing Collar
  •     Giving a Bath
  •     Drying With a Towel

Unfamiliar People

  •     Women / with Variations (Wearing a Hat, Scarf, Tall Women, Low Voice, etc.)
  •     People of Varying Ethnicities
  •     Men / with Variations (Wearing a Hat, Tall Men, Deep Voice, etc.)
  •     People Wearing Sunglasses
  •     People with Canes or Walkers
  •     Teenagers
  •     People Running
  •     Children Playing Near By


  •     Well-Behaved Dog
  •     Well-Behaved Dog Who Will Appropriately Correct for Over-Stepping Boundaries

Not so Well- Behaved Dog

  •     Other Puppies

Other Animals

  •     Cats
  •     Farm Animals
  •     Other Household Pets

Varying Surfaces

  •     Concrete
  •     Hardwood Floors, Linoleum, Tile, Marble
  •     Steel Surfaces (Manhole Covers or Vet Scales)
  •     Elevated Surfaces
  •     Uneven Surfaces
  •     Stairs of Different Material (Wood, Concrete, Steel, etc.)
  •     Wet Grass
  •     Snow

Objects With Wheels

  •     Skateboards
  •     Rollerblades
  •     Garbage Cans
  •     Shopping Carts
  •     Baby Strollers
  •     Wheel Chairs
  •     Bikes
  •     Cars
  •     Busses/Large Trucks
  •     Motorcycles

Man-Made Objects & Buildings

  •     Pots and Pans
  •     Vacuums
  •     Brooms
  •     Balloons
  •     Umbrellas
  •     Plastic Bags Blowing
  •     Inside Dog-Friendly Buildings
  •     Suburban Neighborhoods
  •     City Streets

And everything around us

As I said from the beginning, positive frequent socialization between 8-16 weeks of age is critical to raising a happy and healthy puppy. In addition, Exposing your puppy to various sounds and noises is also critical. In other words, follow the steps listed above to get the best results!

Above all, make sure you are housebreaking your puppy, developing a bond with your dog, and utilizing Obedience Commands. In conclusion, dog training tips to Make Your Life Easier.

Here’s a comprehensive checklist for puppy socialization that can be printed and used as a guide. PDF format click here

Source from American Kennel Club click here

Value Dog Training For more information, contact us at 916-201-7080.

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