The Newfoundland Club of America—responsible for the preservation, protection
and welfare of the Newfoundland Dog in America since 1930.
He needs to be socialized!
Socializing Your Dog
The first sensitive period of socialization for puppies is 4-12 weeks. Your
breeder will have socialized your puppy during this time. Between 12 weeks and
six months is the juvenile period where pups begin to develop fears. During
this timeframe, it is essential that you expose your puppy to new tastes,
feelings, sights, sounds, and experiences. This is the best time to interact
with as many novel situations and people as possible in a positive way. Once
your dog reaches six months of age it will become much harder to introduce new
concepts of any kind.
Below is a list of things your pup should experience now so that they will
happily allow them into their world as adults. When first encountering
anything on the list for the first time, make sure your puppy is relaxed and
gets a treat.
This article explores socializing your puppy…
- with people,
- in vehicles,
- with other animals, and
- with different environments.
1. Socialize Your Puppy With People
Introduce your puppy to people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and races: from
babies to teenagers to adults to seniors, and don’t forget to include a good
mix of male and female and different ethnicities and skin colors.
It’s also important to make sure your dog encounters people with (or on) the
various devices they often have with them: crutches, wheelchairs, walkers,
bicycles, skateboards, shopping carts, strollers, and more
Think also of clothing and other things that “alter” human appearance or
behavior; have your young dog meet people in uniform (including service and
delivery people coming to your door and into your house) and people with
umbrellas, hats, beards, backpacks, tools, cameras, kites, balls—any
“accessory” you can think of, as well as people behaving and moving in various
ways: dancing, shouting, playing sports, or cavorting on the playground.
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2. Introduce Your Puppy to Vehicles
Get your puppy accustomed not only to your vehicle (and the proper way to
enter/leave and behave in it), but to the other vehicles that make up life in
the human world: motorcycles, garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, buses,
emergency vehicles, boats, and construction equipment.
Dogs can learn to be friendly to each other!
3. Socialize With Other Animals
Other animals are a big part of life for some people and their pets, perhaps
not so much for others, depending on where and how you live. Be sure, though,
to get your puppy accustomed to meeting other dogs (puppy class and CGC
training are great for this, as are daily walks around the neighborhood), and
if possible, allow your dog to also encounter horses (think mounted police in
the park and carriage rides through urban downtowns), cats, birds, and—from a
safe distance—other wildlife, when permitted. (A good grip on the leash is an
important consideration here.)
4. Socialize in Different Environments
Get your puppy acquainted with as many environments as possible. This is true
on the “macro” level–urban areas, small towns, woods, bodies of water,
playgrounds, farmer’s markets, vet clinics, café patios–and on the “micro”
level: wood floors, tile floors, linoleum, asphalt, gravel, stairs, bridges
(both solid and slatted or grated)–and don’t forget that bathtub! And don’t
forget the sights, sounds, and smells (we’re talking about dogs, after all)
that go along with these different environments: everything from doorbells to
church bells, vacuum cleaners, appliances, electronic devices, blow dryers
(see the Lifestages article on grooming tools), lawn and yard tools, loud
music, video game, and toy noises, cooking aromas, the smell of cleaning
supplies, perfumes, the barbecue, and that just-delivered pizza. Some
environmental phenomena you will have no control over–thunderstorms,
fireworks, the neighbor burning leaves, the dead skunk in the middle of the
road–but even these, when encountered, provide learning/socialization
opportunities, so be ready to take advantage of them. Do you think you might
want to have your Newf pull a wagon in a parade? Then be prepared not only to
train him for pulling (when he’s old enough; talk to your vet or breeder), but
get him used to the sound of bands, fireworks, and maybe even “noise cannons”
as well as to the sight of balloons, flags, decorated vehicles (and people),
There’s a world of fun for dogs (and people) out there just waiting to be
experienced; early socialization can be key to being able to experience that
world in a pleasant and rewarding way.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It
is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription,
or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.
Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a
© 2016 Newfoundland Club of America