In addition to basic obedience training, your puppy needs socialization.  Exposure to a variety of people, places and things during the first year helps prevents fearful, anxious or aggressive reactions to strangers and new situations later on.  

For the first week, provide your new puppy with a calm, consistent home environment.  Try to avoid outings and visitors.  During the next week, encourage relatives and friends to come to your home to meet the puppy.  Keep in mind that puppies need frequent naps. It is important to avoid over stimulating your puppy.

Introduce your puppy to the outside world slowly.  Start with visits to the home of relatives and friends that live close by.   When your puppy is about 3 months old, take your puppy to new and different places.  Try to take your puppy to meet children of all sizes, people riding bikes, men with beards, women wearing hats and people playing games.  Go to a variety of places so your puppy can experience many different sights and sounds.  

Puppies experience several fear imprint periods.  Between 8 to 11 weeks of age, puppies experience their first fear imprint period.  The second fear imprint period begins at 6 months and ends at 14 months of age. A frightening experience may result in long term problems such as shyness and aggression. Do not speak to your puppy with a comforting, soothing tone. Do not pet a frightened  puppy. Your puppy will interpret your responses as praise for being afraid. The "Jolly Routine" often prevents a lasting fear. Speak to your puppy in with an upbeat tone. Let the puppy know that you are happy and not concerned about the situation. For example, say "Isn't this new and exiting!" If your puppy starts to bark, tell your puppy to "Cut it out" using a firm tone of voice. Puppy classes and obedience training will help your dog develop self-confidence. Seek the help of canine specialists such as breeders, obedience instructors, dog behaviorists, and veterinarians if you need help.

  • Keep in mind that little puppies are not protected against canine diseases.  Avoid exposure to dogs that may not be immunized until your puppy has been vaccinated. 
  • Puppy kindergarten provides some of both obedience lessons and social interaction.  The puppy has the opportunity to interact with other dogs as well as the dog owners.  (Most obedience instructors require vaccinations before your puppy can attended classes.) 
  • Frequent short outings are better than occasional long ones.  Your puppy needs a lot of naps.
  • Talk to your puppy with an upbeat, happy tone of voice.  The puppy will follow your lead, so let your puppy know that you are having fun. 
  • Start with brief, low-stress outings to the homes of friends and relatives. At first, avoid big crowds and loud noises that might frighten a young puppy.  
  • Next, visit shopping centers, residential neighborhoods, and recreational areas with your puppy.