Your Dog Training Questions: Where Should I Socialize My Puppy?

If you have been reading my blog for a while, (or if you haven’t, hello new readers!) you know that I preach the virtues of puppy “socialization.” So what is socialization and where does it happen? It is the process of exposing your puppy to people, places, sounds, sights and smells when they are young. The idea is that this exposure, combined with consistent puppy training, will help create a confident, friendly dog that can follow your directions in a variety of settings. I have written about this subject in several blog posts, which led to one reader to ask the following:

Your Question:


You have mentioned before how important it is to socialize young puppies by taking them to different places to experience people, smells, etc. But you have also said to not take puppies to dog parks. Isn’t this contradictory?

My Answer:

No, it’s not contradictory. Puppies are not fully vaccinated till about 4 months of age. A puppy owner must always keep in mind where their puppy is on their vaccination schedule in relation to where they take their puppy. Dog parks can have dogs there that are not vaccinated, there can be in-tact males etc. There are many other places for puppies and dogs to experience new sights, sounds, smells, noises rather than dog parks. Even for older dogs there are other places besides dog parks to get them used to all those things. There are puppy day camps and other pet resorts where vaccinations are required. There is doggie day camp, and much more.

I would simply say that owners must inspect and be comfortable with where you are sending your dog for the day just as parents would inspect and be comfortable with where they send their children. Kids can get hurt playing and so can dogs. A good day camp facility has a specific # of dogs per counselor and those counselors must be vigilant when the dogs are playing. Do not be afraid to ask questions about this and request a tour.

Also not ALL dogs are of the right temperament for day camp. Some are too shy or low energy. Each dog should be temperament tested prior to joining a day camp and the pet owner’s job is make sure you take your dog or puppy to a reputable day camp facility.

Jim’s  Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.

Remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell 2010

What’s YOUR dog training question?
Use the comments below to ask me.

1 reply
  1. comanchemoon
    comanchemoon says:

    Ok here’s the situation: I have a soon to be 5 year old miniature dachsund. I live alone with him and his two feline sisters along with a ball python (also female). Im disabled and I would really love to get my doxie to the point where he’ll greet people and other animals he doesnt know the way he should. He hasnt had a chance to play with another animal since he was with his mom and siblings up to 9 weeks of age. We dont have a dog park. The only place I could take him (and have) is Petsmart. The thing is Im disabled and can’t jump in and put an end to any possible situations between dogs, not that I would be overly anxious to anyway. I dont want either of us hurt. So my question is how do I do this in such a way that both I and he are safe? He’ll growl and bark and charge other dogs (mostly those bigger than him but pretty much any dog) and then stop. It’s really strange. Thanks

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