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Socialization

by Vicki Chaney

       One of the most important things you will do with your puppy is to socialize it.  This is done through many activities. Family time, of course, would be a part of this as would taking your puppy for a walk.

        When taking you puppy out for a walk, make sure you take the time to let the puppy investigate things that are interesting to it as long as they are safe.  For instance, if the puppy sees a bush and wonders what it is, let the puppy investigate.  Encourage the puppy to sniff it and look around it.  Puppies are sometimes frightened by new objects.  When you encounter such a situation, encourage the puppy to look closer and discover that it will not be harmed by the object.

        While on your walks as you meet people that express interest in your puppy stop to let the pup meet them.  This is a great experience for the puppy learning to deal with different types of people.  Children are especially great as long as you make sure and watch that they don't pull hair, ears, or tails.

        You should take your puppy to different places on your walks.  Walk on different blocks, parks, the strand, anyplace you can think of.  Remember, the more you expose your puppy to the better it will cope with different situations as it gets older. Again, be patient with new situations and give the puppy time to adjust and see that it won't be harmed.  Walking on a sidewalk where there is a lot of traffic can be frightening to a puppy the first few times, but with patience and encouragement from you the puppy will discover that it is okay.

Other animals that you may encounter should be avoided when the puppy is young.  Older dogs don't always appreciate the behavior of young puppies and the puppy could be harmed.  Also, you need to be careful about exposing the puppy to diseases and viruses that it may not have sufficient immunities to even though you have vaccinated it.

        I feel the dog parks are not a good place to take your puppy or adult dog.  First of all, you don't know what you are exposing your dog to.  Many parasites, funguses, and bacteria that can be harmful to your dog's health are carried on the feet of dogs.  Also, the feces of other animals can be infected with worms, and possibly transmitted to your dog through its feet.  Your puppy steps where worm larva has been left, licks its feet, and ingests the larva.  Older dogs can carry viruses that may not severely affect them but these same viruses can be fatal to a puppy.

        Encourage your puppy to walk on different types of surfaces such as gravel, sand, dirt, iceplant, metal, plastic etc.  Be patient if the puppy is reluctant and show the puppy by touching it that it won't hurt the pup.  Praise the puppy when it touches or walks on the surface.  Remember to take your time and be patient.

        Taking your puppy on short rides in the car is a must.  Say, for instance, you have to go to mail a letter; this is the perfect opportunity to take the puppy.  If you are just going to a drive through for a bite, take the puppy.  Another good opportunity for a ride in the car, mixed with some socialization, is a trip to the car wash.  This can be a great place for exposure to people, cars, and noise.  Remember to keep the puppy on a leash, and collar that the puppy cannot get out of at all times.

        NEVER leave the puppy unattended in the car unless you can see him at all times.  NEVER leave the puppy in the car in hot weather no matter what.

        Each experience that you have with your puppy is a learning experience for both of you.  Watch your puppy and begin to learn its body language.  You will find the puppy talks to you about everything.  As you get through these different experiences you will be teaching the puppy how you communicate, (with words and body language)  and the puppy will teach you how it communicates, (with body language).  Both of you need to learn the other ones main language in order to build a good line of communication between you.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).