Is there anything more gut wrenching than a scared little puppy? You just want to scoop them up and make everything better, right? Well, there are some really smart steps you can take to help your puppy be strong & confident as they grow older. First and foremost, you need to socialize them safely – meaning, you need your puppy to have positive experiences with new dogs, people, etc. Where should you go for that? You have a few options:
- Dog parks
- Petco/Pet stores
- Friends homes
- Walking around town
- Puppy training classes
- Puppy daycare
We might be a little biased, but puppy daycare is a clear winner here. Let’s explore all the options and you can decided for yourself!
Options for Puppy Socialization
Dog parks: there’s no telling who will be at the dog park, and that can be both good and bad. Most parks require the dog to be licensed, which means they’ve had their rabies shots- but doesn’t mean they’ve been vaccinated for anything else. Your pup is still growing, and so is their immune system- you don’t want to risk them picking up a nasty disease! Additionally, wildlife can carry disease and parasites like ticks, which your puppy can be exposed to. Then, there’s the possibility of dog fights, and bullying. All said, dog parks are better reserved for when your dog is older.
Petco/Pet stores: there’s really only so much socialization you can do here. The pups can’t run free, and there’s also a risk of unvaccinated animals.
Friends homes: this is a great option, especially if your friend has a dog that can impart a little doggy wisdom and social skills. But how often can you realistically lean on your friend to host your puppy for socialization? You need consistent exposures to positive situations, and depending on your relationship with your friends this may or may not be achievable.
Walking around town: are there smokers hanging out around your downtown area? Do businesses throw down rock salt in the winter? Are there unvaccinated dogs being walked? So many questions, and so many risks. There’s also the fact that your dog might not see enough people and other animals for this to really make a big impact on their confidence.
Puppy training classes: this is a good option since most classes require all vaccinations for attendees. However, these sessions are usually short, and focused on learning skills and commands, not so much socialization. you can do better.
Puppy daycare: a safe environment with antimicrobial flooring, air filtration, requiring dogs to be vaccinated, and allows open play with dogs matched by size and temperament? Your puppy can stay there for hours? Sounds like a win to me!
The BEST Puppy Daycare to Increase Puppy Confidence
Dogtopia is staffed by trained, awesome individuals who are experts at reading body language. After your pup passes their initial assessment they’ll be matched into play groups, and can then participate in our ‘open play’. Staff will keep a watchful eye on things, directing dogs from time to time to ensure that everyone plays nicely together and that your pup doesn’t get bullied or have a negative experience. Your puppy will come home happy, tired, and a little wiser from all the interaction!
Ready to get started? Contact us today!