Did you know that failure to socialize puppies results in fear?
Puppies between the ages of 3 to 18 weeks are like sponges. They are prepared to learn what is safe in their world. They can easily be taught that people are wonderful, dogs are fun, having toys taken away is a good thing, loud noises are not scary, skateboarders are no big deal, nail trims are great and being alone is a good time to relax with a chew toy.
Puppies need multiple positive experiences around people, dogs, sights, sounds and new places. They need be touched and handled followed by good stuff (think steak or chicken).
Off leash play both with their litter mates and at puppy classes is important. This is a safe way to teach puppies how to interact with other dogs and it also provides important feedback on their play biting. This is the time when dogs can learn how to bite softly.
Food and object guarding can be prevented during this period by teaching puppies that it is great when someone approaches her food bowl or takes away her bone.
An excellent book on this topic is Life Skills for Puppies by Zulch and Mills.
Don’t miss the opportunity; socialize your puppy before the window closes.