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Puppies that are not socialized early in life have a tendency to grow up to be fearful, anxious, and/or antisocial pets. The first few months of a puppy’s life are a crucial time in their development. As soon as your new puppy comes home, you can start slowly with quiet one-on-one sessions with family and friends. Work your way up to noisier situations. Just having friends over to meet and play with your new puppy can be a great way to get started. Once your puppy is sufficiently vaccinated, take her on as many walks and outings as possible. Avoid areas that are at high risk for contagious disease such as parks and neighborhoods with stray dogs.
To fully socialize your puppy, make sure to introduce them to children as well as adults. Children move more erratically, speak loudly, and are quick to approach a puppy. If your puppy encounters only people of a certain age or appearance, she may become fearful or aggressive when introduced to people who appear or act differently (i.e. females, males, children, men with facial hair, people with wheelchairs or walkers).
Another easy way to increase socialization is to enroll your new pet in puppy classes. Most puppy preschools begin around 8-12 weeks of age.