Socialization – Notes from Dr. Ian Dunbar’s book, “Before and After Getting a Puppy"

How to Socialize a Puppy

Puppies should meet 5 new people a day (for the first 3 months).

For the first two weeks, the puppy should meet these 5 new people a day at your home (you do it at home because the puppy shouldn’t leave your home in those two weeks because that’s the “fear period,” a strange, one-time period when any negative encounter can traumatize them forever).

To do this:

  1. After you’ve had the dog for a day, invite 5 men (and 1 child) over one night to meet the puppy (maybe even a TV party). They can hand-feed the puppy some kibble, and hold, hug, and touch him.
  2. The next night, invite over 5 women and 1 child (same directions).
  3. Repeat for 11 more days. You can have more than 1 kid at a time after a while.

After 2 weeks, you can then go outside with the dog to meet 5 people a day.

Note: If you don’t do this socialization, the dog won’t like to be hugged, won’t like men, etc.

How to play with your puppy

  • Play for 15 seconds
  • Have him lie still for 3 seconds before letting him play again
  • Play for 15 seconds
  • Have another 3-second settle-down

(Then try for 5 seconds, then 5, 8, 10, and so on). Although it’s difficult at first, being yo-yoed between Settle Down and Let’s Play, the puppy soon learns to settle down quickly and happily.

Preventing separation anxiety

When you prepare dinner in the kitchen, confine your puppy to his crate in the dining room.

When you eat dinner in the dining room, keep the pup in his crate in the kitchen while you eat.

Bite inhibition

When you give your puppy a treat, if he nips you, yipe “Ouch!” (in a high voice) as if it really hurt. Don’t scare the heck out of the dog, but definitely let him know (in a high voice) that his teeth hurt you.

Dr. Dunbar is also famous for teaching how to potty train a puppy. and how to crate-train.