Give your pup a good head start

  Socialization is an ongoing process throughout your dog’s life, but the  most critical period is before six months of age. Quite literally, socialization  means making your dog sociable.

Socializing your puppy means providing quality time. Give him lots of attention  and affection. Pet him and call him by his chosen name. Introduce him to your  neighbors and "service people" such as the mail carrier and others who come to  your home regularly. Show children how to pet him.

Socializing your puppy to other dogs is important, but this does not mean letting  him run free in the neighborhood. Give your puppy the opportunity for safe, controlled  interaction with dogs whose owners you know and be sure the dogs are immunized.  For a puppy, this includes introducing him in happy ways to all sorts of people,  places and things. Here are a few things you can do:

Go to training classes.
Visit dog-loving friends.
Take your puppy on errands with you in temperate weather. (As always, never leave your dog in the car in warm weather. It can become unbearably hot quickly.)
Invite people over to your house.

Socialization isn’t about forcing your puppy into scary situations but  rather about creating pleasant associations with new events and faces. Things  to keep in mind:

What a puppy learns early in life stays with him for life.
Between one month and three months old, a puppy gets almost all of his adult sensory, motor and learning abilities.
The more loving interaction you have with your pet, the better.
Include a little work in your play times and a lot of play in your work times. Make learning fun!
As soon as your veterinarian says it is safe, introduce him to the sights and sounds of his world. Make this fun by praising him and giving him a kibble when he explores his world.

Grooming and handling daily throughout your dog’s life help make him a  calmer, better-behaved, more tolerant companion. Make grooming a special time  for you and your dog. Whether he needs it or not, brush him daily with much  affection and reassurance so he learns to love this time together.

Handling his paws, tail, ears and mouth.
When your puppy is tired, gently handle his paws, look in his ears, and open  his mouth. Use your finger to gently massage his gums. This prepares him for  having his teeth brushed. Praise him warmly when he allows these things. Get  him used to all this early and grooming him later in life will be easier.

Utilize every opportunity to socialize your puppy. Make feeding time a happy  experience by praising your puppy for being a good dog as you place his dish  on the floor. Considerable puppy-owner bonding can occur through positive feeding  experiences.

Feeding can also aid in training your puppy. As you place his food dish on  the floor, give the command, ‘Come.’ This introduces your puppy  to an obedience command in a very positive way.

As you socialize and train your puppy, remember that puppies are eager to please.  Reward your puppy for good behavior by praising him. A little praise goes a long  way in helping your puppy become an endearing companion. (Hanesbrands Inc.)
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