We have a new puppy!
You have a new puppy! What are the first few things to do? Take care of their nutrition, pick out the best diet for them, prepare their home, prepare their training, and take care of their socialization. And by the way, you'll need lots of patience and tissues too ;).
You do all of these things to be able to develop that cute little puppy into a strong, amazing adult dog. You do all of that to help them become the best dog. But let me tell you something, puppies in parks are not one of those helpful things that help your puppy grow into a healthy adult dog!
You're probably going, "Whaaaaaaat?" But puppies love the park! You might think that the park is the best socializing environment for new-to-the-world puppies. The fresh air, the other dogs and the people. All of that we think will help our puppy to get to know the world like they're supposed to.
But you see, puppies from birth to six months are extremely sensitive. So sensitive that what they experience when they’re in their childhood they bring with them to the rest of their adulthood. May it be good or bad characteristics.
Let's think about what a cute little puppy experience at the park, most of the time. You just hold the leash and then you start feeling the fresh air and you relax while reading a book and totally forget about your puppy.
While we forget our puppy, he meets new people or other people’s dogs. Who might be nice or bullies. Your cute puppy may not be safe around another dog whose owner is too busy on the phone to be noticing the scene.
That feeling of fear and being bullied might scar your puppy for life. He wouldn’t be able to trust bigger dogs again and become an introvert. We don’t want that for our puppy right? Of course not!
Other than being bullied, your puppy might bully other dogs and begin to think it's acceptable behavior. We don’t want that either.
So we all know that socializing is crucial for our puppies, but you see just like with our children, we can't accept just any form of socialization, such as an unsupervised party or a music festival. We very well know that the people there, the events there are not really conducive for our innocent children. Similarly we can't put our innocent puppies in a war zone because they're not quite ready socially or physically to play with adult dogs.
We need to slowly introduce them to the world we live in, so they get used to the people, the sounds, the behaviors, the environment and how they interact with other dogs.
We do this by creating an environment where they can socialize safely and in a controlled area. For example, at a friend’s house that has pets. This is a nice, safe environment to get both human and animal exposure.
Between the ages of birth to six months, if we can give our puppies the best of what we have to offer: training, good nutrition and socializing -- they will surely become a great adult dog. If you ever want to bring your dog to the park, wait until they are six months old and they'll get so much more out of it.
Your teenage dog can then have an educational and fun trip at the park!
But for puppies? No park hopping!