When you get your new bernedoodle puppy, you may be excitedly daydreaming about all the fun you’ll have together. Just don’t forget about the importance of making sure your puppy is properly socialized! Let’s go over why puppy socialization is so important and how you can help your new pup.

The Importance of Proper Puppy Socialization

Not sure why puppy socialization is so important? In short, a well-socialized puppy will usually develop into a safer, more relaxed dog.

This is because they are more comfortable in a wider variety of situations than poorly socialized dogs, so they’re less likely to behave fearfully or aggressively when faced with something new. When dogs are more relaxed about honking horns, cats, cyclists, vet exams, and crowds, they are safer and easier to live with than dogs who find these situations threatening and can put themselves, others, and you in danger.

Risks of Poor Socialization

The unfortunate fact is that dogs who have been poorly socialized early on tend to have behavior problems. Common behavioral problems include:

  • Barking or overreacting to noises
  • Displays of fear or aggression around other dogs
  • Aggressive or overly energetic reactions to new people
  • Avoidance of unfamiliar situations
  • Difficulty handling (pulling on leash, jumping, etc.)
  • Difficulty with house training and other behavioral basics

A dog that’s noisy, jumps, or even bites is not only inconvenient but can be a safety issue. The key to a happy, confident bernedoodle dog is making puppy socialization a top priority and picking a breeder with the same values.

When Does Puppy Socialization Begin?

So, when does puppy socialization begin? The critical socialization period for puppies spans from when they are born to 16 weeks after birth. This means a good portion of socializing a puppy happens under the direction of the breeder. If it wasn’t clear already, this is just another reason why picking a reputable and trustworthy dog breeder is so essential.

At Alpine Bernedoodles, we know how critical these early weeks are for socialization. Soon after the birth of our bernedoodle puppies, we employ early neurological stimulation, or ENS, which is an advanced process of introducing newborn puppies to mild stressors in a caring and controlled way. As puppies grow, socialization doesn’t stop as we introduce them to new experiences during this critical period of development.

Tips for How to Socialize Your Bernedoodle Puppy

When you take your bernedoodle puppy home, know that socialization shouldn’t stop! It’s important to keep up with the new experiences so your puppy can become a well-socialized, confident dog. Here are some tips to help you continue the training.

Don’t Forget About Their Health

First things first, always consider your puppy’s health. When you take your new best friend home, they will not be fully vaccinated quite yet. For that reason, we suggest not introducing your puppy to places with high canine traffic (dog parks, in-person dog training, etc.) until your vet has cleared them. This doesn’t mean you have to leave your puppy at home, though! They can be carried in your arms and still see lots of new people and stimuli while running errands with you.

Be Their Happy Medium

Experiencing new things and going to new places can be scary for your pup! It’s essential that you are always the person your puppy can turn to when they are nervous.

You’ll want to show them they have nothing to be scared of, so keep socialization exercises positive and always reward your puppy for good behavior. But if your puppy grows wary and hides behind you, that’s okay. Give them comfort and allow them to grow more comfortable with what is making them nervous on their own terms. It’s also okay to take a break from the stimuli and try again another day. It’s all about baby steps and not overwhelming them.

Practice Makes Perfect

While your bernedoodle puppy should explore the outside world and all the stimuli in it, you can also work on socialization skills in the comfort of your own home. Great things to prepare your puppy are blow-dryers or hairbrushes, as these will be encountered when they go to the groomers. Handle their feet as well, so it isn’t so scary when they have their nails trimmed for the first time. You can also let your puppy see water in a puddle in your yard, cars in your driveway, and much more!

Experience it All

Here is a list of a variety of things you should introduce to your puppy as he/she develops mentally:

  • Handling your puppy daily, including their ears, eyes, muzzle, and paws
  • Exposing your puppy to a variety of environments, for example, rural areas, parks, busy urban areas, etc.
  • Bikes, scooters, skateboards, and shopping carts
  • People and other pets who are not in your household
  • Children of all ages
  • Take your pup for car rides (and consider eventually bringing them with you through a car wash)
  • Introduce them to baths, but remember not to bathe them too often

Ready for a New, Well-Socialized Best Friend?

We hope this guide has helped you learn about puppy socialization! Remember, socializing your puppy is essential for a happy, well-behaved, and confident dog.

If you’re ready to take the leap and add a new member to your family, Alpine Bernedoodles is ready to assist you. We are located in the beautiful town of Montrose, Colorado, and it is our passion to produce exceptional quality bernedoodles. Our bernedoodles are bred with responsibility and integrity to be cherished family companions. Every puppy is raised with attention to physical and mental health and nurtured with love and care. Thank you for your interest in our puppies!