Quick Tips for Success: Puppy Socialization and Early Exposure – Croney Research Group



Appropriate socialization is critical for puppies during the sensitive period (between 3-12 weeks of age) to ensure a friendly social adult dog and prevent behavior problems related to fear. This is also the ideal time to provide pups with gentle exposure to habituate them to sounds, sights, surfaces, and situations that they are likely to experience in their adult living environments. The goal during this time is that the puppy has a variety of social interactions and new experiences that are positive, not neutral or bad. This is accomplished by watching the pup’s body language and giving highly valued treats. Use our Puppy Socialization and Exposure Checklist to guide you in this process.

Shreyer, T., Rezvani, T., Croney, C. (2021) Quick Tips for Success: Puppy Socialization and Early Exposure. https://vet.purdue.edu/discovery/croney/files/documents/212205%20-%20QT%20Puppy%20Socialization.pdf

Photo: iStock.com/fotografixx


Appleby, D., Bradshaw, J.W.S., and Casey, R.A. (2002). Relationship between aggressive and avoidance behavior by dogs and their experience in the first six months of life. Veterinary Record, 150, 434-438.

Arai, S., Ohtani, N., and Ohta, M. (2011). Importance of bringing dogs in contact with children during their socialization period for better behavior. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 73(6), 747-752.

Schilder, M.B.H., van der Borg, J.A.M., and Vinke, C.M. (2019). Intraspecific killing in dogs: Predation behavior or aggression? A study of aggressors, victims, possible causes, and motivations. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 34, 52-59.

Download Full Resource
Topic(s): Bare Bones Basics, Behavior, Breeder Resource, Socialization