A key to a well mannered and happy dog is to provide a puppy with frequent socialization in safe environments. Geoff Gardiner of People and Paws demonstrates a wide variety of situations in which he has socialized his Search and Rescue K-9 Gretzky (trained and handled by Gardiner and bred by Michael Burkey).
At an early age, Geoff exposed Gretzky to as many different environments and people that he could imagine. In every situation, he made sure it was a good experience for Gretzky. While you may not have as many varied environments as Gretzky by being a member of a search and rescue team, you may get some ideas from Gretzky as to how you can socialize your own dog.
So what ideas did you come up with your own dog? Try to imagine every situation your puppy may experience at a later point in life. This means; locations (vet offices, parks, car rides), varied types of people (young, old, etc.), crowds, floor surfaces, strange noises, other animals, etc. In each situation make sure it is not too overwhelming for your puppy and make the exposure gradual so each contact is a positive experience. You can divert your pup’s attention by offering food treats or play sessions (game of fetch) in the new environments.
You can also expose your pup to slick surfaces such as a kitchen floor by feeding the pup in the kitchen. Place the pup’s food bowl in reach of the carpeted living room. As your pup gains more confidence, move the food bowl over time further into the kitchen so your pup has to venture onto the slick floor to eat his meal. In no time, your pup will associate the slick floor with good things and be able to safely walk on the kitchen floor. It will also help to make sure your pup’s nails are kept trimmed and the hair in between his pads are kept short for better traction.
Learn how to properly socialize your pup to new situations and people by joining Michael’s private dog training or group dog training classes.