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A Socialization Checklist - Puppies before 16 weeks
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    I enrolled Mika into a puppy class, and they gave a really nice and detailed socialization checklist. I think there might be one on the NK side, but thought it would be neat to post what the checklist given to me at puppy class is, and see how many forum members were able to get most of these checked off before their puppies hit 16 weeks of age.

    Both genders
    Different ethnicities

    People Wearing:
    Punk Hairdos
    Shaved Heads

    Friendly, healthy dogs
    Small pets (hamsters)
    Large birds (geese)
    Livestock (goats)

    People in Uniform:
    Postal Workers
    Vet clinic staff
    Ambulance attendants
    Crossing guards
    Meter readers
    Telephone worker

    People with:
    Legs in cast
    Metal frame walkers
    Guide dogs
    Baby carriages
    Baby carriers
    Shopping carts
    Limps or odd gaits
    Erratic body movements

    Athletic Folk:
    Bike couriers
    Toboggans and sleds
    Wind surfers
    Speed walkers
    Spectator at 10k run
    People swimming
    Martial arts

    Motor Vehicles:
    Trucks backing up
    Screeching brakes
    Cars backfiring
    Airplanes & Helicopters
    Street cleaners
    Garbage trucks
    Delivery trucks
    Skidoos & Seadoos

    Outdoor Events:
    Hot air balloon
    People singing
    Live music band
    Farmers market
    Beach party/bonfire
    Santa Claus
    Fairs & Rodeos
    Sporting events
    Mimes & Clowns
    People dancing
    Rush Hour
    A rally/protest
    Street Vendors

    Environmental Hazards & Noise Pollution:
    Thunder & Lightning
    Snow blowers
    Loud Speakers
    Building demolition/construction
    People yelling

    Strange Sights & Smells
    Drunk people
    Icecream truck
    Strong perfume
    Strong cooking smell
    Cigarette smoke
    Skipping rope
    Hula hoop
    Kites, Flag/banners
    Model airplanes/remote control toys

    Construction Sites & Gardeners:
    Front-end loaders
    Garden hose
    Power tools
    Carrying shovels
    Electric hedge shears
    Sweeping with broom
    Lawn mowers
    Ride on mowers
    Weed whippers
    Sprinkler system

    Different Environments:
    Car Rides
    Socialization class
    Vet clinic
    Boarding kennel
    Video store
    Gas station
    Boat rides
    School grounds
    Sporting activities
    The beach
    Toll booth
    Shopping mall
    Friend's homes
    Public transit
    Outdoor cafe
    Country versus city
    Automatic doors
    Pet supply store
    Hiking trails
    The office
    Petting zoo
    Car wash
    Walk after dark
    A tunnel
    A bridge
    Busy intersection
    Outside child daycare
    Active railway
    Crowd of people

    Different Surfaces:
    Stairs (up & down)
    Ceramic tiles
    Slippery surfaces
    Manholes and grates
    Watery or wet
    Swinging Bridge
    Wooden dock
    Tarmac (not hot days)

    I know this checklist is very long, and some of it can be done in one outing to the same place. I don't think I can get all of these checked off by 16 weeks! Haha, but I think it's a good guideline to follow to try to get my puppy out to meet, feel, smell, hear, see, and experience as many different things and people as possible.

    [mod edit: changed category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-09-10 13:53:14
  • JessicaRabbitJessicaRabbit
    Posts: 2217
    That is a fantastic check list. I am going to make this a sticky because I think this is so important for new dog owners.
  • JessicaRabbitJessicaRabbit
    Posts: 2217
    Clearly I was never socialized with mimes or clowns because those bastards creep me out.
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 1361
    lmao @ Jess

    Funilly enough, I have an Aunt who is also afraid of clowns. [ & birds, & snakes, & lizards: IE, all of my babies ] & when she found out we got a pup, she rushed over to "socialize" herself to him as...she's scared of pups too!

    So on that note...socialize your family / friends to the pup too while he's still young. :) ~
  • I dislike clowns, and I hate the Snuggles Bear.

    This is a really great sticky btw.
  • Serkle kSerkle k
    Posts: 974
    I'm a clown. Well I used to have my own entertainment company. We were called clowning around entertainment. :-P
  • It's funny how many people are afraid of clowns. I think many parents took their kids to the circus and the clowns would play around with them at a young age. When you look at clowns with wild,colored, curly hair,a big red mouth, crazy clothes (plus they don't talk) it is scary.
    The list is great and MoJo was quite socialized by 16 weeks....socialized with the important things...people, children, other animals (not small hamsters and birds) and loud sounds (he was always calm) Car rides were great from the very start...and never car sick. Overall he's a well rounded little guy thankfully. Not scared of anything...not even clowns
  • Wow!

    I guess I am lucky! Moshi is only phased by bicycles and prams (perambulators to you lot...) out of the above. He likes the vet but was freaked out big-time when I took him for the snip (he must have sensed my guilt/worry...) He was socialised early and has never shown aggression to any human or animal, though he bites the ones he loves - strangers are OK.

    One quirk: the park I take him to at work is usually empty, but when the council are cleaning it with their sweeping vehicles that makes him lose it... big-time!!! "Why are they here? It doesn't make sense!!!)
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    Thought I would add these links to this thread.


    AVSAB (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) Position Statement On Puppy Socialization socialization.pdf
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    Hammond loves toddlers and kids. A little too much because he gets really wound up and wants to chase them, haha. But if I tell him to sit and let the kids give him a treat for sitting or shaking, then he tends to be more calm. I think it's just because he's still young and energetic and kids move in such quick, erratic ways that it triggers OMG PLAYTIME in him.

    Thankfully he's a very confident, social pup, so he loves ever person, animal, place, and thing he meets. Only once or twice has a noise startled him (rolling the garbage bin away from the curb, etc.)\

    I was worried about skateboards because there's a skate shop right around the corner and kids are always skating and doing tricks on the sidewalk, but he just ignored them. Once a kid fell off his board and Hammond went over and sniffed it but found it unexciting, haha.
  • Umi is very well socialized - loves people of all sizes and also dogs. I had read that socialization was important, so as soon as we got her at 8 weeks we began exposing her to as many new experiences as possible - new places, people, dogs(after her shots). I think most importantly we just did it as part of our routine and didn't make a big deal of it - we were comfortable, relaxed and the dog got to experience new things under no stress, and it seemed to work. She has two things that she hates - her arch nemeses are - The Vacuum Cleaner ( if we even move to the part of the house the VC lives in, she bolts outside) and The Rubbish Bin (which is on wheels and makes a rumbling noise as it moves). Apart from that, the world is Umi's party!
  • EthosEthos
    Posts: 372
    My puppy will be 9.5 weeks when I get him. I asked the breeder to socialize him as much as possible, she exposed him to family members,her kids, and a cat. I know that's not enough, is it too late at 9.5 weeks for me to socialize the puppy and desensitize him if he has aggression to strangers ? Did any of you adopt a puppy older than 9 weeks and could socialize him/her successfully?
  • KitsuKitsu
    Posts: 765
    @Ethos 9.5 weeks is not even close to being late to socialize him! Some people don't really start socializing a ton until the puppy has all the puppy shots and just leave their puppy at home until then. (Although sooner the better for socialization, just avoid places like dog parks and floors of pet stores and stuff like that until they have their shots done.) !
    Post edited by Kitsu at 2012-04-06 10:41:33
    Posts: 1507
    Does your pup have litter mates? They will have been part off the socialization process. 9 weeks+ is not to late to socialize. We got our male at 12 weeks and female at 9.5 weeks. INU has been social (welladjusted-lol) and Penny learned many social skills from him. Socialization is a lifelong process. Just keep it as positive as possible.
  • KitsuKitsu
    Posts: 765
    This list has soooo many things on it. There's no way I'll be able to get even close to even half of it! Maybe if I lived in a bigger town :(
    Posts: 1507
    @kitsu, you can shorten the list by looking at it, As what are the common stimuli that my dog will encounter on any given day.
  • EthosEthos
    Posts: 372
    Ya 1 brother and 3 sisters. I read in a book that the puppy needs to be exposed to 100 different people by the age of 7 weeks. I dont thonk he was exposed to more than 10.
  • Um, Ethos, I don't know what exactly the situation is in regard to how much your pup was socialized at a young age (as I don't know how much socialization was done) but it sounds like you're really worried it was inadequate. If you're that worried about it, is there a reason you're purchasing from this breeder? You should really be very comfortable with your breeder. Even if the breeder is a genuinely good one, if you're not comfortable with them or their methods of raising the pups then it seems to me like it's a bad idea to buy from them.
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    Adding this blog post to the thread for reference.

    Dog-Dog Socialization: Beyond the Dog Park
  • That's a great list! Good thing to keep in mind for the future ;).

    And ugh...I hate clowns too. But because of two movies I saw when I was young: Stephen King's It and Potergeist. I love both of those movies but... *shudders*. Oh, and the Chuckie movie didn't help either when my father let me see it when I was really little, so I hate creepy dolls too XD
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Bumping this up might be helpful to new puppy owners. Socialization is important.

    I sometimes take it for granted how well Saya is socialized. Few weeks ago we went all over the place to pick up things from two different Lowes. dogs were allowed at both places! Great!

    Things we needed was in paint section. One Lowes had paint machine going Saya didn't flinch or mind it.

    Despite living in quiet country she takes sound well. Coarse we make trips to town and I made it a point to bring Saya if dogs were allowed.

    This was shared on my FB this poster is nice should be printed and posted at all vets and pet stores for everyone to see..
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • RAM25RAM25
    Posts: 317
    When my Shiba was about 2 months old we came across a man having an epileptic fit - it really excited her for some reason to the point where if she hadn't been on the lead she would have tried to bite him. Socialization is key
  • Chloe is 15 weeks old (almost 4 months) and I just got her 2 days ago.... we had a big family party last night which included 2 little kids and about 12 family members... the get togethers are normally loud and a lot of things going on. She did really well though. The kids were all over her (their first time seeing her) and she never once showed any sort of aggression or any growling or anything. I have been getting her used to these types of things by tugging her ears and tail on occasion, and putting my hands in her food bowl while she's eating, and then also feeding her by hand. I haven't had an issue yet so I'm hoping it will turn out just like my poodle did with this training.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    This is one of the best articles I've read on socialization. I know the thread title says 16 weeks, but this applies for all ages. A terrific read!!

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Bumping this thread for all our new Shiba puppies that have recently joined us! We all CANNOT stress enough how invaluable this is to the well-being and happiness of both you and your companion! Get out there and show your puppies the world!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • Kobe1468 said:

    This is one of the best articles I've read on socialization. I know the thread title says 16 weeks, but this applies for all ages. A terrific read!!

    good article!
  • Wow...lots of things! Mika will be meeting her two lab cousins at Christmas, so hopefully this will start her socialization process! Then I better find someone with a punk hairdo next! Lol...that one just cracked me up! Thx for posting that.
  • This really makes me think of the sad dog diary. :P Wonderful checklist though!
  • NahatalieNahatalie
    Posts: 363
    The one that cracked me up the most was

    14 week old Oki's had a lot of experiences in the 5 weeks we've had him. He's been absolutely fine with anything we've put him through so far...fingers crossed he continues to take everything in his stride!
  • Once Panko and I were on a walk in the evening and we came upon a small construction area on the street. They had one constuction barricade with a blinking amber light over the little hole in the street. All of a sudden, Pank froze and decided he was staying clear of the barricade.

    So I walked up to the barricade and started touching it and tapping it and petting it while saying "It's OK Panko. See? OK?" After about a minute or so he started approaching the barricade and sniffing around it. Within a couple of minutes he was totally fine with it. Never bothered him since.

    When Panko was about 14 weeks old, we were on a walk and some kids were playing soccer in the park. The ball came rolling towards us and my wife decided to kick the ball back towards the kids. With my wife's legendary athletic abilities at work, she shanked it and the ball hit Panko square in the face! Ooo, he did not like that at all. For the next couple of months, he would totally stay clear of soccer ball sized round objects. We finally got him to readjust and he no longer is afraid of balls. Took some work though.

    Shibas! They certainly keep you on your toes.
  • BUMP!

    There are quite a few new puppies and discussions about socialization lately, I think that this thread would be useful for the new members.

    Read and enjoy - happy socializing!!!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • OMG. Thanks Kira! I've printed it out, and will get down to working on it!
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170
    I got Denso at around 4 months old. He is now about 5 months old.
    He is scared of a lot of things, such as cars, people, places, etc.
    It took him a while to feel comfortable in our yard, although he will still scare if someone is outside and so on. I still have to carry him during walks a lot too.
    I am now working on the car though. He is doing good with the engine off so far!

    My question is: Once he is used to car rides, should I just carry him everywhere to socialize him? Or do I need to do something different since he is afraid?

    Edit: still reading research on this, but I just want to make sure I don't scare him more!

    Second edit: Further reading in a certain article is telling me no. Maybe I will just save up after all and hire a trainer to help :)
    Post edited by Frillface at 2015-05-23 17:53:07
  • My opinion, and I am definitely not an expert.

    Denso is as open to new experiences right now as he ever will be. While I wouldn't put him in and keep him in situations that are clearly traumatizing him, I would lean more towards the taking him as many places as you can.

    Rose hasn't shown any of those tendencies but for example, today she went to the dog park and played with everything from a great dane to a chihuahua. She wandered around hollywood feed with me and said hi to every dog and person in there. Later today we went to an air show and heard the loud engines and about 1000 people who want to pet her, or say "look at that fox" etc.

    I think doing those things are key for her future and plan on continuing that. If the dog develops problems with any specific thing I would lean towards using the bond you are developing and your training/positive reinforcement to overcome those issues. Something as simple as having your dog "Focus" on you, or sit, or both, and rewarding with a high value treat goes a long way in calming him down, and if done enough, he will start to associate the previously bad stimulus with a good thing (Treat).
    Post edited by carterpelham at 2015-05-23 21:56:31
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170
    I planned on taking him to lower public areas at first, like a not so busy dog park and park in general. Maybe sit far away at first, then build up to getting closer. Our outdoor malls are doggie friendly too, so that may work too for him.
    I just wanted to make sure it was the proper route to go, thank you! :)
    I've also been working on his "focus" command too, so that will help! ;)
    Post edited by Frillface at 2015-05-24 00:38:30
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @Frillface, a less busy mall is a good place to start - lots of different textures and smells to explore. And public hiking trails. But dog parks are bad for socialization, because there's no way to know how the other dogs will behave - poor role models are more common than good ones. Especially for dogs with fear or anxiety issues, a bad experience can set them way back. So avoid "dog" areas for now and focus on socializing with people and different environments.

    If you know people with well behaved dogs, that's different. Training classes which are a controlled environment are also good.
  • FrillfaceFrillface
    Posts: 170
    I don't like going when it's busy myself ;) He already loves the trails, so that's good! They usually aren't busy either which works well.

    That is a good point actually. I was more going to use it for play, but that may have to wait for now. He really loves dogs though, but sadly I don't know anyone with a dog.
    Thank you for the tips! I'm glad I had the right idea :)

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