Two smiling kids sit outside on the grass with their puppy sitting between them.

Socializing Your Puppy is Essential - Here's Why

In the first three months of a puppy’s life, socialization is critical to their development. Socialization involves meeting other dogs, humans, and animals while exposed to new environments. As your puppy becomes more socialized, creating positive experiences will help shape their personality and ensure they grow into friendly and well-adjusted dogs. 

Keep reading to discover why socializing your puppy early on is critical and some tips to keep things fun and positive along the way. 

The Importance of Puppy Socialization

Early on, socialization is important for dogs because it introduces them to the wide variety of sights, sounds, and experiences they’ll be exposed to throughout their lives. Lack of exposure to new environments and other animals can lead to anxiety when your dog eventually does meet and interact with these things. 

The earlier you can get your puppy out in the world, the better! These new experiences may be overwhelming for a puppy initially, so starting slowly is important. Even if you get discouraged, keep trying. Try small outings each day, and as your puppy adjusts, continue to take them out, encourage them to sniff and explore, and give them lots of encouragement and affection along the way.

How to Socialize a Puppy

Socialization can begin with visiting a park or outdoor area and sitting near people. Your puppy can observe everything around them as a positive first step. Once they’re more comfortable in new environments, here’s how you can slowly socialize your puppy.

Walks or Hikes

Get them on the leash and head out the door for a slow-paced walk. You may encounter other dogs on the walk, or you can simply let your puppy sniff every bush, watch wildlife, interact with people, or just explore the great outdoors. They will experience new textures, smells, and sounds, which are great for their social and developmental skills.

Obedience/Puppy Training Classes

In puppy obedience classes, your dog will meet and interact with many other dogs, some their age and some older. They’ll also meet new people, including children, which is great exposure. Your puppy will be exposed to various toys and objects they will likely interact with at some point in their lives.


Once your puppy has all the necessary vaccinations, you can set up playdates with other dogs.  Here’s your trusty puppy socialization checklist as you set up your first playdate:

Local Events

From street fairs to farmer’s markets, sporting events, and breweries, you’re surrounded by fantastic socialization options in your area. Local outings are a great chance to practice the basic commands you’ve been working on at home, too!

Puppy Support and Wellness with Get Joy

At Get Joy, we strongly commit to dog health and wellness. That’s why we’ve developed nutritious, gut-healthy meals for a healthier dog and, therefore, a healthier family. So, what are you waiting for? Get started with our delicious meal samplers to see what gets your dog’s tail wagging!