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Puppy Play Dates

This adorable Shitzu, Leo, is displaying the classic "play stance".
It's an invitation for fun!

If you have a puppy, socialization with other dogs is something you should encourage. Puppies that are not well-socialized often have problems with aggression or manners later in life. A dog that has not been socialized can be uncomfortable with the world they live in and find it hard to cope with change. For most of the dogs, this can be avoided with some puppy play dates.

puppies need to be exposed to all sorts of people, even babies

Your puppy learns about socializing whenever she is awake. A secure and happy puppy is one that is socialized with other puppies, dogs and humans. Puppies should be allowed to experience the world around them. Start when they are young!

Things that they experience as a puppy will stick with them forever. Sources differ, but many say that the primary socialization period is up until 12 weeks . From 12-16 weeks, they are learning as well, but not as quickly as they did up to 12 weeks. Every new experience for your puppy should be positive — accompanied by treats, praise, and fun. Up until 6 months, you should only have your puppy in situations that you can control. That means an off leash dog park is not a good choice until puppy is a older. Check with your vet for clearance on taking puppy to a dog park.

mature dogs can help teach your puppy good manners

You don't have to stick with the small dogs or other young puppies for socialization, try out larger mature dogs too. They can be very helpful in setting the tone and teaching good manners to your pup. Just stay close to make sure your puppy is having fun.

Puppies learn bite tolerance from wrestling and playing with other dogs. When you hear a "yelp!" that's usually one puppy telling the other that his bite was too hard. Typically the yelping dog will walk away from the game. This ends the fun for the offending nipper and he soon get the message that his bite was too hard.

this puppy teether is available at

Never let a puppy teethe on you. Redirect that behaviour to a chew toy like the one shown above. If your puppy nips you when your playing with him, yelp and walk away. It sounds silly, but that's what dogs do to get their point across at that age. Ending the fun is punishment enough for a young pup. Remember, dogs don't ever spank each other when they misbehave and they won't understand if you try it. Spankings are not recommended for puppies or dogs.

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