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Puppy Socialization Rule of 12’s

Socialization is one of the most important things to focus on with your new puppy.  Here is a list of things you can do.

Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise. Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared.

By the time the puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:
(or start right away if puppy is over 12 weeks)

Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, woodchips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea gravel, grates uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc.
Played with 12 different objects: fuzzy toys, big and small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper or cardboard items, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc.
Experienced 12 different locations: front yard, other people’s homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, veterinarian hospital (just visit), grooming salon(just visit), etc.
Met and played with 12 new people (outside of family): children, adults, men, elderly, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, beards, etc.
Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy’s comfort level- we don’t want puppy scared): garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, shopping carts rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses, vacuum, lawnmowers, etc.
Exposed to 12 fast moving objects (don’t allow to chase): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, soccer, squirrels, cats, etc.
Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella, balloons, walk on a wobbly table, jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub, etc.
Handled by owner and family 12 times a week: hold under arm like football, hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in between owners legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in between toes, hold and take temperature, hold like baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, etc.
Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard box, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, frying pan, Kong, Treatball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, etc.
Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend’s house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high, under umbrella, etc.
Played with 12 different puppies(or safe adult dogs)as much as possible.
Left alone safely, away from family and other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week
Experienced a leash and collar 12 different times in 12 different locations.

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