- Begin human socialization immediately upon taking your puppy home; take him out to meet others and encourage everyone who visits to play with and handle him.
- Emphasize a variety of different looking people in your socialization exercises: wheelchairs, canes, blacks, whites, beards, curly hair, you get the picture. Your pup needs to see it all during these formative first few months. Be sure to include folks in various types of uniforms as well. Fearful dogs have often been known to target uniformed people like mail carriers, police and even veterinarians.
- Demonstrate leadership when socializing your pup by always showing your complete and total confidence in the presence of different looking people and places. You will be setting the example for your pup's lack of nervous energy at the vet, if you greet the vet warmly and show Rover how enjoyable it is to be there.
- Expose your puppy to noises of all kinds as well--printers, phones, meowing cats, barking dogs, and yes, even bigger groups of them, when she is ready.
- Handle your puppy daily in many of the ways your vet will do this, checking ears, eyes, teeth, abdomen, tail, backside and pads of the feet.
- For many pups the toes may be a sensitive area. If so, choose a soothing foot-pad massage instead, gradually getting deeper between the toes as your puppy begins to grow larger and accept this manipulation.
- Praise the puppy lavishly each time she allows you to examine an area that you need to get good visibility in. Trust me, one day when you need to pull a tick from between her toes, you'll need her to cooperate. Now is the time to prepare her for this eventuality.
- You can even mimic an eye check. First allow your pup to sniff and examine the flashlight. Then use it to dart the light quickly past her eyes, praising her when she handles this with moderate ease.
- Include gentle snout massages in your routine to prepare the puppy for a nose exam. Treat her when she willingly allows you to massage or stroke her snout, as this is another extremely sensitive area on most dogs.
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