When to Begin Socializing Your Puppy?

There's a short window when socialization is possible in young pups, so make the best of it.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
1-minute read

Q: I just adopted a new puppy. When is the best time to start socializing him?

A: Different experts will give you different time frames, ranging from 12 to 16 weeks old. But I urge you to play it safe—socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home.

The catch about socialization is that it’s a window of opportunity and when it shuts, it slams shut. Individual puppies will vary, too. However, without good socialization, your puppy will likely be shy and skittish as he grows up. And with experience, he may learn that going on the offensive can drive away the things that frighten him, leading him to lunge or snap at strangers.

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About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).