Now that you have your new little fluff ball, what should you do with it? Besides providing them with abundant love, exercise, food and water, the most important thing your puppy needs is socialization.
The ideal socialization period is between 8 and 16 weeks. Once the puppy has had its second set of immunizations, it is generally safe to get them out in public. It needs positive experiences with as many people as possible. Let family members, friends, and strangers greet your puppy and offer small treats.
Your puppy also needs to continue socializing with other dogs; so it can build on the doggie skills it learned while part of its birth pack. Enrolling in a well-run puppy kindergarten class with a qualified trainer is the best way to ensure your puppy acquires doggie socialization in a safe and supervised environment. Not only will your puppy have a chance to play with other puppies; but will start to learn some basic obedience commands as well.
Time spent training and socializing your puppy is the best investment you can make in its future.
When we first moved to Encinitas, to start Alcala Pet Care in 1975, the main reason was to have a place for our Bichon Frises and Poodles. As active exhibitors of Bichons and Miniature Poodles, it was very important to socialize the puppies. It was and still is important to “get your puppy out!”
Often we would just take them to any grass area with lots of people. Because they were white fluffy dogs, people would come over to admire and pet them.
Socializing your puppies today
More people, cars, dogs and laws have added a new dimension. With the coming of coffee houses and outside seating it is easier to find places to go and bring your dog. Still there are guidelines and common sense involved.
- Be prepared to clean up after your puppy. Small plastic grocery bags and paper towels are a good way to start.
- Stay away from aggressive dogs and those that are too big for your puppy. This must be a good experience for both of you. Start out slow and work up to more complex situations.
- Wait until your puppy is at least 3 months old before visiting dog parks. Your puppy’s immune system needs to develop and an early introduction to a wide variety of dogs will encourages the spread of bordatella and other common ailments.
Areas to socialize your puppy in Encinitas
The first two places that come to mind are Critter’s Corner where the Bichon Bash was held. It is located off Requeza at 389 Requeza St. (From Alcala Pet Care, take El Camino Real to Encinitas Blvd. Left on Westpark. Head towards the freeway and immediately before you would go over the freeway go left at the signs.) Critter’s Corner is immediately behind the Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
The second place is a park I have heard about but not gone to on Encinitas Blvd. west of the freeway and towards Vulcan Street and Pac. Coast Highway. I have forgotten the name but believe it is on the right hand side as you head west. Maybe someone can help us out here with more places, a good project for an adventurous pair.