Your passport to a lifetime of good behavior
Hooray! With a Puppy Passport in hand, you’re on the path to the dog of your dreams.
How To Use your Operation Socialization Puppy Passport
Read through your Puppy Passport booklet
Before you and your puppy set out on your first socialization adventures together, take a few moments to read through your Puppy Passport.
You’ll learn all about socialization and what it can do for you and your puppy, how to do it like a pro so that your puppy gains maximum behavioral benefit, how to tell if it’s working, and what to do if you run into any trouble.
Get your puppy out and about, and track her progress
Using the Scoring pages in your Puppy Passport as a guide (pages 20-26), gift your puppy daily socialization opportunities to get to know and feel comfortable with the world around her. (Be sure to re-read page 3 before you set out!)
Rate your puppy’s socialization experiences using the simple socialization scoring guides and body language illustrations in your Puppy Passport.
Pay careful attention to any early warning signs of trouble, and hire a professional puppy trainer right away if you aren’t already working with one.
Follow your professional puppy trainer’s guidance
Share your Puppy Passport scores and notes with your puppy trainer, and especially let her know right away if you’re seeing any “Hates It” responses from your puppy.
Your puppy trainer may also give you specific socialization homework, like suggested locations to visit in your community.
When to begin your puppy’s socialization
In a word: NOW!
In truth your puppy is never too young to be socialized. In fact, the danger lies in waiting too long.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior is considered the last word on puppy socialization timing. Read their explanation of the importance of puppy socialization, the dangers of missing out on this critical step of your dog’s life, and when you should begin in their official position statement:
How to choose a professional puppy trainer
If you’ve been gifted your Operation Socialization Puppy Passport by a puppy trainer, we’re guessing you’re already in good hands!
If you came by your Puppy Passport on your own, here are three things to look for in a professional puppy trainer:
Pick a puppy trainer who:
Uses only modern, force-free training methods
Emphasizes socialization along with basic manners training and problem solving
Holds well-respected professional credentials
Private puppy training or puppy training classes?
Whether you choose private puppy training or puppy training classes is a matter of preference. There are advantages to both! Same goes for in-person versus online services. We recommend simply choosing what works best for your lifestyle.
Whatever service you choose, what’s important is that your puppy trainer be a qualified, educated professional dedicated to a force-free approach to your puppy’s training and socialization.
Puppy Training: Only the beginning
You wouldn’t pull your child from school after kindergarten.
Don’t let your puppy’s behavioral education end there, either.
You probably have big dreams for the dog your puppy will become.
Maybe there are places you look forward to going together, or activities you want to share with your best friend. You might dream about the perfect family dog for the kids or home companion for yourself. Maybe you look forward to having the dog who friends and family and neighbors all admire.
That all takes training. And training doesn’t stop after puppyhood. Like a child’s education, think of training your dog as a life-long endeavor. In a few months your puppy will become a teenager, bringing new training challenges. And the more you expect of your eventual adult dog, the more he or she deserves to be set up for success to meet those expectations.
While socialization is critical during puppyhood, your dog’s learning continues through their lifetime. Think of training not as a one-and-done task but as an ongoing commitment and bonding exercise, as an investment in the best best friend possible.
Congratulations on your puppy! And on getting off on the right paw with your Operation Socialization Puppy Passport!