Ideally puppies are socialized to a ton of different people by 16 weeks of age. This will reduce the probability of fear based issues with people later in life. Daily field trips will give them the variety of exposure necessary during this critical period of life. After 16 weeks of age, dogs need continued weekly socialization that extends through their 3rd year in life.
Socialization is the process of exposing your dog to stimuli in a controlled manner while ensuring it has a positive experience. If your door puppy wants to move away from something it is not sure about, you let it! If your dog does not want to approach something, you let it experience it stimuli at a distance. You can use treats, praise, petting and play to make the experience fun and positive. Here is a list of people a dog should experience to minimize the risk of having fear based issues with people.
Age Sex Appearance Using
Infants Male In uniforms (police, fire, mail) A cane
Toddlers Female Veterinarian Walker
Children Ethnicity Tall Wheel chair
Teenagers Light skinned Short A jogging path
Adults Medium skinned Facial hair A bike, skate board, etc.
Seniors Dark skinned Glasses, hats, costumes Grocery Cart
Elderly Costumed Outdoor equipment
Locations to find all these people
Wags Dog Emporium
The Healthy Pet
Down town mall
Your vet office
Hardware stores (Home Depot, Jerry’s, Lowes)
kids Sports games
Dog training class
Hotel, Camp Ground
While visiting people in these different locations, you will simultaneously be exposing your dog to a lot of different environments, noises, smells and sights. Remember, variety and a positive experience will reduce the probability of having issues later in life. Make your dog’s social experience fun, varied and controlled.