Tips for Puppy Socialization Okemos

Though the first year of life is important in general, our Okemos dog trainers stress that the first 3 months are critical for puppy socialization and teaching them about their environment. During this period, your puppy will need to adjust to living within human society so they can be confident and well-behaved later in life.

Here are a few ways you can introduce your puppy to as many different people, places, objects, sounds, and environments as possible.

Start Puppy Socialization Early

From week 9 through week 16 of your puppy’s life, they will be more likely to accept new things they encounter during walks, playtime, and cuddle time. Once your dog gets older, they’ll become naturally suspicious of anything new.

While this caution is great for keeping your dog out of trouble, it can also make it more difficult for them to adjust to new environments or people. Puppy socializationearly onhelps your dog become less fearful or aggressive.

Reinforce Positive Experiences

Give your puppy a treat when they encounter something new so they can form as many good impressions as possible. For example, if you want your dog to feel comfortable around children, have a child feed them a treat or piece of kibble.

That way, your puppy will associate children with something good and be on best behavior when they meet children later in life. It’s not enough to simply expose your dog to new experiences. You must also make sure their new experiences are positive.

Enroll in our Puppy Program

We recommend enrolling in our Puppy Program so you can reinforce puppy socialization as soon as possible. During our puppy training classes, your puppy will encounter new people, dogs, smells, situations, and environments so they can grow up well-adjusted.

We also show you how to strengthen your bond with your puppy by getting them to recognize their name, obey simple commands, and get along well with others.

  • Requirements

The Puppy Program is for puppies between 12 weeks to 8 months old. To enroll, your puppy must have their first three sets of puppy shots and the Bordetella vaccination. Be sure to let your veterinarian know that your puppy will be exposed to lots of other dogs so they can receive appropriate vaccinations.

  • Schedule

Puppy training classes run Monday through Friday starting at 8:00 a.m. Although puppy classes don’t start until mid-morning, you can drop off your puppy as soon as we open at 7:00 a.m. Our latest pickup time is 6:30 p.m.

Socialization Scavenger Hunt

To help your puppy become socialized, our dog trainers have come up with a handy scavenger hunt. Simply cross off as many items as possible before your puppy reaches 16 weeks of age for a well-rounded dog in the future.

Keep track of what your puppy has already had good experiences with so you can reduce the chance of them developing fears and aggression later on in life.


  • Babies
  • Children
  • Teenagers
  • Women
  • Men (with and without beards)
  • Elderly people
  • People of many ethnicities
  • Joggers
  • Bicyclists
  • Skateboarders
  • Wearing hats
  • Wearing coats
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Holding umbrellas
  • Holding balloons
  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers
  • Strollers


  • Riding in car
  • Put on leash with collar or harness
  • Grab collar
  • Crate training
  • Examine ears
  • Examine nose
  • Examine eyes
  • Touch each paw
  • Touch each toe
  • Gently pinch between toes
  • Nail clipping
  • Baths
  • Dry paws and body with towel
  • Open mouth
  • Examine teeth and gums
  • Lift tail
  • Hold tail
  • Gently squeeze tummy
  • Gently hug
  • Cradle like a baby


  • Big dogs (Hint: doggy day care)
  • Small dogs (Hint: puppy training classes)
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Rodents
  • Fish
  • Reptiles
  • Horses
  • Livestock
  • Any other animals you may come across


  • >Doggy day care
  • Busy city street
  • Quiet suburban street
  • Parking lots
  • Inside buildings
  • Elevators
  • Beach
  • Woods
  • Retail stores that allow pets
  • Veterinarian's office


  • Paved surfaces
  • Metal grates
  • Grass (dry and wet)
  • Frost
  • Ice and snow
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Shiny floors
  • Slippery floors
  • Stairs
  • Shallow water
  • Deep Water


  • Vacuum
  • Hair dryer
  • Kitchen timers
  • Doorbells & buzzers
  • Knocking on doors
  • Phone ringing
  • Babies crying
  • Construction
  • Fireworks
  • Thunder
  • Sirens
  • Car horn

Call to Ask About Our Puppy Training Classes

Our dog trainers in Okemos, MI, encourage you to expose your puppy to a variety of environments, sounds, and people early on in their life. Doing so will prevent any surprises as your puppy ages thanks to their prior experiences. To enroll in our puppy training classes and make a reservation, call Dog Gone Fun at (517) 657-4300.

This blog post has been updated.

Related Blog Posts: