There's a lot an owner can do to help their puppy grow up to be happy, calm, and confident. Socialization may be the most important.

Socializing your puppy means helping it grow accustomed to encountering new stuff: sights, sounds, surfaces, humans, other dogs, children, riding in the car, what have you.

Fun, gentle, positive interactions with these things help your puppy make a positive association with them, and over time they learn that it's something they don't need to fear.

There's a period of time from 5 weeks until about 4 months old when a puppy's experiences permanently shape its personality.

While there's much you can do to socialize your puppy after that, this window is the most crucial period in its life for this.

To socialize your puppy, take small steps towards introducing it to all kinds of new stuff. Brainstorm all the different types of people, locations, feelings (under-foot), sounds, etc.

When you introduce these, make sure you're giving treats and plenty of praise. And enjoy it yourself. Your pup will know when you're stressed. Plus, they only go through this window once. Have fun.

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