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Socializing a New Puppy


Exposure Checklist for Socialization

Use this checklist to help keep track of what your puppy has been exposed to. Place a check mark in the box corresponding to the item your puppy was exposed to and at what age.

Age in weeks

Exposure to:










Babies, toddlers, children


Teenagers, adults, elderly people


People with wheelchairs, crutches


In-line skaters, cyclists, skateboarders


Drunk people, people with odd gaits


People in uniform, veterinarians


Repair people, delivery people


People with umbrellas, helmets, masks


People with hats, beards, glasses


People with parcels, capes, sacks


People with strollers, wagons


People of various ethnicities


Kids at school grounds


Crowds, clapping, cheering


People yelling, loud speakers


People dancing, singing


Livestock, waterfowl


Other puppies, friendly adult dogs


Other pets


Traffic, busses, trains, motorcycles


Boats, jet skis, snow mobiles


Manhole covers, grates


Shiny floors, tiles, icy streets


Gravel, cement, mud


Revolving signs, swinging bridges


Walks after dark, in bad weather


Hot air balloons & airplanes


Lawn mowers


Elevators, automatic doors


Balconies, stairs


Drive-thru’s, car washes, tunnels


Electrical appliances, washers


Vacuum cleaners, hair dryers


Construction and machinery noises


Wind, rain, thunder, snow


Fireworks, sporting events, fairs


Veterinary hospitals and clinics



Final Remarks

Socialization is essential for helping your puppy develop into a happy, fun and safe companion. Most people find it easier and more enjoyable to live with a dog who’s relaxed with strangers, gets along well with dogs and adapts easily to new experiences. While some dogs are born with genetic predispositions that can make this difficult or impossible, most dogs are very impressionable when young and can learn to take everything in stride. Socializing your puppy gives him the greatest chance possible to develop into a dog who’s comfortable in his environment and a joy to be with.



WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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