It's A Dog's World.   Dog Training & Agility Center.   16024 60th St E  Sumner, WA 98390   253.863.8387

It's A Dog's World Training

Social Needs


Dogs need opportunities for adequate social exposure, mental challenges, exercise and interactive play.  Providing opportunities for these activities will help prevent attention-seeking behaviors and problems related to boredom and frustration (e.g., destruction, excessive barking and hyperactivity).  Puppy Preschool is an excellent way to prevent behavior problems.


Socialization is NOT interaction, Socialization IS exposure

Puppies go through a critical developmental stage between the ages of 3 to 13 weeks, during which they become socialized with people, animals and their environment. Their experiences during this period are crucial to their healthy behavioral development. Animals who have been isolated during their socialization period are likely to be shy or skittish, reacting to new experiences (e.g., car rides, strangers, veterinary exams, groomers, bicycles) with exaggerated fear or even aggression.  Remember, your attitude and reactions affect your dog. Before introducing your pup to a new experience, imagine the difficulties he might encounter and plan in advance how you should react.

In general:

  • Remain calm and patient; act like the situation is no big deal
  • Speak in a happy voice
  • Touch the objects around him/her
  • Pair all new people/places/things with something good! Such as food


  • Startling him
  • Forcing him (or bribing him!) to go somewhere or touch something he is avoiding
  • Speaking to him in a harsh tone
  • Losing patience or showing nervousness
  • Allowing interactions with unknown dogs (especially on leash) 

Here are some more tips to help you properly socialize your puppy:

1. Attending a professionally supervised puppy class is the most valuable thing you can do to help your puppy grow up to be a happy, obedient, well-adjusted dog. Please visit It’s a Dog’s World, across from SVH, with your puppy to enroll in an upcoming Puppy Preschool class.

  • Puppy Preschool addresses development of the 8 – 16 week old pup.

2. Pups should experience frequent pleasant trips in a car. Secure your pup in a crate or with a doggie safety belt. Pets that are loose in the car can:

  • Cause accidents by being a distraction.
  • Be injured in an accident, especially by airbags or after running away.
  • Get hurt by sliding around the car.

3.  Socialize your dog with as many different types of people as possible. Consider gender, age, ethnic background, physical features such as beards, unusual gait or mannerism. They don’t need to interact just being around people getting treats and fun from you is perfect. 

4. Puppies should also receive early  positive exposure to a variety of objects that are frequently seen in the world, such as roller skates, skate boards, umbrellas, wheelchairs etc.

  • Invite family and friends to your home. Encourage positive interaction between your guests and your dog (e.g., treats,  playing with toys).
  • Visit lots of different types locations and train your puppy (parks, wooded area, parking lots, stores that allow dogs, friends houses, the beach) 
  • Start with empty parks, etc then work up to busier areas, watch for signs of stress in your puppy.  
  • Introduce them to well socialized  friend’s or familly’s dogs.
  • If your puppy is shy or overly interested in other people you CAN tell people no to petting your dog or puppy


Our grooming department at SVH has a special “first-time puppy visit” that includes food treats and playtime. We want to do everything possible to make your puppy’s initial experience a positive one! We recommend introducing baths and grooming to your puppy before he is 3 months old. Grooming can be a scary experience for a dog if his first exposure is delayed until he’s older than 6 months.

Avoid scaring your puppy, forcing him to approach feared objects or allowing people to tease him. Traumatic, anxiety-producing incidents may produce a long-lasting phobia in similar situations throughout your pet’s life.

Continue socializing your dog throughout life. Repeated positive exposure to people, animals and places will help prevent the development of fears acquired through isolation. Some signals that a you may need to seek professional help include:

  • Wariness near unfamiliar people or novel objects
  • Avoidance of physical contact 
  • Over-protectiveness of a person, toy, or food
  • Excessive barking or interest in other animals
  • Territorial aggression (barking at people outside the fence)

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, please consult with a trainer or behaviorist! 


Dog Training
Sumner, Washington

Located in Sumner, Washington, It's a Dog's World is part of Sumner Veterinary Hospital's three-acre dynamic complex. This 18,000 square foot training center teaches dog owners the most current, science-based dog training techniques and offers classes that include Pet Dog Classes, Obedience Classes, K9 Nose Work® Classes, Agility Classes, and Fun & Fit Classes.

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