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For those of you adding new four legged members to the family this winter, remember how important socialization is at a young age! Introduce your puppy (or dog if adopted at an older age) to as many new friends as possible! Set goals for meeting as many new people, FRIENDLY dogs and other creatures as possible! Invite people and their pets over or visit the park or other controlled environments for positive experiences with your dog. Socialization does not mean throwing your dog into situations that are overwhelming or scary. Be weary of dog parks packed with dogs and avoid other pets that do not want to meet or be bothered by your dog. Seek out positive interactions only and leave or separate at the first signs of any negativity or fear (growling, sideways looks from any dog showing white in the eyes, tails straight up or curled under, incessant licking or showing teeth, etc.). Most importantly, always keep your demeanor stress free and positive because your dog is reading your body language better than you yourself are even aware of it!puppy socialization

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