The Socializing Game

Everyone in the family that is responsible and old enough (over 16) to take the puppy out on their own should get involved in this game. Include younger children with the supervision of an adult. Some families can divide themselves into teams to play this game. Kids love it! If you are single or a couple, think about involving some of your friends. The goal of the game is to expose your puppy to as many different people, places, sensations, sounds, and experiences as possible — in a successful manner. It is a great challenge among family members. Use the ideas that we offer and make up some of your own.

How the Socializing Game Works

The person responsible for initiating the game must ensure that there is a suitable reward for the person or team that wins: ice-cream cones all around, dinner out, something good.

Pick a section in the Social Schedule. For our example, we will use all of the sections that involve people.

The object of the game is to introduce the puppy to as many of the different kinds of folks on the list as each player can in the span of a week.

This means that the puppy actually has to meet and greet and get a treat from each different kind of person.

Each family member keeps a log of all of the people they meet. At the end of the week, the person who has introduced the puppy to the widest variety of people (i.e. different ethnic groups, a person on crutches, someone in costume, a person on roller blades, etc.) wins the game.

Another Variation

Decide on a time span, for our example we will use one week. Over the course of the week, each member of the family is on the hunt for the strangest things possible to introduce or expose the puppy to. A ride in a hot air balloon, flying saucers, a ferryboat, the sky is the limit.

After the allotted time, get together and unveil the weirdest things that your were able to hunt down and introduce your puppy to. You may have to vote to decide who wins.

The Benefits
  • There are countless benefits of a well socialized dog and the life he will lead compared to that of the dog who misses this chance. In some cases it could mean the difference between the life and death of a dog. Dogs that cannot cope with new and different experiences can end up biting. Dogs that bite lead miserable lives, if they are allowed to live at all.
  • In socializing your puppy, you give him an opportunity to cope with all that modern life has to offer. The more he is exposed to, the better he can cope.
  • By exposing your puppy to the world in a positive way, you are building your dog’s confidence to deal with life as it comes.
  • Dogs that live in isolation do not respond well to new experiences. Can you guarantee that your dog will never meet a clown, a cyclist, a small unruly child? The list goes on and on. It is unrealistic to assume that your dog will not encounter some odd sights during his life. Odd from the dog’s perspective, not yours.
  • Listen up all you single people! Socializing your puppy is a great way to meet and make new friends! Everyone loves a puppy.
  • The friendly challenge of playing this game is a great way to ensure that the puppy gets the best possible early social education.
  • It encourages all members responsible and old enough (over 16) to get involved in the puppy’s education.
The Rules
  • Always remember to have yummy treats with you when you are out and about with your puppy. This could help to turn a potentially stressful encounter into something pleasant for pup.
  • Don’t lose sight of the objective. Be very sure not to overwhelm your puppy in an attempt to win this game. If the pup is stressed over a situation or person, back off and jolly him up. You can try from a distance further away or try on another day.
  • Do not avoid things that the pup is timid or uncertain about. It is very important that you take the time to build up his confidence in the situation or around things or people. Neglecting to do so may lead to very serious problems. Besides, your opponents will find you out if you insist that the pup sat nicely while a skateboarder went by, if they could not get the pup to do same.
  • Although you can not over socialize your puppy, you can do too much in one day, like walk too far for a young puppy, or overwhelm him with too many new stimuli. Be reasonable during your outings. Take into consideration the weather, hot or cold. Take into consideration noise pollution.
  • If you are going to be out for a while in warm or hot weather take some water and a portable bowl, avoid letting the puppy drink from communal water bowls that many businesses provide. Although it is a nice gesture, it is a potential health hazard.
  • Have fun!