Puppy socialization: getting used to new people

Puppy socialization: getting used to new people

Every puppy should meet as many new people as possible during the early months of its life. Your puppy should meet a variety of people – different ages, sex and appearance – in a wide range of situations.


  • Asking each new person who meets the puppy to give him/her a small biscuit treat can be helpful. The puppy will then look forward to meeting people and will learn to associate new friends and an outstretched hand with something positive, thereby discouraging hand-shyness.
  • Once the puppy has learned to sit on command, each new person can be asked to tell the puppy to sit before giving him/her the biscuit. This teaches a proper greeting. It should also make the puppy less likely to jump up at people.


  • Puppies need plenty of opportunities to learn about children. They are so different to adults in how they act and talk, that dogs may perceive them as a completely different species.
  • Puppies that grow up without meeting children may never feel comfortable around children as adult dogs.

Avoid anxiety

  • It is very important to avoid any interactions with people that might make the puppy anxious.
  • Harsh physical punishment of a young dog will damage its bond with you and weaken its trust in people. It could then grow up to fear the human hand and may bite if afraid.
  • NEVER swat your puppy.
  • NEVER shake your puppy by the scruff.
  • NEVER force your puppy roughly on to his/her back.
  • NEVER thump your puppy on the nose.
  • NEVER rub your puppy’s face in a mess.

The information supplied on this page was kindly provided by the BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association).

Please Note

These factsheets are provided as guidelines only. If you are at all concerned about the wellbeing of your pet then please call Hope Veterinary Surgery immediately by using our phone number 01782 657788.

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