Puppy Socialization Checklist

Proper puppy socialization is an essential component to raising a happy and well-balanced dog. A puppy’s formative period has a direct correlation to their long-term well-being. For this reason, it’s imperative that you provide proper socialization to your puppy between 8 weeks – 16 weeks of age.  Use this Puppy Socialization Checklist to help you get started.

The operant word is “proper”. When socializing a puppy, it’s critical that all interactions be positive, not just neutral and certainly not bad. If puppies get early and frequent positive experiences between 8-16 weeks of age, with varying people, objects, noises, settings, etc. it will help develop their confidence, ability to handle stress, and overall knowledge of the world.

Below is a list of various elements of life worth considering for socialization. Use your discretion to determine with is safe and appropriate for your puppy. You can also note your dog’s response to each exposure: Ex. displays of aggression (growl, bark, lunge), Avoidance, Freezing, Calm/Relaxed, Able to Take Treats, etc.

In conjunction to this, use specific Dog Training Sound Effects to help positively condition your puppy to noises. Listen HERE.

Touch & Handling:

  • Checking Ears
  • Examining Teeth and Gums
  • Squeezing Paws
  • Trimming Toenails
  • Holding Puppy in Your Arms
  • Holding in Your Lap
  • Laying Puppy on its Back for a Bell Rub
  • Grabbing Collar
  • Giving a Bath
  • Drying With a Towel

Unfamiliar People:

  • Women
  • People of Varying Ethnicities
  • Men
  • Men with Variations (Wearing a Hat, Tall Men, Deep Voice, etc.)
  • People Wearing Sunglasses
  • People with Canes or Walkers
  • Teenagers
  • People Running
  • Children Playing Near By


  • Well-Behaved Dog
  • Well-Behaved Dog Who Will Appropriately Correct for Over-Stepping Boundaries
  • Other Puppies

Other Animals:

  • Cats
  • Farm Animals
  • Other Household Pets

Varying Surfaces:

  • Concrete
  • Hardwood Floors, Linoleum, Tile, Marble
  • Steel Surfaces (Manhole Covers or Vet Scales)
  • Elevated Surfaces
  • Uneven Surfaces
  • Stairs of Different Material (Wood, Concrete, Steel, etc.)
  • Wet Grass
  • Snow

Objects With Wheels:

  • Skateboards
  • Rollerblades
  • Garbage Cans
  • Shopping Carts
  • Baby Strollers
  • Wheel Chairs
  • Bikes
  • Cars
  • Busses/Large Trucks
  • Motorcycles

Man-Made Objects & Buildings:

  • Pots and Pans
  • Vacuums
  • Brooms
  • Balloons
  • Umbrellas
  • Plastic Bags Blowing
  • Inside Dog-Friendly Buildings
  • Suburban Neighborhoods
  • City Streets

As I said from the beginning, positive frequent socialization between 8-16 weeks of age is critical to raising a happy and healthy puppy. Exposing your dog to various sounds and noises is also critical.

In conjunction with the above, make sure you are housebreaking your puppy, crate training, developing a bond with your dog, and utilizing 5 Obedience Commands to Make Your Life Easier.

Puppy Socialization Checklist