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Puppy and People Social: How Much Time is Needed?

March 20, 2023

Puppy and People Social: How Much Time is Needed?


We all know how important it is to incorporate social time into our day (and no, that doesn't mean social media!), but did you know that your dog also needs plenty of social activities? As a general guideline, dogs should get about one to two hours of dedicated social time with humans or other dogs daily, which can be spread out throughout the day.  However, sometimes your companion should get more or less, depending on their age. We’re here to help you figure out just how much time you should spend socializing your pup, as well as ways to make it fun for both of you! 


Puppies (ages one year and less) 

Puppies need at least three hours of socialization a day outside of training.  This can sound very overwhelming as an owner but think about it this way - puppies are yet to experience the world until they are in it. Making sure your furry friend can experience new situations will help socialize them at a faster rate. Some of the best ways to do this include letting them feel new materials (i.e., felt, grass, and household floors) and meeting new people to acquire new skills on how to interact with those of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. There are plenty of other necessary social skills you should ensure your young pup is able to develop.

While socializing your puppy to new situations, make sure to have a good attitude and a strong outlook. Socialization is tough, and sometimes it can be hard for a puppy to immediately feel comfortable, especially when they are introduced to new environments and people. It's okay to take small steps some days and big ones the next! Reinforcing a good attitude with treats or play time can help you both stay in a positive mood while training. 

If you're introducing your puppy to new people, try to always make it fun! Games, playtime, or even a paw-tastic party could make this easier on the pup and super fun for us humans. Everyone loves a good reason to celebrate! 

Lastly, don't forget to make sure your puppy is okay with being around strangers in public! There are amazing classes at pet stores or even through local shelters that help your puppy play but also gain that necessary social time (just make sure they have had their first round of vaccinations). 


Boris & Hortona at the cafe


Young Dogs (ages two to five years old) 

Young dogs need about two hours a day of socialization. You might think that is a lot of time, but here are some easy ways that you can fill those hours each day!  

By introducing your dog to new places, they’re able to acquaint themselves with new situations. The introduction to new people and dogs helps them learn how to interact with each other and become comfortable.  

Don’t always walk the same route! Changing up your walking routine can help your dog adapt to new environments and other dogs while also being able to exercise and have fun.

As a famous dog trainer, Cesar Millan would say, “Don’t punish a natural instinct!” Letting your dogs tap into fear and understand why they feel the way they do helps you understand what steps to take when socializing your dog to new situations.


Older Dogs

Older dogs also need about two hours of socialization a day, and sometimes if tired, only about one hour.  Even though they may be much more inclined to just cuddle up and take a nap all day, it’s important to make sure these friends are getting their social time, too! 


Logan, co-owner of the cafe, outside with a dog


Your older dog will need more walks when socializing than a younger dog. Still, making sure to introduce your dog to new situations is imperative to keeping your dog socialized in old age. Older dogs might act with fear or aggression if they are not given the right amount of socialization. 

It’s also important that your older pup has interactions with people! Treats can be used to entice and earn a dog's trust when meeting new people, especially in their home. 

Older dogs will have trouble socializing with younger digs straight out of the gate. Make sure to work on socializing with younger dogs one on one before moving to a dog park or playdate. Always bring treats and a toy your dog is comfortable with so they have a sense of familiarity. 

Lastly, make sure to always stay positive and in a good mood. If it becomes overwhelming for you or the dog, take a step back and take a break! 

Now that you know how to socialize your dog for any age group, consider checking out Boris and Horton, NYC’s favorite dog-friendly café! We host fun activities every week to socialize your dog in the heart of NYC. From drag bingo to doggy paint nights, let us help you!  Click here to learn more. 

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