This evening on the way to the dog park we met a couple of puppies out being socialized along the way. The proud couple were out letting their new puppy get a little exercise, sniff the world and socialize with other dogs and people. It was great to hear they were taking time every day to socialize their dog. If you have a new puppy or are considering one, regular socialization paves the way to a well balanced dog later.
Spring is a good time to get a puppy, considering the amount of time you will be spending outside between bathroom breaks and letting your puppy explore their new world. You socialize puppies by introducing them to other people, dogs and odd situations in a controlled manner to help them become comfortable with whatever comes their way later. The more time you can put while they are young (the first two years) will pay off in dividends as your dog matures. Those incredibly well behaved dogs you have met in the past did not happen by accident. They were well trained.
Socializing a puppy is a rather easy task. Take them for a walk in the park, let strangers pet, pick up and play with your young pup. When your puppy has their vaccinations let them play with “nice dogs”. Try not to be over protective and let them learn for themselves. If you feel like you are over your head, find a local puppy class. In Boston there are a number of places you and your dog can learn more about how to be a well balanced dog later.
I also highly recommend getting a couple of good books on training your dog. Nobody can train your dog as well as you can. Even when you are taking classes, it is you who is being trained to train your dog.