Animal General of East Norwich

Puppy Socialization

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  • Socialization is the learning process through which puppies become accustomed to being near various people, animals, and environments.
  • Proper socialization can help eliminate behavior problems in the future and create a better bond between the pet and the family.
  • When introducing puppies to new people, pets, or environments, provide praise or treats so the puppy associates a positive experience with each new stimulus.
  • Do not introduce your puppy to other dogs until he or she has been properly vaccinated; consult your veterinarian to determine when your puppy is ready to be around other dogs.

What Is Puppy Socialization?

Socialization is the learning process through which a puppy becomes accustomed to being near various people, animals, and environments. By exposing puppies to different stimuli in a positive or neutral way, before they can develop a fear of these things, owners can reduce the likelihood of behavior problems in the future and help build a stronger bond between pets and the rest of the family. The critical time to socialize a puppy is during the first 3 to 4 months of its life.

Why Is Puppy Socialization Important?

Unfortunately, behavior problems remain the top reason that pets are relinquished to animal shelters. Proper socialization will help make puppies more tolerant of changes in their environment and help prevent common behavior problems in the future.

Why Should I Consider Puppy Kindergarten?

Attending a puppy training class led by a training specialist gives your puppy an opportunity for socialization with other puppies and with children and adults. Puppy kindergarten classes are offered by some veterinary clinics, dog training facilities, and pet supply stores.

Reputable training facilities will require that your puppy is vaccinated and dewormed before attending the course to ensure that puppies aren’t exposed to diseases or parasites when their immune system is still developing. Vaccinations should be given at least 10 to 14 days before the class. Check with the training facility about its specific requirements. Also, consult your veterinarian to determine when your puppy is ready for class.

How Else Can I Socialize My Puppy?

The goal of socialization is to expose your puppy to different people, animals, environments, and stimuli in a safe manner, without overwhelming your pet.

Start by familiarizing your puppy with your touch. Whenever possible, you should handle your puppy’s paws, ears, mouth, and body. Once your puppy is comfortable with being handled, it will be easier for you to trim nails, brush teeth, clean ears, and give medications.

Next, introduce your puppy to people of different ages, sexes, heights, and races. If your puppy tolerates it, allow other people to touch his or her paws, ears, mouth, and body. This will help your puppy be more comfortable with being handled by others at the veterinary clinic or grooming facility.

It’s also important for your puppy to learn to be comfortable around other animals. Puppy kindergarten is a safe place to expose your pet to other puppies because vaccination is usually required for all participants. In general, you should avoid taking your puppy to a dog park or other public area until he or she has been properly vaccinated. Exposing your puppy to an infectious disease, such as parvovirus, when his or her immune system is still developing can have devastating results.

Puppyhood is also a great time to familiarize your puppy with all the sights and sounds of his or her world, from riding in a car to being around a vacuum cleaner. Once your puppy has been properly vaccinated, you can take your puppy to places such as the park and the grooming or boarding facility to expose him or her to different sights, sounds, and smells. Each time you introduce your pet to a new stimulus, make sure to provide positive reinforcement in the form of praise, petting, or treats, so that your pet associates a positive experience with new people, pets, or environments.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

Animal General of East Norwich is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8AM-8PM. On Tuesday our hospital is open 8AM-6PM, and on Saturday 8AM-4PM. (We are closed on Sunday.) If your pet has a medical emergency during our hospital’s hours, please telephone us immediately at 516-624-7500. Our experienced team of veterinarians, technicians and assistants are here to help you and your pet.

Our address is:

Animal General of East Norwich
6320 Route 25A
East Norwich, NY 11732

Please click here for directions to our location.

If your pet is experiencing a medical crisis when our hospital is closed, you may take your pet to either of following veterinary emergency hospitals in our vicinity:


Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center of Westbury
609-5 Cantiague Rock Road
Westbury, NY 11590
Phone: 516-420-0000
Open 24/7/365