3 Month Old Puppy Life | Part 5 of 6 [Socialization & Training]

woman playing with her thre black puppies

Say it with me now… “Socialization is the most important part of your 3 month old puppy’s life” 

Your puppies prime socialization window will start to close between 12-16 weeks. This is when they are most open to absorbing outside stimulation and learning what to expect in their day to day. They may get valuable exposer younger with the breeder via their littermates, visitors, and enrichment toys. Though once they come home it’s your job to prepare them for your lifestyle. As you may be aware this can be a pickle because most puppies aren’t fully vaccinated until 16 weeks of age. Which unfortunately, is when puppies really start to morph into who they are going to be based on things they’ve learned during their most important social period. So how do you safely socialize a not fully vaccinated puppy?

Take every precaution. First, throw away the idea that socializing has anything to do with being social. Your puppy does not need to meet ANY new dogs you don’t know or say hi to strangers. They do need to SEE other dogs and strangers from a safe distance and realize seeing them doesn’t cause them harm. You CAN schedule play dates with friendly vaccinated dogs you know and trust as well as let friends and family meet your puppy.

Socialization (we will call this exposer from now on) can happen by taking your puppy for a ride, sitting in your trunk hatch feeding your dog and letting them watch the goings on of the park, putting on YouTube noises of things they might hear later in life, tv time, the list goes on. Exposer doesn’t require your puppy to interact, they just need to see or hear and learn to be neutral. I used a dog bed with a large blanket as a barrier for the buggy for in store exposer as well.

By doing this now, your puppy will be much more confident in taking on NEW experiences as you continue to expose them during their first year of life. Without doing this, you run the risk of fear aggression and anxiety to new things later in life.

(This very much includes getting your puppy used to being FULLY handled for vet and grooming!!!!)


Training for 3 month old puppies is fun and simple. Have absolutely zero expectations and you’ll do great 

I love using free shaping with puppies at this age which basically looks like me following my puppy around with a bag of food and rewarding everything he does that I like 

“Good sit. Good down. Good heel! Good come. Good fetch!”  I also wanted to teach solid boundaries so I also used a stern “off” for things I didn’t like. (Chewing, digging, jumping, etc)
Zion knows 3 important words.
Good- keep doing that! Good job
Yes- right on the marker, here’s a treat for that.
Off – stop that right away

I think when it comes to puppy training most people are looking for the magic correction that stops all the crazy puppy behavior but remember this is all normal. While we can’t fully correct them at this age we can always follow through with our words and actions. So if my puppy is trying to eat a stick, WHILE I’m saying off I’m taking the stick out of his mouth. If he drops the stick before I get to him I say “good off!” If you are working on things like obedience, work at the puppies pace. This may be just a couple rounds and done or it may be 30/40 minutes if the puppy is having fun! Don’t over do it this month. 

One on one puppy classes are available to book with me as well at this age  Sevierville Dog Trainers, Off Leash K9 Training or knoxvilledogtrainers.com (865-383-3647) if you need help teaching the basics or need to talk puppy in person! 

As always, you’re doing amazing! Now go take that puppy through a drive through car wash 

Trainer Morgan

[email protected]


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