Socializing is CRITICAL
Socializing is a CRITICAL aspect of raising a puppy to be a GREAT DOG! Here are some tips to make it easy:
Before you even think it, do NOT go to Petsmart, PetCo, or a dog park. You do not want your puppy walking on a surface frequented by lots of dogs you don't know anything about; where they've been; what they've been exposed to and are carrying on their paws.
Every chance you get! At least twice a week
Take him/her when hungry
Take a friend to help
Take a treat they love
Go to busy places like Walmart where there will be people of all ages and sizes, but not a lot of dogs. Starbucks is a great place as well. Sit outside by the door, and let your puppy be the "Starbucks Greeter!" They will also meet a few other dogs. I did this when I lived in the city, and brought a lot of business into Starbucks! (Having a whole litter helps attract people.)
Have your friend walk ahead of you with treats giving them to people/children and asking them to give the puppy a treat when the puppy approaches them. Ask tall people to stoop or bend down (get small) to give the treat. The puppy will learn that strangers are fabulous! They all have treats! Nothing to fear.
ALSO CRITICAL: If a noise or object (wheel chair, grocery cart, etc.) frightens your baby, STOP before you reach to scoop him/her up to protect. When you do this, you are rewarding cowardice and developing a shy dog. Just as you would tell a child, "It's OK. You'll be fine." Do the same with your puppy. It will teach them to face their fears and overcome them. They will remember the fear feeling and that they overcame it and will repeat this each time they feel that fear of something new. Drop pie pans, throw soft things at them (softly), run the vacuum without moving it and let them sniff it and realize it won't hurt them; turn on your hair dryer and do the same. This will get them ready to visit a groomer......
When weather permits, borrow a child's wading pool and put them in it for a few seconds. Repeat for longer periods. Put some fun toys in it. Put a concrete block in the middle that they can get on and jump off. Take walks by streams. In case your baby steps in wild animal urine, you might want to wipe their paws before heading home, so they don't try to lick it off on the trip home. This urine can cause Lepto, and the current vaccine is extremely difficult and only protects agains 4 of the 200 strains of the disease......
Expose your puppy to everything in life as young as possible.
I am not a fan of dog parks because many forms of danger lurk there, including urine from wild animals, which can carry Lepto. If you must go to a dog park, PLEASE train your puppy to eat on command only. You can use a word that no one will guess, so a perpetrator won't say "OK" to the dog to get it to eat something deadly. That way, no one can give them anything to eat that you have not provided, and they won't pick up something left on the ground by someone. I have read articles about people leaving cubes of cheese with glass, nails, or poison in them on the ground at dog parks. Do not let your dog off leash in a dog park. Use a "flexible" leash that extends and locks, so you have total control. One of my babies from my very first litter was almost killed when attacked by a dog at a dog park. The event was traumatic for all, very painful for the dog, and very expensive for his owner. He did live......