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A puppy in training walks (on leash) alongside a woman.

Puppy Pointers: Socializing a future guide dog

By Carl McIntosh, Puppy Raising Supervisor, CNIB Guide Dogs

Puppy raisers play a pivotal role in socializing the puppy to become a guide dog. Here are some crucial things to consider when deciding where and when to socialize a future guide dog. 

Are they vaccinated? 
From 6-16 weeks, the puppy will be vaccinated against various diseases. During this period, it's essential to keep them away from other non-vaccinated dogs.

Are they ready for the environment? 
Puppies typically go through two short fear periods at 8-12 weeks and between 6-14 months, where the pups are sensitive to bad experiences. 

What environments can I expose them to?

  • Between 8-16 weeks: Begin to socialize the puppy to everyday environments like the pharmacy, library, post office, car travel, the bank, your neighbourhood (hard surfaces like driveway and sidewalks), and familiar family/friends houses.
  • Between 16-24 weeks: Continue socializing the puppy to bus travel, train travel, parks, sporting events, hospitals, shopping malls, childcare centres, boat/ferry travel, churches, and schools. 
  • Around 24 weeks: Puppies can now be exposed to new environments such as movie theatres and shows/plays (not loud).
  • Never bring your puppy to zoos, wild animal parks, dog parks, off-leash dog areas, loud concerts, fireworks displays, amusement rides, intensive care units at hospitals, research facilities or escalators.

If you are unsure about an environment, contact your Puppy Raising Supervisor for more information. 

Please note: Given the current situation with COVID-19, please consult your Puppy Raising Supervisor before exposing your puppy to any of these environments.