Socializing is a critically important step in the dog-raising process. While the process itself is pretty easy, it tends to be one of the most difficult things for people to do for their dogs. Making the effort now will ensure that you won’t have an aggressive dog in the future. Your dog may be aggressive towards people, visitors, children, or other dogs if you do not socialize your dog.
Part One: People
Take your puppy everywhere you can. Take him to a local park and invite children and adults to play with him (chances are, you won’t have to ask—people LOVE puppies and will probably be asking you if they can play with him). This is also helpful in your jumping-up training, if you ask people to not touch your puppy until he is sitting or lying down. Have him meet everyone you can: young children, babies (gently and supervised, of course), older children, teens, adults, the elderly, etc. Keep these interactions as positive as possible and have everyone give your puppy treats and affection. If someone is treating your puppy aggressively or negatively, gently remove your puppy from the situation immediately. The key here is gently. You don’t need to grab your puppy roughly or harshly, just scoop him up and walk away.
Part Two: Dogs
Dog interactions are tricky because dog introductions require structure, and not all dog owners are prepared for that. Try to gauge the dogs you know. Which ones are friendly and non-aggressive? Which ones are well-behaved? Which dogs will give your puppy positive experiences? Find these dogs and invite them over, so your dog gets used to having other dogs in his space. Go over to non-aggressive dogs’ houses.
Part Three: Visitors
You need to invite people over so your dog gets used to having visitors on his home turf. The more people come over, the more your dog will be okay with outsiders in his normal space. Some dogs aren’t aggressive at all unless someone is in “their” space.