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A dog that is well behaved, friendly to other dogs and friendly (but not overwhelming) to other people is the ideal canine companion. Raising a Teacup Yorkie Puppy to that level can be a big task, though.

Socialization is the term used for exposing your Teacup Yorkie Puppy to the society and world it will live in. Hopefully, you carefully chose a Teacup Yorkie Puppy from a reputable breeder, or a shelter that screens puppies for behavior. Having good temperament genetically programmed into your Teacup Yorkie Puppy gives you a head start on a social dog, but you still have work to do. As Kathy Kraft, a veterinary technician at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown, New York, says, The potential for confidence is primarily genetic, but the realization of this potential is developed by properly exposing the Teacup Yorkie Puppy to new situations. 

The Right Start
Top breeders start the work of socialization almost as soon as their puppies are born. From 1 to 9 weeks of age, puppies are handled and exposed to toys, different surfaces to walk on and new areas to explore.

Janina Laurin, a Belgian Tervuren breeder in Danbury, Connecticut, agrees that socializing starts right at birth as the puppies are gently handled. Daily weighing, handling and stroking by calm people start puppies off on the right paw. Toys, cardboard boxes and play tunnels may all be used as Teacup Yorkie Puppy play items. Puppies need exposure to noises, too, such as the regular household sounds of a dishwasher, vacuum and ringing phone.

This heavy-duty time commitment to providing plenty of exposure should be given to all puppies. Its immaterial whether the puppies are marked for the show ring, performance ring or someones pet-they're all companions first and foremost, Laurin says. She strongly believes that not making a major effort to get the Teacup Yorkie Puppy started off right could mean future problems, such as a dog that won't bond to people or a dog that is severely over or under confident.

Your Job, Too
Assuming your Teacup Yorkie Puppy got a super-duper start, is the socialization work done? Not at all! Now its your turn to provide your budding star with lots of safe and widespread experiences. Animal Behavior Consultant, Eric Louis of Cazenovia, New York, believes puppies need three categories of experiences, socialization with people, socialization with dogs and socialization in different environments. All three categories must be covered to truly have a well-rounded dog.


As soon as you bring your new Teacup Yorkie Puppy home, start introducing it to the following:

People: different ages; races; wearing hats; with unusual hair; beards; or with an unusual gait, such as someone with a walker or crutches.

Dogs: dogs of different breeds and sizes, plus cats and other animals.

Environments: fields; streets; stairs; elevators (for city dogs); walking on cement, asphalt, grass, carpet and linoleum; noisy places, such as children's soccer games; and being inside, as well as outside different buildings.

Its important to show your new Teacup Yorkie Puppy all the sights, but its also important not to overwhelm your Teacup Yorkie Puppy and to make sure the exposures are positive ones. Ensure any dogs you introduce your pup to are friendly and well behaved. Ask children to approach the Teacup Yorkie Puppy one at a time and not run up yelling.

As soon as your pup knows how to sit, ask it to sit as strangers approach and give them a treat to reward the Teacup Yorkie Puppy. Don't take a Teacup Yorkie Puppy that came from a quiet country home and suddenly put it down on the sidewalk in a big city. Carry it to a park and let it adjust to the new sounds and smells gradually.

A Teacup Yorkie Puppy that's showing signs of stress needs a break. These signs can vary greatly with the individual pup. An overwhelmed Teacup Yorkie Puppy may:

- Quietly shut down

- Become hyperactive

- Snap or bark in a frightened fashion

- Yawn, pant, whine or lick its lips

If you note any of those signs, its time to pick up your pup and take it home or to a safe, quite spot to rest. On the same note, if your Teacup Yorkie Puppy acts truly afraid, quietly pick it up and back away from the situation. Do not make a big deal out of its fear, but don't reinforce it by praising for fearful reactions either.

Outside Help
Along with your home-socialization plans, Teacup  kindergarten can provide some good experiences for your pup, especially if you live alone and don't have another dog. Before you sign your pup up for classes, you'll want to observe a class. Make sure the instructors keep the class under control so that one bigger or tougher Teacup Yorkie Puppy isn't allowed to bully the others. Many dog obedience clubs divide their  Puppy classes by both size and age. Look for a class that requires the owners to show proof of vaccinations and fecal checks. 

Safety, First and Foremost
Another important concern while you are socializing your Teacup Yorkie Puppy is its health. Until your pups vaccinations are complete, it can be at risk of picking up infections in some environments. For most dogs, the risk of being improperly socialized and ending up with a behavior problem (possibly even being dumped at a shelter) is much greater than that of disease exposure.

For most pups, the biggest risk period for disease exposure is about 12 to 14 weeks of age when their maternal immunity wears off and their own immune system starts to kick in. During that time period, its wise to stick to visiting dogs you know and avoiding high-traffic areas, such as dog parks or dog shows. At Teacup Yorkie Puppy classes, the risk is usually limited because all the participants must show health clearances before signing up.