The decision to adopt a Welsh Springer Spaniel comes with lots of responsibility, but nothing that is beyond the grasp of a willing owner. Socializing your Welsh Springer Spaniel is an on-going process that must be intensive at least until the Welshie reaches adulthood which will likely be about four years. Socializing your Welshie consists of getting your new pet used to other people, other pets and other elements of the outside world that he probably was not exposed to before joining your family.
When to Socialize
If you adopted your Welshie from a responsible breeder, you won't bring your pup home until they are at the proper age for socialization to begin. From seven to twelve weeks is the ideal time to begin socializing your Welsh Springer Spaniel. Gradually get him used to being around people and continue this throughout his life. At such a young age, positive interactions with other people and animals will leave a lasting impression. By that same token, attempting to socialize your Welsh Springer Spaniel too soon will reinforce the idea that other people and animals are to be avoided at all costs.
Where to Socialize
Your schedule and willingness to socialize your Welsh Springer Spaniel will determine where you socialize your dog. If you have enough time each day to take your Welshie on a long walk around your neighborhood and even stopping at a dog park, this is a good way to begin socializing your dog. Simply walking down any street with a cute new puppy will cause just about everyone to stop and shower your new pet with a little bit of love. This interaction with strangers will help your Welsh Springer Spaniel learn that these are all positive experiences that will likely continue to be positive in the future. Going to dog parks is especially great because it involves both pets and people so that your dog can get used to them both. If you choose a dog park, be sure it's one with which you're familiar. Some dog parks are frequented by strays looking for food and many dog owners leave their pets unattended, thus, your new Welshie may be subjected to negative experiences.
If you prefer a more structured method of socialization, you can try some puppy classes like puppy kindergarten. This environment contains both people and pets that your Welsh Springer Spaniel doesn't know. Consistent exposure to people and animals will lessen your dog's fear of them and in time, he'll become more confident in himself as well as his owner.
Classes can be expensive and time-consuming, but if you want a guaranteed method of socialization, this may be your best option. Of course, if you have the time and patience to do it yourself, it will be better. If you can handle the training, you will develop a special bond with your Welsh Springer Spaniel as you learn to communicate with him more effectively.