Getting a new puppy is extremely exciting, but it comes with major responsibilities. Making sure your puppy is confident and secure is a big part in having a happy dog. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips to help new owners build their puppy’s confidence and raise an easygoing dog. Among them:

Meet new people and animals. Socialization is an integral part of raising your puppy, and part of that is introducing him to all types of people. This will help prevent a fear of certain types of people later in your puppy’s life. Socialization also includes exposing your puppy to adult dogs and other animals so he becomes familiar with all types of creatures.

Exploring is good. Encourage your puppy to explore different objects. Provide things for him to crawl into, on top of, and underneath. Make sure any object you give your puppy to explore is safe.

Make noise. Your puppy needs to get used to everyday sounds, sights, and smells in your home. Let him hear the dishwasher run and the vacuum cleaner go. The more sounds you expose your puppy to, the fewer things will cause him fear later in life.

Being alone. To avoid separation anxiety later, teach your puppy to be alone. Let him spend time in his crate or exercise pen while you’re doing chores around the house.

Don’t be pushy. Learn to read your puppy’s body language and don’t force him into a situation if he’s exhibiting fear. If your puppy tries to turn away, has his tail tucked tightly, or rolls over to bare his belly among other things, stop what you’re doing and try to figure out what made him afraid.

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