Socialize Your Chow Chow

This list is from “the book of the Chow Chow” by Dr. Samuel Draper and Joan McDonald Brearley. I felt it was a very good list and should be shared with other Chow Chow lovers. It is based on Chow Chows that will be show dogs, but you can apply these guidelines to your Chow or any animal.

Socialization Rules For Chow Chows

  • Accept the idea that the Chow Chow must be “socialized” from the time he is a puppy. This philosophy is the most important of all to insure success of your Chow Chow.
  • Socialization is the process by which the Chow puppy is taught to meet and like human beings, other digs, and situations with steadiness and even, hopefully, enthusiasm.
  • Pick up the Chow puppy as often as possible from the time he is a few days old.
  • Once you have picked up the puppy, pet him, and talk to him quietly. At first the puppy may cry or whine but as he becomes accustomed to your hands and voice, he will like the experience.
  • Continue to pick up and hold the puppy. By this time his eyes will be open and he will adjust through his vision to the feeling of being held.
  • Pick up the puppy and hand him to strangers who come in to visit. By now, he will enjoy being held and petted by anybody.
  • If you know any children, ask them to visit you in order to hold and play with the puppy. Make sure that they are gentle with him.
  • Encourage your puppy to be openly friendly by romping with him, chasing him in fun, picking him up, and hugging him.
  • By the time your puppy is eight weeks old, start taking him in the car with you. Whenever you meet anyone, let the stranger hold the puppy.
  • From the start of the socialization of your Chow when he is a puppy, begin to open his mouth a few times a day. Treat the process as a game, talking to him while you are opening the jaw, and after, praising him for the success. Chow Chows do not like to have their mouths opened, but if you will start the mouth-opening early in his life, he will learn to accept is and hopefully like it. The dog show judge will appreciate your efforts.
  • In addition to opening your Chow’s mouth as part of his socialization, if your Chow is a male, start to touch his testicles rather often to get him accustomed to this idea rather early. If you practice this frequently and consistently, you will have no problem when the judge examines him in this area.
  • Whenever you go to visit your friends, take your puppy with you. By now your puppy may be three months old, and he will be a very steady, friendly puppy who loves people . . . if you follow the above rules. Be sure you take you puppy to as many “new” environments as you can. He may be completely at ease when strangers come into his own home where he is secure. But make sure that he can be taken in the the supermarket, the post office, perhaps to a school or park without any discomfort, fear or insecurity. Your puppy’s tail should stay up at all times no matter what “foreign” of unfamiliar environment he may be taken.
  • By the time your puppy is between ten and twelve weeks old, he should be introduced to other puppies and older dogs. (Even before this age, the puppy may become aggressive towards his brothers and sisters, actually attacking them, biting, ect. If this happens, your common sense would indicate that you must separate the offending puppy or puppies.)
  • It is time to take your puppy to his first puppy match. (if he is a show dog) He should be able to accept the experience of seeing all the other puppies and all the people with complete confidence and happiness. He has been preparing and training for this moment all of his life. If you have done you work well, he will be happy and at ease. You will be very proud of him and you can share in that pride.
  • Continue to “socialize” your puppy in every way possible. When you are taking him for a walk, let any person you meet who in interested touch your Chow Chow, pet him, and generally to over him. Presumably you have exposed him early in his life to children so that he not only likes adults but children too.
  • If for some reason you are not able to continue to socialize your Chow, and he could not see anyone but you (and / or your family) for some length of time, he may regress. You may find that when a stranger comes into your home, your young dog may drop his tail and run into another room, hiding from the social contact. Be patient with your dog and blame yourself, not him. He was socialized, but them he has not been permitted to continue to put into practice what he had already learned earlier. If this happens, be should begin the “socialization” process over again, and because he had a good social beginning, he should snap out of this temporary lapse once he is able to see people and be exposed to strangers again. Remember he has been taught to like people and dogs, and the friendly pattern will reestablish itself quickly.
  • Should you have a Chow that seems bent on becoming attached to you and your family, a Chow tat does not socialize easily because he feels he wants only to be loved by you, perhaps the following idea might be of help. If you Chow starts to become so attached to you when he’s between two and tree months of age, try to find a friend, a dog person, of course, preferably another Chow breeder, to whom you can give your Chow temporarily. The new “temporary” owner will continue to socialize the puppy in the manner described above. The puppy will very soon transfer his affection to the new owner and his family, thus breaking the original attachment that might well lead to later problems. This process has proved effective in many cases. Finally, the puppy will learn to love everyone, not just one owner or family. Use as many temporary owners as you need until the puppy can be returned to his “original” owner without becoming overly attached.
  • A “socialized” Chow is a happy, stable, well-adjusted dog. Because he is not only reliable with people and other dogs but also happy with them, you, likewise, can be relaxed and content when your Chow is confronted by a stranger, a dog he doesn’t know, or a situation which is new to him. Because you have been wise in your insistence on his socialization, you have made him a happier dog and yourself a happier owner.

For more information and help be sure to check the Training Discussion forums where you can seek input from the community.


Was this topic helpful for you and your Chow Chow? If you have additional information or advice on socializing Chow Chows please feel free to share them in the comments below.


  1. Theresa Lewandowski on November 8, 2019 at 6:29 am

    What happens if I got my chow late from the breeder, 15 weeks and I don’t believe her socializing was done this way? Since the time we got her, she has as growled at strangers, and has let no one but us touch her. She is basically unbalanced and fearful. I was recommended to get therapy for her. I have taken her everywhere, and she responds to people nicely if they offer her a treat but still no touching. Is it too late for her?

  2. Roma Neale on June 22, 2021 at 1:19 am

    Yesterday I adopted a 2 year old exbreeding Chow. She stays hidden in the garden and I’m at a loss as to how to get her into the bungalow without having to drag her in as I did last night. I want her to feel safe inside, and not afraid of me. Any help or advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Tim on March 15, 2022 at 8:02 pm

      Im curious how this went for you. My experience with Chows is that they respond to respect.

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