How to build a PVC cube for socializing puppies.
As any responsible breeder knows, it is incredibly important to socialize new litters of puppies starting as early as a few weeks old. The greatest window of opportunity for dogs to learn new things starts at three weeks and ends around week twenty. Because the puppies generally don’t go home until weeks 9 or 10, there is plenty of time at USDoodles to expose them to many brand new sights, smells, sounds, gentle touches, and even some tastes in a safe and positive way.
Proper socialization of puppies is imperative; when done well, puppies will go home feeling more comfortable in all manner of situations, and far more likely to settle into their new home with ease.
One successful tool we at USDoodles have been using is a “Socialization Cube,” with two examples pictured here. This was a quick and inexpensive DIY project that was very easy to build. After a trip to the local dollar and hardware store, we had everything we needed.
The cube is made up only of PVC Pipes, connecting pieces, zip ties, and a number of items we purchased from dollar stores in our area. The open shape allowed us to hang many different playable items on the pipes while keeping the footprint small.
As an additional safety measure, we added two removable “legs” at the bottom to prevent the cube from getting tipped over by any particularly rambunctious pup.
If you notice in the images, we used a variety of things designed for puppies (chew bones, squeaky toys, crinkle toys, etc.) as well as some baby toys and a variety of common household items. Anything that did not already have holes for us to use had a few drilled in so we could affix them to the pipes with zip ties.
Remember that these items can be anything you want to expose the pups to, just as long as they are a variety of different materials. By using some metal items along with the plastic, cloth, and foam, not only would they get to see and feel new material, as the puppies played with it, the cube would rattle and make noise. This further exposed them to different sounds in a positive, safe, playful environment.
Just be sure to avoid using anything that might be too quickly destroyed by their little puppy teeth!
As you can see, our test puppy Bella had quite some fun trying out the toys as we put it all together. She enjoyed the ropes and the crinkle toy best, unless there were treats in the muffin tin. Treats always win.
This is the “recipe” for the cubes shown in the pictures and videos, but feel free to make your cube whatever size fits your space and puppy needs.
Items needed to build cube:
- Eight 24″ PVC pipes
- Six 6″ PVC pipes
- Eight corner connectors
- Two T-shaped connectors
- Zip ties
- Dollar store variety items
- PVC pipe cutters
- Non-toxic glue (optional)