Socialisation is the process in which a puppy is introduced to different things in their environment while also developing relationships between people and other animals.
Socialising your puppy successfully ultimately depends on you spending time introducing your puppy to as many new and different environments, situations, people and noises as possible, thus allowing them to learn that the world is a safe place.
Poor socialisation can lead to the development of behavioural problems such as aggression or separation anxiety later in life. A puppy that is not adequately socialised can grow into an adult that is fearful of his environment, people or other dogs.
How to socialise your puppy:
It is important that all new experiences are considered a pleasant one for the puppies. The critical time for socialisation is between 7 -12weeks but overall it is important up to the age of 20wks.
Things to remember:
- Make sure all new situations, environments and experiences are pleasant and reward your puppy with treats or praise to ensure it remains a positive experience.
- Never Never force your puppy into a new situation as you don’t want them to develop a fear to a particular object or person. If they appear wary, take them away to where they feel safe and then allow them to approach the object of their fear in their own time.
- Never drag your puppy into the direction of something they are fearful of as this will only teach them that you are not going to keep them safe. It is important that you build trust within them that you will keep them safe from harm.
- Continue to socialise your puppy especially in the first 12mths and remember that you need to repeat experiences and situations in order to consider your puppy socialised with that situation.
- Allow your puppy to be socialised and interact with other dogs that you know are socialised and friendly
If your puppy has not had the final of their puppy vaccinations there are a few things that you can do to still allow you to socialise your puppy during this critical stage
- Walk on the footpath when you take your puppy out.
- Don’t allow your puppy to sniff other dog’s faeces or areas where urine marking is likely
- Only allow your puppy to meet other dogs that have an up to date vaccination and worming regime.
- Do not take your puppy to areas where dogs like to congregate eg. parks until they have had their final vaccination.
Ideas for socialisation
- Sounds – Bangs, Children playing, Dogs barking, Rubbish trucks, Cars, Trucks, Trains, Shopping trolleys, Vacuum cleaners, Hair dryers, Hair clippers, Babies crying, Motor bikes, Lawn mowers, Kettle, Sirens, Telephone, Men’s voices
- Experiences – Obstacles, Baths, Swimming, Being picked up, Brushed, Strangers patting, Time alone, Being left with others, Watching children play, Vet Clinic, Tethering
- Environments – Indoors, Other homes, Vets, Cars, Shopping Centres, Parks, Football/sporting events, Children’s playgrounds, Open spaces, Enclosed spaces, High traffic areas.
- Surfaces – Carpet, Tiles, Grass, Gravel, Unstable surfaces, Uneven, Prickly, Shiny, Puddles
- Objects – Bicycles, Skateboards, Wheel chairs, Umbrellas, Buses, Cars, Prams, Wheelie bins, Wheel barrows, Lawn mower, Broom.
- People – Individuals, Groups, Children, Babies, Toddlers, Teenagers, Men, Women, Tall, Big hats, People with glasses, Elderly people, Excited people, Joggers, Postmen, Vets