What is socialisation?
As we understand more about our relationship with dogs, one of the areas that we know is important in giving new puppies the best chance of leading a happy confident life is ensuring that they are well socialised.
The socialising window is when pups are between the age of 6-20 weeks. This is the most effective time to help puppies learn how to relate appropriately to people and other animals. There is nothing too difficult about socialising a puppy. You simply need to expose your puppy to new experiences and people in a safe supported way.
Even after 20 weeks, make an effort to expose you pup to new experiences in its 1st year because in the end you’ll be rewarded with a dog that is social, safe around others and loves being out with you.
Most pups come home at about 8 weeks of age and are up for anything. However you should allow your puppy to settle in a few days before getting stuck into socialising. Pet parents are often concern about the risk of puppies getting an infection or illness because they are not fully vaccinated.
Care should be taken where you take your pup and avoiding placing like dog parks is a good idea until they are fully vaccinated. If they are meeting other dogs, just check with the owners that they are up to date with their vaccinations.
Tip 1. Meet the humans
Always remember that your pup lives in a human world not the other way around and that you’re responsible for their actions at all times. Where possible, your pup should meet people of different ages including children, especially those that they will be involved with regularly throughout their life.
Nearly all pups enjoy meeting people, and most people enjoy meeting puppies! In fact people are so excited that they often want to pick up the pup. Its best though if you ask them to crouch down to your pups level to say hello and let the pup come to them.
Tip 2. Meet the hounds
Most dogs enjoy each other’s company and although we may not be able to see it, they are sending lots of cues and information to each via their body language. These skills and interpretations are learnt when they interact with other dogs. It is important to allow this interaction to occur even if a little yelping is involved because this how puppies learn about limits and behaviour around other dogs.
Tip 3. Attend Puppy Preschool
If your new or haven’t owned a puppy for a long time or you lead a very busy lifestyle, a good way to supercharge your socialisation is to attend puppy preschool. Puppy Preschool is where a group of puppies usually no less than 3 and no more than 6 get together for about 3 sessions to learn the basic commands and interact with each other in safe supervised environment. Puppies attending usually need to be at least 8 weeks old and no older than 16 weeks.
Tip 4. See the outside world
Aside from the humans and the hounds, there are lots of other things that your puppy will encounter in its life. Try to think about places your puppy may go with your and visit these during the socialisation period. Visiting the vet or the dog groomer (if your pet will require grooming) should be high on the list. Early pleasant experiences in these types of environments will continue to build confidence in your pup.
Finally expose them to day to day noises and activities around the house. This might include the washing machine, vacuum cleaner and other household appliances and activities.
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