Like most people enjoy company.
But no one wants to socialise with people you haven’t learned how to interact properly with others. The same goes for dogs. People and other animals avoid dogs who display poor social skills.
So it’s best to begin teaching your pup how to relate appropriately to people and other dogs at an early age.
Socialising your puppy involves carefully introducing them to new environments and experiences.
Photo courtesy of Schnaars
When can you socialise a puppy?
According to the experts at Love That Pet, the critical socialisation period is between three and 12 weeks.
As most puppies are typically eight weeks old when they are taken home, you’ll have about one month to get a head start on establishing good behaviours. Start out by making your pup feel comfortable and safe in their new home as soon as possible!
Once your puppy is settled in, you can begin the process of engaging them with other adults, children, dogs and other animals, even before they’ve had all their vaccinations. Just take caution to avoid areas like public dogs parks until your puppy is fully protected.
How to socialise a puppy: set positive foundations
What you want to are positive encounters and interactions.
Begin slowly at first, making sure your puppy feels confident during and after each encounter. Confidence is key. An anxious or frightened looking pup signals the end the exercise. Remove your puppy from the situation.
Introduce your puppy to your friends. The more people your puppy meets and plays with, the more friendly and sociable your puppy will become.
Invite people over to your house for a controlled social gathering. And the next time you head over to a friend’s house, bring your pup along.
After a few successful encounters, take your pup to as many places as you can as this will provide a natural exposure to a variety of situations.
According to Dr. Sophia Yin, you should introduce your puppy to as many new experiences as possible, including:
- Touching, including putting on a collar, harness or lead.
- Grooming activities, such as looking in their ears, brushing their teeth, touching and clipping nails
- Other dogs, all shapes and sizes
- Car rides and their doggy safety seat
- As many different people as possible, including children and the elderly
- People with deep voices or those with hats, sunnies, beards, canes and wheelchairs
- Loud noises such as alarms, storms and fireworks
- Traffic noises and things with wheels like bikes, skateboards, motorcycles
- Vacuum cleaners and noises in the home such as the doorbell, and
- Balloons, umbrellas, plastic bags
Always read your dog’s behaviour.
Happy, relaxed puppies will stand up straight with their tails wagging, keen to explore.
What should you avoid when socialising your puppy?
Avoid unvaccinated dogs or dogs who are engaging in rough play. You’ll also want to avoid people who do not like dogs.
You should never pick up your puppy and pass them to someone or pull your puppy towards them. Always let your puppy make an approach in their own time and retreat if they want to.
You should also avoid using food when introducing your puppy to strangers as this may teach them that all people carry food on them. This can lead to unwanted begging.
If you need need further assistance, or want more reinforcement for your pup’s socialisation plan, we recommend enrolling in a puppy training class to start.
Would you like more information on socialising your pup? Are you looking for a good puppy training class? Please feel free to give us a bell; we are more than happy to give you some recommendations.