Socialising your Puppy / Dog
How to Socialise my puppy
Puppy socialisation is key to developing a confident and well rounded dog, you probably hear about socialisation a lot but what is it?
What is Socialisation?
Puppy socialisation is about introducing your puppy to lots of different people, animals and situations etc.
A puppy’s first year is very important, and during the early weeks a puppy will approach anything or anybody willingly and without fear. The more situations you introduce your puppy to, the higher the chance you have of owning a puppy that will grow up to be friendly and happy with people and other animals, and make a very successful pet. Dogs that are taken out regularly as puppies can take different situations in their stride and enjoy going anywhere with their owners. So to enable that your puppy will grow into a well-socialised adult dog you should make a real effort to socialise your puppy during your first few months together.
When you decide to welcome a puppy, you take on the responsibility of looking after that puppy and its future, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your new puppy is introduced and socialised to as many different situations and environments as possible. The breeder that you collected the puppy from should have already begun socialising them and it is their responsibility to ensure that the puppy is handled by friendly adults and children on a daily basis. When you are choosing a breeder make sure that you pick someone that has taken the time to socialise the puppies at an early age, if not then you will need to work extra hard at socialising your puppy when they arrive home.
What Should I Socialise My Puppy With?
In our experience, the general consensus appears to be that puppies only need to be socialised with other dogs and puppies, however this is only a small part in the world of puppy socialisation.
Puppies need to be socialised with everything and anything that they may experience in their lives with you. For example, if you live on a farm then it will be highly important to ensure that your puppy is socialised and understands how to interact with other livestock, or chickens, or any animal that you have on the farm. If you live in a city, then it is important that your puppy is well socialised to the sound of traffic, and sirens, bright lights, and lots of pedestrians.
The puppy socialisation chart, located on our advice page, will provide you with plenty of ideas and suggestions of who, what and where you need to socialise your puppy. There is no strict order with regard to what you should introduce your puppy to, as every household is different, so it is important that you adapt the socialisation chart to your own lifestyle. For example, if you own cats, then it will be a priority to ensure that your puppy is socialised with cats (compared to a household that doesn’t own cats).
To ensure that your puppy develops into a well rounded and socialised dog, it is important to ensure that you socialise your puppy to everything included on the puppy socialisation chart, even if you do not think you will ever encounter them during your lifetime together.
It is better to prepare your puppy for every possible scenario, rather than having to cope with a dog that is fearful of something purely because they have never encountered it before.
Socialising before vaccination
The normal ages for vaccinations to be given are at 8 weeks old and 10 weeks old, but some breeders decide to vaccinate their puppies at 6 weeks of age. Early vaccinations are a more expensive option, but veterinary surgeons strongly recommend them due to the benefits of early socialisation.
Try to ensure that your puppy only experiences pleasant introductions during the socialisation period. If for some reason your puppy has a bad experience, then arrange for the same introduction again but under more pleasant terms. It will take several positive experiences to over-come the unpleasant one.
This information is also relevant to any owner that has recently rescued a dog. It is important to ensure that they are socialised to anything that they may encounter in their lives with you.
It is very difficult to find out the history of rescue dogs, so it is best to treat them as if they have never been socialised and ensure that they have positive experiences whilst they are with you. The socialisation chart on our advice page can be used to record all the interactions your new rescue dog has with people, other animals and environments etc.
The more positive situations your puppy or dog is introduced to, the better balanced they will be during their life.