Socialising your puppy – the best ways to do it
Puppy socialisation is a very important part of being a responsible pet owner as you are the only one able to make sure it happens. If you have a second pet, letting them play and live together isn’t enough socialisation and your puppy will need to get used to new sounds, different faces, unfamiliar situations and other dogs.
This will need to take place in the first three to four weeks after bringing your puppy home as they’re most receptive to new experiences then and this will help shape a confident and happy dog.
Puppy socialisation basics
Here are our top 5 tips on socialising your puppy.
1. Start slow
It’s an exciting time and you’ll want to introduce your new pup to all the family, from parents to cousins and everyone in-between. But it’s important to remember that it can be quite overwhelming for a small dog, especially when everyone’s so much bigger than they are.
So, start slow, ten minutes at a time will do the trick to begin with. Then, as the days pass and they’re ready for more you can start thinking about letting them spend longer with other people or pets.
2. A trip to the vet
Once your puppy is home, you’ll want to book a visit to the vet. Not only will this confirm that your puppy is healthy, but you’ll also be able to book any necessary vaccinations and it’s an easy socialisation experience.
There will be other animals in the waiting room, lots of people, and quite a variety of noises. As you’ll be visiting the vet on different occasions throughout your dog’s life this will help them get used to the environment early on.
3. Be consistent
This is the same when potty training and teaching your pup some new tricks, but it’s just as important when it comes to socialising your dog. You will need to show them to manage the different situations and remain consistent with your commands.
Make sure everyone follows the same rules too, as a confused dog won’t learn.
4. Get to know your puppy’s behaviour
As you’re in charge of creating positive encounters for your puppy it’s almost inevitable your pup will have to endure a negative experience. It often happens when a puppy is a little too much for an older dog and they end up getting told off.
You’ll want to keep an eye on your puppy throughout these encounters and make sure they’re not going to get themselves in trouble.
For example, if you’ve bumped into another dog on a walk and the dog isn’t interested in your pup and gives some warning growls or barks, your pup might mistake this for a game. You’ll need to step in in case your puppy gets hurt.
5. Don’t force it
Never drag or force your dog towards someone or something they seem wary of. They should be given the freedom to approach things on their own, if they’re comfortable, and have the option to back away if they’re unhappy.
Following these steps should help your puppy grow into a well socialised, relaxed and friendly dog. Sometimes, no amount of socialising can help a nervous dog so if you have any concerns about your puppy then speak to your vet.