Dog socialisation timeline and checklist

When you welcome a new pup into your home, dog socialisation is one of the most important things to remember. Here is a timeline and checklist to work towards to help you and your pup on the way to a smoother start.

12th March 2020

When you welcome a new pup into your home, there are a few different things to remember and tick off the new pet checklist. There are appointments to attend, training to keep on top of and timelines to memorise to make sure your pup’s needs are met.

One of the most important schedules to remember is the puppy socialisation timeline. Keeping to this and making sure your pup is socialised from a young age will help give them the best start to life.

Why is it important to socialise your puppy?

Properly socialising your puppy can help prepare them for future situations, like vet visits and meeting new pets and people.

Poorly socialised dogs can be fearful of new circumstances or people, which can make necessary activities like daily walks and professional grooming difficult.

Taking the time to make sure your pet experiences a variety of situations will help them grow to be a friendly and well-adjusted dog.


What does a puppy socialisation timeline look like?

A puppy usually starts socialising as soon as they’re born, by spending time with their fellow litter mates and being handled by their breeder. Once they come home with you, this process must continue during this crucial period.

6-9 weeks

When your puppy I home with you, it’s important to find the right balance between introducing them to new sights, sounds and smells without overwhelming your dog with too much at once.

Make sure they get to encounter as many of the people, objects, textures, pets and situations that they’re likely to meet again in later life. Things like car journeys, vet visits and family introductions are all key to their socialisation.

Before they’re due their vaccinations it might be a good idea to book a check-up with your vet to get them used to veterinary practice. During this appointment you could ask the vet to provide a positive experience for your pup, using gentle handling and delicious treats.

This then prepares you and your pet for any future appointments, like their vaccinations and annual check-ups.

An easy part of a pup’s crucial socialisation is meeting people. These can be members of your family or close friends, most people like pups and most pups like people. This will teach your dog the proper way to play while they learn to trust people.

9-12 weeks

These next four weeks are just as important as the last. Positive reinforcement is key as you continue their socialisation. During these weeks you want to consider introducing your pup to a healthy, vaccinated and friendly dog. This will help provide your dog with a positive encounter with other dogs.

Other great socialising opportunities include things like a trip to the pet shop, a walk around the park or attending a puppy class.

Puppy classes are a great place for your pup to learn how to enjoy the company of humans while being around other dogs of similar ages.

Here are some things to look for in a class before signing up:

  • A small class is better for your learning pup
  • It’s calm and controlled
  • Provides a variety of enrichment and desensitisation
  • Positive reward-based training is used
  • The class is fun and enjoyable for everyone

Puppy socialisation checklist

When socialising your pup it’s important to consider most situations, object and people that they might encounter at some point during their lives. Here’s a puppy socialisation checklist for you to use while training your pup.


  • Umbrellas
  • Plastic bags
  • Balloons
  • Mirrors
  • Prams
  • Flags
  • Mop
  • Brush
  • Hoover

Moving or loud things

  • Cars
  • Lorries
  • Vans
  • Trains
  • Planes
  • Helicopters
  • Escalators
  • Lifts
  • Lawnmower
  • Sirens
  • Fire alarm
  • Suitcases
  • Hairdryer
  • Sliding doors
  • Bikes
  • Scooters
  • Fireworks
  • Storms
  • Instruments
  • Radio
  • Saucepans

Dog necessities

  • Collar
  • Lead
  • Harness
  • Muzzle
  • Clippers
  • Brushes
  • Being handled
  • Toothbrushing
  • Grooming
  • Cleaning

Taking the time to properly socialise your dog will have plenty of rewards for you and your pup as they grow to be happy and confident in their surroundings. 


Building this understanding and judgement is a key part of our puppy’s development, but sometimes mishaps along the way can result in unfortunate mistakes. Puppy insurance can help you to cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your puppy gets injured or falls ill, helping you to protect your young explorer in their times of need.

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