Puppy socialisation and the owner’s responsibilities
As your puppy grows so does the world around them as they venture outdoors for some of their very first walks. Here are some important things to know about socialising, dog walking etiquette, settling in with other household pets and what legal requirements you need to meet as a pet parent.
The effect COVID is having on socialising puppies
Properly socialising your pet can help prepare them for future situations and is essential in the development of a well-rounded, happy dog. But since March 2020, the vets at Joii have seen a rise in socialisation and separation anxiety issues due to the country’s various lockdown restriction and people working from home.
Keeping on top of your canine companion’s socialisation training is key to their development, it’s important to make sure your pup is safely introduced to as many sights, sounds and smells as possible. Here are our top tips for a happy, sociable dog whilst also keeping you and your family safe.
It’s vital that a pup meets a variety of different people, situations and other animals which might prove difficult in the middle of a pandemic but can still be safely managed.
Getting your puppy used to people
Think of all the different types of people your puppy will meet as they grow. Well, you need to include as many of these as possible while they’re still young to help them get used to the world around them.
This includes: men, women, men with beards, people with glasses, elderly people, people with disabilities, teenagers, younger children, toddlers, babies, delivery drivers, post people, people wearing hats or hoods, people using umbrellas, people of various ethnicities.
If you’re currently limited on the number of people your puppy can meet, why not ask your friends and family to wear a hat or glasses etc to help them get used to these different looks?
Developing your puppy’s tolerance to other animals
Your puppy should meet or observe other animals while they’re young but it’s important to make sure that they are safe, as a bad experience is often worse than not having met them at all.
This includes: other puppies, dogs of different ages and breeds, dogs with flat faces, large dogs, small dogs, cats, horses and livestock.
When walking around livestock, always make sure your dog doesn’t worry, attack or chase the animals by keeping them on a lead.
Meeting animals of all shapes and sizes when they’re young will help ensure they are not frightened of certain animals when they’re older.
Familiarising your puppy with different environments
New environments will bring a wide variety of new experiences for your dog with usually a vast range of different sounds, textures and objects.
This includes: pet shops, vets, car journeys, different parks, new walks, car boot sales, your workplace and other people’s houses when safe to do so.
Socialising and vaccinations
If your puppy hasn’t finished their round of vaccinations yet, you will still be able to make a start on introducing them to household items, noises and new people. You could even carry your dog along your street so that they can be exposed to outdoor sounds and sights.
Socialisation and social anxiety
Socialisation is all about preparing a puppy for the life ahead of them so teach them that sometimes they are left alone for short periods of time. This can be done without having to leave the house by using a baby gate or crate to separate them from you.
What you need to know before you head outdoors
There are some dog laws and golden rules you need to know and abide by before heading outside with your pup.
Train your puppy’s memory
It might be a good idea to keep your puppy on its lead for walks until you can trust its recall. Good recall will keep your puppy out of trouble, stop them from causing any fights and potentially prevent any accidents.
Your puppy must be microchipped
Since 6th April 2016, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old. The microchip is about the size of a grain and can help reunite you and your beloved dog if they ever got lost, were to stray or be stolen. Always make sure you keep your puppy’s microchip details up to date if you move home or change your phone number.
They must have identification
Dogs must wear a collar with their owner’s name and address on it or engraved onto an ID tag when out in public.
Clean up after them
As cute as your puppy might be, what comes out of them isn’t but as a responsible pet owner, it’s down to you to clean up after them. In most public areas, you will be required by law to pick up your dog’s poo and failure to do so could result in a fine.
Watch for other dogs
If you see other dogs on your walks and they’re on their lead, assume that there may be a reason why they’re not running free. The dog could be nervous, reactive, aggressive or recovering from surgery or an illness. Always respect another dog’s space by putting your dog back on its lead while walking past.
Watch out for livestock
Wherever you decide to walk your dog, always make sure your puppy is on a lead around livestock so that they can’t worry or chase livestock.
Don’t get distracted
We all probably take our mobile phones with us on our dog walks; it counts our daily steps and it’s handy to have in case we need to make a quick call. If you use your phone while walking your dog, it can take your attention away from your surroundings and your dog’s behaviour. Try to keep your phone use on walks to a minimum and if you must take a call, try using headphones so your hands remain free or sturdy on the lead.
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