The Importance of Socialisation
Socialisation is a process by which puppies learn to relate to people and other animals. It means meeting and having pleasant encounters with as many other adults, children, dogs (puppies and adults), and other animals as possible. It also involves becoming used to a wide range of events, environments and situations.
When you take on a puppy, you are taking on the responsibility to ensure your dog grows up to be emotionally well-adjusted. Puppies that are not socialised may grow up to be fearful and fearful dogs may bite. Dogs not used to different environments and situations spend their lives being frightened when taken to unfamiliar places.
Start as Soon as Possible
The younger the puppy, the easier it will be to socialise. This is because, as puppies get older, they become more cautious when faced with new experiences. The early weeks are particularly important because a puppy will approach anything or anybody willingly and without fear.
Puppies usually go to new homes from the age of about six to eight weeks. This means the new owners should make a real effort to socialise the new puppy during their early time together.
Well-socialised puppies up to the age of 12 weeks can become fearful again if kept in isolation. If owners continue to make an effort until the puppy is at least one year old, they will end up with an adult dog that is friendly and can be taken anywhere.
Introduction to Humans
This is the easy part – all you have to do is take your puppy out and about as much as possible as soon as they have settled in, taking care not to overwhelm your puppy. Begin slowly at first, gradually increasing the number of encounters and the time spent socialising as the puppy becomes older and more able to cope.
As it is particularly necessary for pet dogs to enjoy the company of humans, it is especially important that your dog meets a lot of them, both adults and children. Take your puppy to them and invite them round to your house. Never pick up your puppy and pass them to someone or drag your puppy towards them. Dogs should always be able to make an approach in their own time and retreat if they want to.
It will be easier to do this if you take your puppy everywhere with you once they are able to cope with this amount of exposure. You must make the effort to socialise while your puppy is still young enough to reap the maximum benefit. Ensuring your puppy grows up to be friendly and outgoing is not difficult, but it does require an effort from you the owner to expose your puppy to friendly humans.
Introductions to Dogs
Your puppy should be carefully introduced to adult dogs as well as other puppies. Ensure these dogs are safe around puppies as a bad experience is worse than none at all. A puppy needs to learn respect for adult dogs, such as not putting teeth and paws all over them unless invited to do so. They will learn this by being “told off” by the adult dog if too exuberant. Allow this, but watch for signs of it going too far. Prevent your puppy from going back for more once the older dog has had enough.
Protect your puppy from the exuberant play of a bigger dog, especially if your puppy is shy. Crouch down to provide a safe haven and do not allow an older dog or another puppy to frighten yours. Since your puppy is not protected from major diseases until after vaccinations have taken effect, special care should be taken to ensure that the dogs and puppies encountered are fully vaccinated and healthy.
A Social Dog is a Happy Dog
Well-socialised puppies grow up to be friendly and happy in the company of people and other animals and make successful pets. Dogs taken out regularly as puppies can take different situations in their stride and enjoy going anywhere with their owners. They often have many doggie friends and enjoy meeting and playing with dogs they meet on their walks. So when you bring your new puppy home, be sure to incorporate socialisation into your training plan.
To follow up or make an appointment or find out more information about Ringwood Dogs, Ashley Heath on the Hampshire and Dorset border, please contact Isabelle Adams-Papé by clicking on the Contact Me tab.
I look forward to meeting you and working with your dogs.
Happy dog training.