Socialising your dog involves teaching him the appropriate way to respond to the variety of things he may encounter during his day to day life. He needs to get used to people, other animals, cars and the many sights, sounds and shapes in his neighbourhood. If a dog is well socialised he will be calm, confident and relaxed no matter what situation he finds himself in. How a dog responds to his environment is a result of how he is raised. It’s best to start socialising your dog while he is a puppy.
One of the best places for your puppy to learn is with his mum and litter mates. Making sure your puppy is not taken away from his litter too early makes sure he does not miss out on important learning about dog communication and behaviour from his doggy family. This way he will be less likely to have difficulties interacting with other dogs later in life.
There is a specific period between the ages of four and twelve weeks of age when socialising is particularly important and effective for your pup. If you can expose him to as many pleasant experiences with other people and animals as you can during this period he will grow up to be friendlier and less afraid of new experiences.
We highly recommend taking your puppy to a ‘puppy school’. A good puppy school teaches you and your puppy positive methods of training, provides information about the basic care of your pup and is done in a safe, hygienic environment for pups, who haven’t yet received their final vaccinations.
The most important time for socialising a puppy is before their final vaccination. Puppy school classes allow for safer socialisation for your pup during this time.
Even if your pup is outgoing and relaxed, continue to work on socialisation. Adolescent dogs can become cautious and nervous in new situations even if their owners have done everything right when they are young. Take him to obedience classes and introduce him to lots of people and other dogs while making it a positive experience for him.
All of our Veterinary Hospital Group clinics have puppy schools, run all year round. Please get in touch if you would like information or to book your puppy in for a class.