Socialising your dog involves teaching them the appropriate way to respond to the variety of things they may encounter during their day to day life. They needs to get used to people, other animals, cars and the many sights, sounds and shapes in their neighbourhood. If a dog is well socialised they will be calm, confident and relaxed no matter what situation they finds themselves in. How a dog responds to their environment is a result of how they are raised. It’s best to start socialising your dog while they are a puppy.
One of the best places for your puppy to learn is with their mum and litter mates. Making sure your puppy is not taken away from the litter too early makes sure they do not miss out on important learning about dog communication and behaviour from their doggy family. This way they 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 them to as many pleasant experiences with other people and animals as you can during this period they 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 them to obedience classes and introduce them to lots of people and other dogs while making it a positive experience for them.
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.