One of the most important parts of puppy ownership is making sure they are properly socialised. The more socialised and desensitised your puppy is, the more relaxed, confident, and well-adjusted they will be as adults.
What is Puppy Socialisation?
It is natural for lots of animals to be scared and worried by new things. Socialising your puppy is about teaching them the world around them is a safe place.
Puppies are soaking up new information constantly and the first 3 months of a pup’s life is a crucial stage of development. So, socialisation starts right from birth and continues once you get your puppy home.
Socialisation is when you introduce (in a positive way) your new furry friend to different people, animals, environments, textures, and sounds. By doing this you are teaching them to be calm and relaxed in different scenarios.
There is lot to keep in mind during socialisation, so here are our top tips for getting your puppy used to the world around them.
1) Create a List!
Puppy socialisation goes far beyond what many owners would consider socialisation. Many owners see socialisation as introducing their pup to new places, people, pets and getting used to travelling in the car. Socialisation goes far beyond these!
Here are some of the less considered parts of socialisation:
• Introducing your pup to different sights. Like buses, bin collections, motorbikes, Christmas trees.
• Introducing your pup to sounds. Such as fireworks, lawnmowers, hairdryers and tumble driers.
• Meeting lots of different humans. Remember puppies do notice facial differences in us humans. Such as beards, glasses and hats. For an entertaining afternoon of puppy socialising, why not invest in a bunch of wigs, facial hair and big glasses?
• Floors and Surfaces– For example pups often get worried by slippery floors!
Make a list of all the experiences you want your furry friend to have and work through them slowly.
2) Make Experiences Positive
If your puppy is incredibly nervous or anxious, take them away from the new encounter and keep them calm and happy. Remember you can always introduce them to it again, just take a step back and go slower.
Some signs that your pup is feeling nervous around the new item or experience are: if they back away, bark, become still or crouch, wont approach or become fixated.
When introducing puppies to new experiences use treats, toys, and praise. Using these during socialisations helps cement this experience as positive. For example: when your pup is tentatively sniffing around your vacuum cleaner, give them a treat, and use a praise word. This helps to make this normal household item less scary and cements a positive connection.
Always let your puppy lead the way and approach different situations when they are ready.
3) Take them to Socialisation Events
A great way to of socialising your pup, is to get together with other puppy owners. This gives the opportunity for play and safe interaction between pups. Not only are puppy events great for our furry friends they are also a great way to find future walking buddies. At Pets Corner we run a free Puppy Hour every week in our stores.
This is the perfect place for your pup to make friends and for you to get the best puppy advice from our Academy Trained staff.
Psst: It is well worth also taking your puppy to Training Classes. This will give you extra help with keeping your pup focused when around other dogs and gives an opportunity for pups to meet lots of different people. Head over here for some handy puppy training essentials.
4) Remember to Introduce Touch!
Alongside introducing your pup to new people and pets, it is essential they are desensitised to normal touch and handling from you. Otherwise your dog will be reluctant to have their nails clipped and teeth cleaned as they get older.
By playing, gently squeezing and holding your pups paws, you are getting them used to the sensations and making future nail trimming much easier.
To get your puppy used to being groomed, take them along to your local Dogwood Natural Grooming Spa. The Puppy Pamper package is designed as an introduction to the grooming process for pups.
Psst: For extra help with teeth, check out our Guide to Brushing Teeth.
5) Keep up with Socialising!
Keep in mind it is normal for puppies to go through more fearful stages during their development stages. Socialisation is important for puppies throughout their growth, so keep positively introducing and reintroducing things until they are 2 years old.
Our dogs are never really done learning so throughout their life they will discover and see new things. Training and mental enrichment are an important part of our canine companions’ lives.
So there you have it, some top tips for puppy socialisation.
Don’t forget to head into your local Pets Corner for more expert advice and check out our guides on Puppy Nutrition and Toilet Training