Are you the proud new owner of a furry little puppy? Congratulations! You’re in for a lot of love (and maybe a little bit of mischief). An important part of being a responsible pet parent is socialising your puppy, so they grow up to be confident and well-adjusted.
Luckily, we’ve put together a handy list of puppy socialisation dos & don’ts to help you get started.
What Is Puppy Socialisation?
Puppy socialisation refers to the process of exposing your pup to a variety of stimuli in order for them to learn how to respond appropriately. This includes not just other animals and humans, but also novel sights and sounds.
Through careful experience and exposure, puppies can develop strong social skills that will benefit them for their whole lives. However, patience is essential – it takes time for our furry friends to learn how to socialise properly, but the rewards are worth it!
Do: Start Socialising Your Puppy As Early As Possible
Socialising a puppy is one of the most important things an owner can do for them. It is best to begin as early as 16 weeks in order to ensure that the puppy develops into a well-rounded, healthy dog.
Do: Make Sure Your Pup Is Fully Vaccinated
Taking your pup out and about is always an exciting experience. However, to ensure that your four-legged friend stays happy and healthy, it’s important to make sure they’ve had all their vaccinations. Without these essential jabs and boosters, your pup could be at risk of catching nasty diseases spread by other dogs.
Do: Get Them Used To Other Animals And Humans
The importance of exposing your pet to a variety of people, children and other animals should not be overlooked. This helps provide them with assurance and stress-free environments that they can grow accustomed to throughout their life. A socialised animal is more likely to be comfortable in any situation and better equipped to avoid potentially dangerous encounters.
Do: Take Your Puppy To Different Places
Taking your puppy to new and exciting places is a great way to help them learn the rules of the world around them. Whether it’s a playground, beach or even just a park, fresh environments create a familiarity with new sights and sounds. Experiencing things like splashing in the ocean or meeting people while on walks will also help them to stay happy and healthy.
Do: Reward your pup for good behaviour
Rewarding your pup for good behaviour can be an incredibly effective way to reinforce positive experiences, making them more likely to repeat those experiences in the future. When you take the time to praise or offer treats when a pup behaves appropriately, they will begin to associate good behaviour with rewards and therefore be more willing to obey in the future.
Don't: Force Your Pup Into Situations They're Uncomfortable With
It’s easy to get excited and want to immediately experience all the adventures with a new pup, but it’s important to remember that each dog is unique and learns at their own speed. Letting your pup become comfortable before exposing them to challenging situations is an essential part of creating trust between you and your furry companion and encourages positive experiences in the long term.
Try letting your pooch sniff and explore safely in an enclosed area before introducing them to any potentially stressful scenarios. That way they can take things as slow or as fast as they need and develop both confidence and self-control when it really matters!
Do: Take Your Pup To Preschool
Puppy preschool is a great way to socialise your puppy and introduce them to the world. Not only does it provide valuable developmental experiences for puppies, but it is also sociable for both pups and owners. Professional trainers can help owners make sure their pup is learning good behaviour and meeting new people and other puppies in a safe environment. Puppy preschool is especially beneficial for young dogs under six months of age due to the fact they are still learning the basics of proper canine etiquette.
If you have any questions about socialising your puppy or want to enrol in our puppy preschool, get in touch with us at Blue & White Veterinary Clinic. We’ll help you toilet train your little pup and teach them obedience skills, including the sit, drop, come and wait commands.