Socialising our puppies is becoming a huge part of their training at a young age, but are we doing it right? A lot of people aren’t!
A puppy has a main socialisation period which is between 8 and 16 weeks of age, during this key stage of their lives they learn how to cope with new environments, situations, and people, as well learning the correct way to interact with other dogs and animals. Puppies that are socialised correctly at this young age should grow up to be happy and confident dogs, where as ones that don’t get the right training can grow up anxious and fearful which can then lead to behavioural problems such as aggression.
At Star Paws we love to give puppies a great start in life, and socialising is obviously at the top of the list. We’ve put together a few tips to help you get your puppy off on the right paw.
HOW TO SOCIALISE YOUR PUPPY?
- Start socialising your puppy to things as soon as you get them home, it is key to get as many positive encounters in during the key period of 8 – 16 weeks.
- Try to expose them to as many different things as possible. It’s not all about meeting other dogs, they also need to encounter different things such as hoovers, buses, cyclists, prams as well as different people and animals. Why not sign up to our Puppy Scavenger Hunt to help you with this.
- Make all your encounters fun, make sure you always have treats on hand to make all these experiences positive. If you’re meeting new people give them some of your treats to feed the dog.
- Start off by introducing new things at a distance then gradually build up to being closer or adding noises, like with the hoover. If your puppy seems anxious or scared then move away and give them more space between them and the object.Keep an eye out for your puppies body language, if they are happy they will have a relaxed tail and playful postures, if they are becoming scared or anxious their ears may go down or back, they may lick their lips, yawn, or tuck in their tail.
- If your puppy has not finished their course of vaccinations start of with things to introduce them to at home, and take them out and about but carry them so they can still see the world. If you have a friend with a vaccinated dog, why not organise an indoor play date so they can still meet new dogs.
- Even though we want our puppy to meet other dogs we don’t want them to learn that every dog they meet they can run off to go and have a game. Make sure when you start taking your puppy out you sometimes ignore other dogs, sometimes just say hello then walk on, and some of them they can have a game with. (Always make sure with the owner of the other dog first incase their dog doesn’t like to play).
- Book your puppy in for a training class as soon as possible, getting the correct training for your puppy is also vital as it can will help with socialising. Obviously there will be other dogs in the class they can meet as well as new people.
Here’s a great graphic from Paws4u.com