Why is socialisation of puppies so important?
These early months set the foundation for his future, and young dogs (under 12 months old) go through two to three fear periods.
Socialisation is the process of introducing your puppy to new people, places, things, and experiences he will likely encounter in his lifetime as part of your family. This may include exposure to:
• our veterinary practice without needing to be examined
• going to parks
• seeing children running, screaming, and playing
• hearing loud noises, such as trains, motorcycles, and fireworks
You will also want to give your puppy opportunities to meet:
• children and babies
• the elderly
• people in wheelchairs
• people using walking sticks, big hats, sunglasses, and costumes
• people in uniforms, such as police officers, postal workers, and delivery truck drivers
Take your puppy for:
• rides in the car
• let him walk on different surfaces
• go for a ride in a lift or up escalators
• take a nice walk through a park
These are exciting experiences for your puppy and can be great fun. Allow your puppy to become comfortable with one socialisation opportunity at a time until he seems comfortable with each situation before moving on to new or different experiences. You will not want to overload him with too much information too quickly.
It is important that you introduce your puppy to other animal species (such as cats, rabbits, horses, or goats), as well as other dogs.
Introduce him not just to other animal members of your family, or nextdoor neighbours, but to all types — big, small, young, and old. Before you introduce your puppy to other animals, make sure that the other animals are properly vaccinated. It is important the other animals do not have a problem with puppies, though, or you will defeat the purpose of this interaction.
When introducing your puppy to other people, never hold him to receive a pet. Instead, let him meet the person at his own pace.
If he does not want to greet the person, do not force the experience. Thank the person for his or her time and move on. Try introducing him to other people again and again until he is willing to go up to the person and receive a treat that you gave them to give to him.
Once your puppy learns that other people are interesting and are friends, you have accomplished your socialisation mission with people.
If your puppy is a smaller breed, make sure not to carry him everywhere. You are not protecting him; instead, you are telling him that he is too small to handle anything on his own.
If you continue carrying him around, he may bark at other dogs, animals, and people for the rest of his life.
Pushing, pulling, or forcing your puppy in any way defeats the entire socialisation experience. It is important that you build gradually on his successes. Socialising your puppy can be a fun time for both of you.
A collar, a lead, car rides, sporting events, loud music, trains, planes, cars, stairs, and parties to go to are all new and exciting experiences for a puppy.
One of the best things you can do for your puppy is to enrol him in one of our puppy classes.
Emotional or physical harm done during the first year can last a lifetime.