Your guide to puppy socialisation
The number one question every new dog owner has when they bring their new family member home is when is best to incorporate puppy socialisation into the process.
Before we address the question - it is an absolute must that your furry friend is fully vaccinated before you introduce them to other dogs. Your dog will generally receive their vaccinations in 3 visits. The last visit will complete their vaccinations for a full year.
Please consult with your vet to ensure your dog has received all their vaccinations before introducing them to others.
What is the puppy socialisation period?
There is a very small window of opportunity in which you should socialise your little pal and it is very important that you do so during this period or you simply miss out!
Dog behaviourists will vary in their opinion of the exact weeks however they all generally agree that the puppy socialisation period falls within 12-16 weeks of the age.
Of course each dog will vary however, we urge you to ensure that you commence socialising your new friend within this age bracket.
Why is puppy socialisation so important?
This part of owning a furry friend is important for all the obvious reasons. Your dog will be happy, friendly, have a healthy mental state and is less likely to develop any behavioural issues steaming from fear which is caused from a lack of socialisation.
We all know why it is important. What we don't consider is well what if we don't socialise our dog and this is where we realise just how important socialisation is. Without this, your companion will likely be shy and skittish and with experience, your dog is likely to learn that going on the offensive can drive away the things that frighten him or her which then eliminates their fear.
The problem? Your dog into an adult that is aggressive, lunging, barking and snapping at other dogs or humans. You may be thinking perhaps "those" dogs are just aggressive full stop, however, aggression is always a response to a trigger and most of the time that trigger is fear.
There are no guarantees in life, so we can’t promise you that high-quality early puppy socialisation will prevent a hundred percent of behavior problems a hundred percent of the time. But the odds of trouble do go way, way down.
How can I safely socialise my puppy?
So now you know how important it is to expose your puppy to the wonderful world around them. The next step is simple - take them out, take them everywhere.
Expose your furry friend to new surroundings, the park, the cafe, the dog beach, puppy school, when they’re at their dog and puppy washing session - you get the picture!
This also may sound a little silly and I'm sure it hasn't crossed your mind but introduce them to everyone. Let men, women, children of all types pat your dog and interact with your dog. This will ensure your little friend grows up to be comfortable with all types of people. I am sure you know of at least one or two dogs that are fearful of men or children. This may have been because of an incident. It is easy to assume this however, it can also be out of fear. If your furry friend isn't familiar with this type of person, the unknown is "scary".
Your dog should also meet other dogs and puppies who you know are friendly and healthy. A well-run puppy school or doggy day care is the perfect controlled space to do this. Avoid socialising your dog in an uncontrolled environment where you do not know the other dogs’ temperaments. A negative experience can have the opposite effect.
Many dogs are afraid of unfamiliar sounds. Make sure your dog hears all types of sounds. Police sirens, fire trucks, the repetitive beep a truck makes when it’s backing up, banging pots and pans, doorbells, intercoms and sharp sounds. Cracking sounds are often culprits in dog phobias (particularly fireworks) so download free recordings from the Internet and play them as background music one day.
All of these activities will eliminate your dog's fear and make these people, animals and sounds familiar to them which is fantastic for their mental health, and will support them in growing into a healthy young adult.
For more information or guidance, please feel free to contact us at www.welovedogz.com.au or 1300 606 601.
We would be more than happy to discuss your companion’s needs and work with your puppy pre-school or trainer to help your dog develop into a healthy adult.
We Love Dogz Outdoor Doggy Day Care
Lower North Shore Sydney
1300 606 601