The importance of Socialisation for your new Puppy

One of the most important things you can do to help a new puppy to grow up to be a friendly and confident dog is to socialise them as early as possible.

What is Socialisation?

Socialization is the developmental process whereby puppies and adolescent dogs familiarize themselves with their constantly changing surroundings. It is how they work out what is safe and good as opposed to what is dangerous and not-so-good.

Anything you want your puppy to cheerfully accept as an adult—people of all kinds, animals, things, and situations—you must introduce her to often and in a positive manner in the first 6 months of her life. Then you have to make sure she stays comfortable with all these new things.

Puppies have a critical period for Socialisation

Puppies have a critical period – from 3 weeks to around 12/14 weeks where socialisation is especially important. If your puppy is not exposed to a variety of different people, dogs, experiences, environments etc, when they are young, he might not be friendly or confident as an adult. Fear and aggression could result if a puppy is not socialised properly or at all. So when your puppy is a puppy, this is the time to create these positive experiences with the world around them. We want to make the big wide world a fun and positive place for your pup to be. 

The importance of Socialisation for your new Puppy

How to socialize your puppy

  • Think about the things your puppy will see every week as an adult: Visit those places, see those people, or experience those things now.
  • Help your puppy form positive associations: Cheer and praise her when she encounters something new. Offer a treat whenever possible.

Step 1.Watch their body language. If your puppy seems even a bit nervous, move a little distance away, give her treats, and then walk away—anything she is unsure about should be encountered in short bursts.

Step 2. As soon as your puppy seems more relaxed, try again. As she sees or hears the thing that scared her before, start your cheerful praise and break out the treats.

Step 3. If your puppy did not seem nervous with the new thing or acts curious about it after she has been treated, go back and let her investigate a little more. Again, praise and treat.

Training Tip: When you move away from any new thing, go quiet and stop the treats. We want your puppy to learn that the presence of the thing is what makes you give her the food. That way, she begins to associate the food with the new experience and realizes that, “Hey, that new thing isn’t so bad after all.”

The importance of Socialisation for your new Puppy
You want to make sure your puppy gets to experience everything in a positive and fun way. Our breeders actually gave us a checklist as a guide for things we should try and socialise Cooper with in those first few months– great idea! The list included things like; different sounds- bikes, garbage trucks, trams, vacuum cleaner, lawn mowers, storms, different feels – grass, concrete, pebbles, different people – children, elderly, babies, and the list goes on. The important part is to watch your dog. If they seem a little nervous, take things slowly and reward him when he is calm and relaxed in new environments.  If you don’t get this from your breeder, you will be able to get it during your puppy classes if you are booked in. Otherwise, you can get in touch with me and I am happy to provide you with one.

But my puppy isn’t fully Vaccinated

I hear this all the time. The main concern people have regarding early socialisation is that the pup is not fully vaccinated until about 12 weeks, making it hard to socialise with all of these things. Yes you do need to be extra careful as pups are prone to disease and viruses – however, as socialisation is SO important, it is now strongly advised that you do socialise your puppy before they are fully vaccinated. So we took Cooper to visit friends and family’s dogs that we knew were fully vaccinated. We also walked him very early in the morning when no one was around but didn’t let him sniff the grass or trees and we took him to puppy school.
Although having a lot of knowledge on puppy training we were always going to take Coop to puppy school – it’s the cutest thing! It is also such a great way to socialise your pup with other puppies in a safe space and you and your pup can learn so much!! I 100% recommend taking your pup to positive reward-based puppy classes. We found our puppy school through our local vet and they were great. It also made a positive association for Cooper with our vet. 
The importance of Socialisation for your new Puppy

 Teach your puppy that the world is safe and prevent behaviour problems in the future.

Please feel free to get in touch if you need any help.
Mel xox
Disclaimer: Cooper and Kids will not be liable for anything that happens to you, your dog or children by following the advice and tips in this article. If you have real concerns or worries about your dog and/or safety of your children, please seek out a professional to come and assess the situation asap.

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