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Puppy socialsation

So you've brought your puppy home, you've waited for the vaccinations to be completed and now you're dog is ready to go out and meet the world!

You're read that your dog needs to "socialise" with dogs and people. But is that really what it's about? And do we really need to wait until the vaccinations are complete?

Don't Wait until vaccinations are complete.

Although your pup isn't allowed on the ground, you can still take them to new places to get them used to noises, sights, smells etc. They can watch the world go by whilst you sit on a park bench. You can reward your pup for watching dogs and people doing life!!

Top tip - whilst pup is in your arms, please don't let random people come and squeal and coo over your puppy. Our pups don't want to play "pass the parcel" and be poked and prided by every Tom Dick and Harry! If your dog doesn't have a choice with who they interact with, then it can really affect how they feel about people! Advocate for your dog. Say "no, my dog is in training" - you have every right to deny someone randomly squishing your puppy, to ensure your pup isn't overwhelmed and have a knock on effect into adulthood.

More on that in a moment!

Socialisation is a vital component of a puppy's development, yet its true essence extends far beyond mere playdates with other puppies. While the term "socialisation" might initially conjure images of playful interactions, its scope encompasses a much broader spectrum of experiences.

In essence, socialisation entails gradually introducing puppies to a multitude of stimuli they will encounter throughout their lives. This process, often better described as "habituation," involves exposing puppies to various environments, people, sounds, and situations in a gentle and controlled manner.

While it's essential for puppies to learn social skills and interact with other dogs, this is just one aspect of socialisation. It's equally crucial to teach puppies how to behave around dogs for the long term, which may not always involve prolonged play sessions. Teaching dogs to greet other dogs briefly and then move on or to ignore certain dogs altogether is an integral part of their socialisation journey.

Moreover, socialisation extends to exposing puppies to a diverse range of people, including individuals of different ages, sizes, appearances, and attire. These interactions should be positive and gradual, avoiding overwhelming the puppy with too much stimuli at once. Forcing a puppy to say hello to someone can be stressful for your pup and may lead to negative associations with greeting people. It's important to allow puppies to approach and interact with strangers at their own pace, and encouraging the greeter to let pup smell them with a hands off approach, allowing our pups to gain information about that individual and make an informed decision as to whether they want to stay there or move away from them. Forcing them could potentially result in fear, anxiety, or aggression towards strangers. It's best to let the puppy initiate interactions and provide a safe and comfortable environment for socialisation.

Additionally, socialisation involves acclimating puppies to various environments they may encounter throughout their lives, from parks and cafes to vets and busy streets. This exposure should be gentle and controlled to prevent fear or negative associations with specific locations.

Building confidence is another critical aspect of socialisation, which includes introducing puppies to different surfaces, textures, and noises. By gradually exposing puppies to these stimuli, owners can help them develop resilience and adaptability.

It's important to note that the responsibility for socialising a puppy lies primarily with the owner, not with puppy classes. While puppy classes can provide guidance and support, the majority of socialisation occurs outside of these sessions. Therefore, choosing a trainer should be based on their expertise and qualifications rather than solely relying on the belief that a puppy class will fulfill all socialisation needs.

In conclusion, socialisation encompasses a wide array of experiences that go beyond simple playdates with other puppies. By understanding the multifaceted nature of socialisation and taking an active role in exposing puppies to diverse stimuli, owners can help their furry companions become confident, well-adjusted adults capable of navigating the world around them with ease. Quality over quantity is the best form of action. Quality interactions over LOTS of interactions.

Email me to find out more on how to help.

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