The importance of socialising puppies
Few things are more important than making sure that your puppy is well socialised with other dogs. The reason being is simple: if you socialise them with other dogs when they are young they will learn to get on well with other dogs when they’re older. However if you leave it too late this can become much harder. Generally speaking this window of opportunity is wide open, right from when you first receive your puppy – but starts to close around 5-6 months of age. After this it can become much harder.
All dogs are different. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. Some puppies will be more social than others and will be keen to play with other dogs regardless of how much they have been socialised, others may not be that interested in other dogs even though they were fully socialised when young. Generally speaking it will make a big difference and every effort should be made to introduce them to as many puppies and dogs as you can from early on.
Get it on with older dogs
Older dogs and bigger dogs have a huge part to play when socialising. Very often people seem to think that their puppy should only meet very young puppies, yet this is far from true. The most important thing as you can see from the video is that the energy of the dog or puppy that they are meeting is calm. This way your puppy will have a good experience and the meeting will have been beneficial. If your puppy is a timid 10-week old Chihuahua and they meet a 14-week boisterous, over confident German Shepherd it could easily end up in a bad experience.
So here are a few tips to take away when you are thinking about socialising your puppy.
1. Stay calm
Stay calm and silent when your puppy is socialising. Your words, pats and cuddles are generally not required and in fact they can add negative energy to the situation at the worst possible time. By staying out of it your puppy will pick up from you that there is no danger and will relax. It can be a little nerve wracking to start with but remember your puppy can do this !
2. Choose the dogs carefully
Not every dog or puppy is going to be suitable to start with for socialising with your puppy. The main thing to check is the energetic state of the other dog. If they seem over excited, jumpy, barking or fearful then maybe leave them alone. It is better off that your puppy has no experience than a bad one. Always ask the owners first, “is your dog or puppy good with puppies?” Most owners will be very honest and help.
3. Puppy Classes, Doggy Day Care and the Park
There are many ways to socialise your puppy Firstly make sure that your puppy has had adequate vaccinations. It is far more risky for your puppy to turn up at the local dog park where every dog in the neighbourhood has visited compared to meeting one dog or puppy in their own back garden. Doggy day cares, puppy classes and the local parks all have their place to play in socialising your puppy but there are plenty of ways to achieve the end goal.
4. You cannot socialise your puppy with just one dog!
One of the biggest mistakes that I see is people who have only ever socialised their puppy with their other older dog in the house. This is not enough! Your puppy will very likely love this dog but be distrustful of any other dogs. You must make sure that they get to meet all sorts of dogs of every age, breed, shape and size.
5. Stay out of it!
Lastly when your puppy is socialising do your best to stay out of it! This is not your time to shine, your time will come later, this is your puppy’s opportunity to communicate with another puppy or dog and they do this best when you are not distracting them with noises! If you feel like your puppy really is not coping then by all means step in and move them away calmly but don’t over react.
When you get it right socialising is the most natural thing in the world, dogs are pack animals so they love their own. If you are struggling then there may be something else that needs to be looked at. For more help, I invite you to check out my dog training program, The Dog Calming Code.
Did this help? Let me know!