16/05/2022 - Puppies
New puppy owners often feel under a lot of pressure to "socialise" their new pups, to ensure they grow into well balanced Adult dogs.
There is a misconception that this means letting your dog play and meet every dog and puppy you encounter.
Infact this can be counter productive, they can have bad experiences which sets them up not to enjoy other dog's company and your pup can think it is ok to haul themselves at every dog you see on walks which is also problematic. In addition you can encouter recall problems where your pup seeks out other pups all the time rather than enjoying your company.
What socialisation should look like:
👍Do let them experience new sights / sounds and smells – This could include traffic, other animals and all types of humans ! Dog’s Trust Sounds Scary is a free download with lots of noises.
👍Do let them have short positive interactions with other dogs - ideally well-mannered ones they will learn from. Well balanced older dog’s make good companions.
👍Do give them the opportunity to experience novel items and surfaces - such as sand, gravel and bridges, you can make your own confidence course in your back garden for them to explore.
👍Do let them experience new environments e.g., woods, beaches and parks.
👍Do keep these introductions short.
👍Do pair anything potentially scary with something great like a tasty treat, fuss or a game.
👍Do support them with comfort if they need it and remove them/give them more space if they are struggling.
👎Don't force any interactions that your pup isn't happy with.
👎Don't think that your pup "playing" with lots of other pups/dogs is socialisation - this needs to be managed extremely carefully to make sure ALL parties are happy, and they are learning to enjoy being with other dogs and not having a negative experience.
👎Don't overwhelm them with too much all in one day, they get tired very quickly.