Socialisation – more than meets the puppy!
The first four months of your new puppy’s life is a major period of learning for them, and they are soaking up information about their world as fast as you can present it to them. Introducing them to all the possible experiences that will be part of their world in these first few months is an important responsibility as a new puppy parent, and it is what is meant by socialisation.
Most people think of socialisation as simply introducing your dog to other dogs or humans, but it is so much more than that. Socialising your puppy is about introducing your puppy to their world in a safe and positive way. You will be showcasing the things in your world you probably don’t even notice any more, but for your fur baby, it is all new. The hustle and bustle of busy streets and the cacophony that comes with the many moving creatures that dwell on them – walkers, skateboarders, cars, buses, children, wheelchairs will all need to be explored and understood by your new puppy. The feelings of footpaths, grasslands, pebbles, indoor surfaces, cool breezes and warm sun are all being processed as you explore together, and they will look to you for safety and reassurance.
So, there is a bit going on in your world, and it is ideal to introduce your puppy to it gradually and as positively as possible. You many find your puppy appears frightened the first time they experience these new things. They may show this fear by shaking, whining, tucking their tail, yawning, lip licking, or trying to hide or run away. If your dog is concerned, try to move away from the object of socialisation or to a less intense version of it such as a quieter street if the main drag is too much for your pup on your first outing. Be sure to reward your puppy when they are coping well, and comfort them when needed.
Take heed of your vets’ advice on readiness for socialisation and vaccination status. If your puppy is not fully vaccinated yet, socialisation can still occur, but in ways where the pup can be carried and don’t need them to put their feet on the ground. You can take your puppy to the park for example but keep them leashed and only allow them to walk on your picnic rug, leaving the exploring until they are vaccinated. It is possible to have them interact with other adult dogs so long as they are fully vaccinated.
Puppy school is a great way to further enhance socialisation and set the ground rules for behavioural expectations too. Our puppy training is conducted by fully qualified Delta Dog Trainers – their trainers are the very best Sydney has to offer so you get the best start to your new life with your pup.
Socialising your puppy is so important, and those little puppy eyes will be awestruck by what you can teach them every day. Make the most of that initial window of maximum learning and with lots of love and patience, your young pup will soon grow comfortable with your world, and figure out that it’s actually a pretty cool place to be when you are a dog!