Socialising Your Puppy
Exposing your puppy to new places, people, environments, pets and of course other dogs and puppies is the best foundation you can give them in order to gain confidence and understanding of this human world they now live in. It also teaches an aptitude for learning and decreases the likelihood of fears and phobias. No one would want their pets to be scared and afraid of the world, we want them to feel happy and safe, so how do we make that happen? Between the ages of 8-16 weeks you want to make sure your puppy is getting positive and fun experiences in lots of different places and around lots of different people in a safe and controlled space. You want to make sure they are not getting negative experiences as this can have the opposite affect and make them more fearful or suspicious of things in life. The more you can expose your puppy to in this time frame the more adaptable your puppy will be in the future. Just like with humans, they say a child is best to learn multiple languages early on as their brain retains much more information as apposed to at an adult age learning a new language can be a little harder, with puppies we obviously cant expose them to everything this world has to offer but the more they experience in a positive way the more adaptable they become to differing and unusual things. You can imagine if we lived in our homes and yards for the first 17 years of our lives the first time we saw a bus or train or went to the grocery store would be quite daunting and we could feel a little unsure of ourselves. We humans generally go out and about with our families a lot before this age so we are not so generally adverse to new things. A reputable puppy school is your best bet of getting a confident and happy puppy as they should be making sure that all puppies are best protected from disease and dangers, and limiting the risk and maximising the benefits. Having your puppy around other dogs in it’s age group where they can learn to communicate through body language and find their own place in the group is important. We often hear people dismiss the idea of puppy school because they already have an older dog at home. Although that can be great for your puppy, the older dog generally has all the control at home and can tell the puppy what to do and when to back off. You will see in puppy school they find their own confidence and independence and it helps build character for them when spending time with their peers in a challenging but positive setting. We often hear clients say things like “wow, my puppy is nothing like this with our older dog” or “my puppy is so different here than at home with our other dogs” The earlier you can get into a reputable puppy school the better as after 16 weeks of age we know that the social exposure window closes, they have either learnt to be confident and adaptable or they will need to be desensitised to a lot more new things throughout their life which can be a long process. Your puppy school should be disinfecting the floors before your puppies arrive and making sure that all puppies in your class have had their first vaccinations to keep everyone safe from disease this will allow you to join a puppy school as early as 8 weeks old and know that your puppy is as safe as possible in best practice. A well socialised puppy generally grows up to become a confident and relaxed dog who you can feel confident in taking out and about which will make their life with you that much better! They will be much
more pleasurable to both own and to deal with in all situations and will be far greater ambassadors for canines in society.
Author: Emma Arnold Craig A. Murray Dog Trainer