Your pup’s new world is full of strange noises, objects, people, animals and smells. The list is endless; washing machines, hair dryers, fireworks, traffic, thunder, doors banging, music, cooking, horses, cyclists, laughter, dropped crockery, ducks……. All things that we don’t give a second thought to.
It’s very important if you want to raise a confident, relaxed dog that you introduce your new pup to as many different noises objects and situations as possible in the first 16 weeks of life and continually until adulthood. The longer you put off this part of their life coping development skills, the more shocking and stressful new and unusual encounters will be for them. The earlier you start, as in from as soon as you get your pup from the breeder or rescue centre, the more your pup will take life in his or her stride and become confident in any situation.
Be mindful of your pups Fear Periods at around 8-11 weeks old and at around 5 months old. Be extra careful during these periods not to overwhelm your pup or push him too far out of his comfort zone.
Don’t go too fast. If you see any signs of your pup feeling nervous or uncomfortable, stop, and give him or her time to process what they are experiencing. Wait until they have relaxed before moving closer.
Desensitise your new pup to loud noises. Fireworks and thunder are the two most common noises that dogs have fear off and they are usually totally out of our control. You need to work on these noises at home in a relaxed environment before they experience the real thing.
You can do this by searching on Youtube for videos of both fireworks and thunder and set them to play quietly in the background while you play and have fun with your pup. Gradually over several sessions increase the volume so that your dog is comfortable with the sound and completely ignores it. Re-visit this exercise frequently. Don’t just do it once and think that’s it. At certain times of the year when there are a lot of firework displays planned, work on this for a few days before the event as a refresher exercise.
If you are planning to take your dog on public transport like trains and buses, include this in your puppy socialisation plan too.
Remember to go slowly at your pup’s pace, be creative and add in as much variety as you can think of.