Have you ever come across a nervous dog who hides behind his or her owner when out in public? Or a dog that barks at people who approach too closely? Chances are that they weren’t properly socialised as pups.
Socialising your pup, and desensitising them to a variety of situations, noises, places etc. while they are very young is crucial is you want to raise a confident dog.
Hopefully the breeder will have started the process and your pup will have met a variety of people before you bring him or her home, but you still need to invest time in this yourself, particularly during your pup’s first 12 weeks. Get started straight away as by around 4 to 5 months old your pup will become wary of new people and situations unless you have taken the time to build their confidence up before then.
Get out and about on daily walks as soon as possible. Even though your pup won’t have completed the vaccinations, you can still carry him in your arms or purchase a carry sling.
Vary your route as much as possible so you meet all different shapes and sizes of people, male and female, softly spoken and with loud deep voices. The more variety the better. Puppies are people magnets and chances are that many people will want to stop and stroke your pup. This is a great experience for him and should be encouraged. Try carrying some high-value tasty treats with you for these new humans to give to your pup. This creates a positive experience for the pup and he or she will soon associate strangers with something pleasant.
On your walks try to introduce your pup to humans with:
- High-vis jackets
- Walking sticks
- Prams or pushchairs
If when you are out and about you feel your pup becoming uncomfortable or tense, don’t push forward, take a step back. Give them time to process what they are seeing or experiencing, and only go towards someone if you are sure they have relaxed again.