You have one chance to get your puppy’s early socialisation right and it is worth investing the time and energy to do it correctly to ensure you have the best chance of raising a confident dog.
There is only a short window of time for socialising your pup for maximum benefit and half of that window will already have passed before you collect your pup from the breeder or rescue centre.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to select a breeder who breeds the pups in a home environment. Your pup will already be used to household noises like the TV, washing machine, vacuum cleaner etc and not be fearful of them. If your pup hasn’t started the socialisation process, your job will be harder and you will have a lot of ground to make up.
Get Out and About
Providing your pup isn’t too large and heavy, you can start by carrying your pup out into the world until their vaccinations have been completed. Make sure that the experience is calm, relaxed and positive for them. Talk to him in an upbeat happy voice. This will help your pup grow in confidence and feel safe.
Check your pup’s body language. Is his or her’s tail wagging? Are they inquisitive? Do they feel tense or look worried? Are they cowering? If you are in doubt that your pup might not be coping, take a step back. Go slower.
Start with short trips out and about and be careful not to overwhelm your pup with with lots of people and strange noises. Provided you protect him by not going to fast, he or she will learn to love your outings and grow in confidence daily.
Try visiting a large variety of places;
- Children’s playground
- Pet shop
- Garden centre
- Friend’s homes
- Vets Surgery
Bring some treats with you and make the outings positive and fun. If you meet people, encourage them to give the treats to your pup, so your pup learns that meeting new people is good. If your pup refuses to take the treats from the strangers, it may be a sign that he is feeling overwhelmed and not coping.
Once your pup is able to walk on the ground in public spaces, always allow him to appraise new situations at his own pace. Never drag him towards, or prevent him from getting away from something he is unsure about. Be patient and let him go at his own pace.