Getting a new puppy is one of the most exciting things we can do as a family. We talk about it for ages, deciding what breed to get, buy lots of toys for it and then look forward to the day that we can bring it home.

However, once it is safely within our walls there will be a little hard work to do. We must ensure that the puppy learns to behave appropriately around other people, children and animals, as these are the practices that they will continue to go by as they grow into adulthood, a time when it will be much harder to socialise them. Here are some easy to follow tips on how to make sure your puppy is comfortable and well behaved when out of the home.

At what age should I socialise my puppy?

It is important to try and socialise your puppy within their first year, as this will help to create good habits for when they are older. They are much more likely to accept this type of training when they are younger, as they will not yet have picked up any bad behaviours such as not listening to you when you give them commands. Young puppies are also less anxious and frightened when it comes to trying new things. They are more curious and willing to investigate things that they have not seen before. 

How much socialising is enough?

When your puppy is old enough you should try to take it out as much as possible so they can build in confidence. It is important not to overwhelm them however, so if you think they are starting to become stressed then it is time to take them home. As a young dog they will also become tired much more quickly, so it is important to leave the socialising until another day if they appear to be dropping a little. If your puppy is afraid they will often try to make themselves look small, which is a sign that you should finish for the day. If they are happy and comfortable you will notice that they will stand up straight and wag their tail.

Where should I take my puppy?

  • Walk down the high street on varying days when it is busy.
  • Take your puppy to a park where there will be lots of children and other animals.
  • Go to a friends house where there may be children and other dogs.
  • Take them to a puppy training class where they can meet other dogs and you will have the experience of a dog trainer to help you.
  • Go for a dog walk with a friend who also has a dog, or join a walking group where they may be several new people

What else should I do?

  • Make sure that your puppy has been fully vaccinated before letting them mix with other dogs.
  • Practice getting your puppy used to new people before you leave home by wearing small disguises, such as sunglasses and hats.
  • Do not use food as an incentive to get them to go near strangers - you don’t want them to think that all new people will have treats.
  • Do not simply pass your puppy around to as many people as you can - they need to make the first move in order to build their confidence. 
  • Try to get your puppy used to noise too, such as loud traffic and near schools. This will help them to be less startled when they are with you away from home.

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Post By Kimberley Roderick