If you have a new pup in your home, it’s important you offer him lots of opportunities to socialise. Until they are about four or five months of age, pups are ripe for socialisation. This is a critical period that will shape how they relate to other dogs and people for the rest of their lives.
At the dog park you can usually spot dogs who have not been socialised or who haven’t received enough socialisation because they are shy, anxious, fearful or aggressive, and are overwhelmed by new experiences.
So, where do you start?
Puppy pre-schools are a great way to kick off the experience. You will have to make sure your pup has received all the relevant vaccinations before he can head off to pre-school where she will experience a safe fun environment with other pups.
You will also need to make sure your pup has been appropriately vaccinated before you head to a dog park, dog beach, or any environment where there are dogs or have been dogs. When introducing your pup to other pets, such as family and friends’ dogs, make sure these dogs are friendly and have up-to-date vaccinations.
The training continues
Once your pup has graduated from puppy pre-school, consider enrolling him in obedience classes. Remember, socialisation doesn’t end with puppyhood, and it’s important to expose your dog to new experiences throughout his life.
Other places you can take your dog include dog-friendly events. You might also consider taking your pup to other events such as farmer’s markets, surfing competitions and festivals – just check that these events are dog-friendly.
If you are heading to the local shops to grab a coffee and the paper, take your pup or dog along with you – he will appreciate the exercise and the chance to get out and about.
Follow the rules of responsible dog ownership, wherever you go. Keep your dog on a lead and under control, carry treats and doggy bags and watch how your dog copes with the new experience. If he looks stressed or anxious, move away and give him some time out in a quiet corner of the park or take him home.
Before you know it you will have a friendly happy dog who loves socialising.