Giving your pup opportunities to socialise is an important part of dog ownership. Until they
are about four or five months of age dogs are ripe for socialisation. This is a critical period
that will shape how they behave with and relate to other dogs and people for the rest of
their lives. When your dog is happy with new environments and situations they will be much
less stressed and find life much easier. 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.
As a dog owner it is vital you provide lots of socialisaiton opportunities in this period and
throughout their lives.
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 she can head off to pre-school
where she will experience a safe fun environment with other pups.
Speaking of vaccinations, before you head to a dog park, dog beach, or any environment
where there are dogs or have been dogs, your pup must be appropriately vaccinated. When
introducing your pup to other pets, such as family and friends’ dogs, make sure they are
friendly and have up-to-date vaccinations. Check with your vet if you are unsure about
taking your new pet out.
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 – check with your local
community noticeboards as some communities organise events especially for dogs to
socialise. 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. Organisers
of children’s sporting events, for example, often ask that you leave your dogs at home. 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.