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PET SUBJECT: Puppy socialisation such n important step

During Lockdown, many puppies have sadly not had the best of starts in regards to seeing the world and learning to deal with new challenges well. However, so much can be done to help your puppy adapt and cope with the world, even if that world has some restrictions for its human family.

Puppy socialisation is one of the most important first steps in owning a puppy. If done well, the puppy will develop into a well-rounded, confident and happy dog. Many fears and aggressions that we see in adult dogs, stem from not being exposed to that ‘fear’ in puppy hood or from not having not learnt to deal with a situation properly as a puppy.

Fears like fireworks, other dogs, traffic and open spaces are all things that can be avoided. However, the window for good socialisation is narrow; before 16weeks of age. Lots of positive re-enforcement can be used after this time, but it can take longer for the puppy to then positively accept a new experience.

Ideally, you have 16 weeks to socialise a puppy.
Ideally, you have 16 weeks to socialise a puppy.

The Blue Cross determines socialisation as: “Socialisation is the process by which puppies learn to relate appropriately to people and other animals. It involves meeting and having pleasant encounters with as many adults, children, dogs and other animals as possible. It also involves becoming used to a wide range of events, environments and situations.’’

If your puppy is not vaccinated, then they can socialise with other dogs at home, if those dogs are up to date with their vaccinations. When going out and about, they must be carried in your arms or taken safely in a hold-all or side bag. Many shops will allow puppies in like this and it’s a good way for them to meet new people.

Try to get your puppy to see, hear and feel as many new things as possible before they are 16weeks old. Touch their ears, look inside their mouth and handle their feet. Get them used to being washed and groomed. Try to get them to see all ranges of people, walking sticks and frames and people wearing glasses. Take the puppy out in your car and walk them where they can see and hear traffic.

Take your puppy to all different types of environments, like the forest, beach, town and parks to help them accept a wide range of environments. This can be difficult to achieve before 16weeks but adventure days out with other confident dogs will help with this after this time.

If you have any questions or if you need any advice please do not hesitate to come and talk to your veterinary team.

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