Socialising your puppy is one of the most important things you can do. It’s also the best time for you to bond with your puppy as you lead him through this crucial life stage.
Socialisation is going to be an ongoing process throughout your dog’s life, but the most critical period is before six months of age. Between one month and three months old, a puppy gets almost all of his adult sensory, motor and learning abilities, and what a puppy learns early in life stays with him for life.
It almost goes without saying that the more loving interaction you have with your pet, the better. So include a little work in your play times and a lot of play in your work times. Make learning fun!
Spend time with your puppy
Socialising your puppy means spending quality time with him. So give him lots of attention and affection, pat him and call him by his chosen name. Introduce him to your neighbours and people who may come to your home regularly. Show children how to pat him.
Socialising your puppy with other dogs is equally important, but needs to be done in a safe, controlled manner. To begin with, only socialise with dogs whose owners you know, and be sure the dogs have been immunised.
Opportunities for socialising your puppy
Your puppy will respond amazingly well if you take the time to introduce him in happy ways to all sorts of people, places and things. For example…
- Go to puppy school.
- Visit dog-loving friends.
- Take your puppy on errands with you, but never leave him in the car in warm weather.
- Invite people over to your house, as socialisation is about creating pleasant associations with new events and faces.
As soon as your vet says it is safe, introduce your puppy to the sights and sounds of his world. Make this experience fun by praising him and taking along some dog treats.
Grooming and handling
Grooming and handling your dog daily will help make him a calmer, better-behaved, more tolerant companion. Make grooming a special time for you and your dog. So whether he needs it or not, brush him daily with much affection and reassurance. He will love this time together.
When your puppy is tired, gently handle his paws, look in his ears and open his mouth. Use your finger to gently massage his gums. This prepares him for having his teeth brushed. Praise him warmly when he allows these things.
Get him used to all this early and grooming him later in life will be a breeze.
Feeding your puppy
Utilise every opportunity to socialise your puppy. Make feeding time a happy experience by praising your puppy for being a good dog as you put his dish on the floor. Considerable puppy-owner bonding can occur through positive feeding experiences.
Feeding can also help you train your pup. As you put his dish on the floor, give the command, ‘Come.’ This introduces your puppy to an obedience command in a very positive way.
Never forget to praise
A little praise goes a long way in helping your puppy to become a loving – and eminently lovable – companion.
Remember that being aware of puppy behaviour
pitfalls is the first step to fixing them.