I would like to introduce Scruffy, a typical little 12 week old puppy who is full of fun and curiosity. As part of our 1-2-1 training I took him out and about in order to introduce him to different experiences such as travelling in the car and meeting new people.
Our goal is to condition Scruffy to feel comfortable experiencing activities that happen in everyday life which go beyond the comfort and security of his own home. Doing this will make him a more self confident, more secure and predictable puppy. Early socialisation and training are essential, not only will it really improve your bond with your new puppy, it will be a fun process which both of you can enjoy.
The critical social development period for dogs is approximately between 3 and 14 weeks. At this age puppies are less cautious, most accepting and very curious about everything around them.
On our first outing we went to Pets at Home in Craigavon where he got to have a good old sniff around the store as well as meeting some other dogs. We also walked around outside where he proved very popular with passers by as they all wanted to say hello! Considering all of this was new to Scruffy he did extremely well.
Stay tuned for our next post where Scruffy will be attending one of our puppy classes in order to learn some very important life skills!
Here are some ideas on how to socialise your puppy properly:
1. Provide positive experiences that you can control: Our puppy’s earliest experiences will shape its behaviour throughout life, so its our job to make sure that they are positive. Be sure to have small treats at hand and be ready to reward them for good behaviour.
Start as you mean to go on, from the first day you have your puppy home, get them used to being handled. You can do this by looking in their ears, touching their paws, looking into their mouth, etc. Doing this will make their first trip to the vets a little better as well as less stressful. Be sure to observe your puppy for signs of stress when encountering new things. Look out for their tail being tucked under, liking their lips, yawning, ears turned back and shaking.
If you notice any of these signs then try to remove the puppy so they are not overwhelmed. We don’t want them to associate the experience with fear!
2. Brief encounters: Try to aim for lots of new situations that your puppy can associate with pleasurable experiences. It’s good to do this by the time your puppy is 14 weeks old. Ensure to keep the encounters brief, especially in the beginning. As your puppy develops they will become more confident and comfortable and you can make the experiences last longer. Make sure to bring some tasty treats which can help make things even better if puppy is a little shy to begin with.
3. Variety: Give your puppy a variety of experiences and allow them encounter different types of people and children. Take them to different places, show them other animals such as sheep & cows whilst out walking, walk on different surfaces such as grass, mud, tarmac. Let them hear new noises such as the doorbell and the hoover.
• Join a puppy class and start training early so your puppy learns important life skills.
• Take your puppy to the local park and just sit and watch the world go by so they can experience the different noises and even children playing, riding bikes etc.
• Show them how fun water can be, especially in the summer time if you have access to a paddling pool.
• Take your puppy in the car with you when you are out and about doing errands or the school run. (It’s best not to do this on a full puppy stomach otherwise you could be giving yourself an extra chore of cleaning up vomit!)
For more information on 1-2-1 Training or to join one of our classes click here.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy this special time with your puppy, they grow up so fast!
Rachelle – My Dogs Best Friend