Puppy Socialisation Tips:
As man’s best friend, we want our beloved dog to be well behaved in the varied social situations it finds itself. This training needs to start while the puppy is young. We want the puppy not to be frightened or aggressive towards people or other animals.
Research at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine reveals that the first 12 weeks are crucial and the easiest for socialisation. For many puppies, this period is dealt with by the breeder. After that period it is still important, but takes more time and effort.
Puppies are like us and if the first experience is painful, we will avoid it or be anxious in the future, so take things slowly and in small steps. Do not force the puppy. If in doubt, stop and do it again later. Remember young puppies tire easily and need their sleep, so short and often is a rule to follow.
So what practical things should we do?
• Invite people, any friends and family, small, large, different looking, different sexes. Be careful and fully monitor experiences with children.
• Introduce him to a collar and then a leash. Just put the collar on, later attach the leash and let him wander around with it, then you can walk him around a bit with it on. Only use a lightweight buckle collar with a puppy.
• Visit your friends and families in their houses.
• Try and meet other dogs, particularly other friendly, healthy and vaccinated dogs. Be careful until the puppy is fully vaccinated, meeting dogs of unknown history.
• If you know anyone with dog friendly cats, see if you can visit.
• Meet other animals. Do you have a friendly farm near you? Difficult in London, but possible if you go away for the weekend.
• Whilst many of us in London avoid driving, it is part of life. So take them out for as many convenient short rides in the car as possible. Stop and let him watch the world pass by in the safety of the car. This helps him getting used to loud noises. Introduce him to others such as drills.
• Carry or walk him to places where there is local activity such as shops and parks. Find a pub or coffee house where you can sit outside with him and watch the world go by. Loads of people will come and say hi to him.
• Keep him close to activities in the house, within the constraints of safety such as vacuuming, cooking and TV.
• Puppy grooming is a great time for you and him so develop the routine of brushing, bathing and inspection.
• Introduce the puppy to stairs carefully although, if you are a typical London flat owner, this may be difficult.
So do not procrastinate and do something today.
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