How to Socialise Puppies
Dogs ought to be humans' best companions with a pact of exceptional social skills that no other domesticated pets possess- at least not to that extent. Feeding on love and loads of attention (and of course, treats!), dogs will have your back for the rest of their days. People who grow up with dogs have the best childhood with all the unforgettable memories with their best pals. And it's no secret that dogs are some of the most intelligent and intuitive animals ever.
Now that you have a furry best friend yourself, you may wonder why you need to socialise your pups. Doesn't it come naturally among them?
The answer is yes and no.
No matter how full of life your puppies are, at the beginning stage of their lives- they need a bit of guidance and help from you to get into the social life to grow up to be the most well-behaved, friendly, playful and confident dogs to accompany you in every step of your life. Just like human babies, puppies also get nervous and anxious in unfamiliar environments and social conditions. But, with proper stimulation, training and care- we can help our furry friends get rid of their anxiety and have the loving childhood they deserve.
We all know that puppies have incredible long-term memories. They remember all the good, bad or traumatising experiences they have in their lives. Proper ways of socialising your puppy can help develop a strong emotional bond with your pups and incredible memories they will always remember.
This article lists some effective ways to help your puppies adapt to social life as an essential part of their upbringing.
Make Sure Your Puppy is Vaccinated
One of the most crucial things to consider before you socialise your pups with other humans and pets is to get them fully vaccinated. Typically, a puppy vaccination schedule starts at about six weeks and ends at about 16 weeks.
Vaccines play an important role in a puppy's health because vaccines protect pups against all the common viruses and diseases they are susceptible to, stimulate their immune system, and make them stronger.
But you don't have to rule out all the possible ways to let your puppy start a social life before the vaccination. It is ok to take your puppy outside with precautions.
For 12-16 weeks old vaccinated puppies, most veterinary practitioners recommend waiting for at least two weeks for the last vaccination before introducing them to the outside world. But until it's safe for your pups to interact with people and other companions on their own, let them ride on a puppy stroller, backpack or wagon and take them to parks and experience things outside of the house like local parks, walking trails, nursery gardens etc. So they can enjoy the gentle breeze, sunshine and calming nature within a safe distance.
Help Your Pup be Comfortable in the Crate
At the beginning phase of socialising, your pup may not like to be in a crowd, chaos or people chattering- at least not for too long. However, forcing puppies to stay in a loud, overwhelming environment for too long may trigger the anxiety and resentment of your pup towards the visitors and other animals instead. So teach your furry friends to go to their crate to rest or take a break from the visitors. Small-scale interactions at their own pace will help them build trust and confidence because your pups will always know where to go when he is not comfortable.
Train your puppies to go back to his crate whenever he wants to. Then, to encourage him to open up and have positive experiences with new people, pets and environments- use nutritious treats.
As an essential part of training and socialising house pups, crate training also plays a huge role in puppies' bladder training and reduces the chance of getting lost during long-distance travel and vacations.
Visit Vet Clinics Often
Over the course of time, your little buddy will have to visit vet clinics many times, starting from vaccination shots to grooming and sterilisation. So it's natural for pups to develop some hatred and resentment towards vet clinics and the environment.
So it's very important to associate the vet visiting experience with positive reinforcements from the very start, or even the first place for active socialisation. Don't wait for actual appointments. Instead, keep a stack of delicious treats and ask your vet, receptionists and other staff to give your pups the treats every time your dog’s pay a visit, whether it's for a health reason or not. Vet clinics are also full of other pets. So as long as they're healthy and vaccinated- let your pups interact and play around. All these positive and memorable experiences help your furry friends get over the anxiety of getting shots or gulping down bitter medicines when it's due. Because, above all, the vet clinic visiting will mostly be a happy place to be in their memories- full of delicious treats, loads of toys and loving people around.
Start Puppy Schooling
Puppies being exposed to a whole new world full of different people, pets, colours, and noises can initially be a bit of an overwhelming experience for them to the point that they might just..snap! It is their way of expressing that they have had enough and need a break from it all. Now, we talked about taking baby steps of socialising your pups and dogs once at a time, but things may go out of hand, as pups are simply irresistible. Visitors, passersby, and kids can be overly curious to play and interact with them in a social setting even when the puppies are not very much up for it. This leads to the sort of fearful, defensive or aggravating behaviours like hiding, whimpering or growling. Instead of taking these behaviours lightly, understand that it's time to take professionals' warranted help.
Our Puppy school programs, located nearby Moonee Ponds and Yarraville cover the best practices of socialising your anxious or annoyed puppies in a friendly, comfortable environment surrounded by experts who really understand what the puppy is going through and act accordingly. The schooling lessons also include some important skill development schemes in a playful, educational manner, which the owners cannot always do with no professional knowledge or experience. It is never too soon to start puppy training schools. So before your puppy gets to the point of being outraged, let the professionals nurture your fussy little friend by introducing other pups within a puppy-training lesson, just the way your puppy feels at ease doing so.
What Age is best for Puppy Socialisation?
One of the dilemmas puppy owners face regarding the socialisation phase is whether they should start before or after the process. The truth is, the socialisation process can begin as soon as the puppy is four weeks old.
The earlier you start the process, the easier it is for the puppies to get out of their shells and experience new things. However, until your puppies are vaccinated, you just need to keep them at a safer distance from any interaction or touch. But they can still be exposed to new sights, noises, smells and tastes. So you can consider starting the puppy socialisation lessons by professionals as early as eight weeks, right after the first rounds of vaccinations, boosters and deworming sessions.