Socialising your puppy: The do’s and don’ts

Puppies are great company for you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need company of their own for a happy life. But how do puppies make friends?

Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the company of other dogs, and this company is fantastic for their health and wellbeing. The only problem is, like you, a dog also needs to know how to behave around others. So how should they act and when do they learn?

Puppy power

The best time for a dog to learn how to behave with other dogs is while they are still puppies. If you take the time during this formative stage in their life, it will save you a lot of time and trouble when they are older.

Puppies are eager to learn and usually pick things up pretty fast. They are also desperate for the community that being around other dogs offers. So it really is the best time to do it.

How to make friends

So how do you socialise a puppy? Easy, take them out loads and let them spend as much time around other dogs as possible (but make sure they have had their shots, but you know that anyway).

Confidence boost

Socialising your puppy isn’t rocket science; however, there are some things you should be careful of.

We’d suggest, like your puppy, starting small and growing week by week. So initially limit the amount of time and number of dogs and then as your little bundle grows in confidence so does their time around other dogs.

Big dog

The more dogs your puppy can meet the better. But as you already know, dogs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. So just take it steady, as some adult dogs are not only bigger than your pup, but they’re already set in their ways.

All this means is some dogs when playing are maybe a little rougher than your dog’s ready for just now. While other dogs might not be in the mood to play which is fine your pup needs to learn this lesson too. But just make sure everyone stays safe and that a little fun doesn’t get out of hand.

Keep control

Part of socialising is letting your puppy have a little freedom and build confidence by working things out for themselves. The tricky part sometimes comes in balancing this with their training. It’s a formative time for these little fellows, and the mixed messages of freedom and rules can sometimes become a bit confused.

So remember to stick to the training you’re doing and make sure they follow what they’re told to do. Though always try and bear in mind they are still puppies, so be patient too, they’ll get the hang of it eventually.

Let them take the lead

The other key thing to remember is to let them find out for themselves. Try and let your puppy be as inquisitive or energetic as they want or need to be whenever you can.

Where appropriate, give them space and let them go their own way, don’t shout or pull them away unless for their own safety. This freedom is a great way for them to discover their confidence and their boundaries.

Where and when

Wherever you are with a puppy, you need to be aware of your surroundings. However, when socialising be extra vigilant.

This is because you are usually giving your puppy a level of freedom, but they might not yet understand the dangers around them. Depending on their age they might not know where roads start or obstacles are and so on.

Usually, they’re smart enough to figure these things out, and these obstacles and risks are all part of the learning process. It’s just sometimes excitement might get the better of them and accidents do happen.

Kids too

The best time to get them used to children is while they’re puppies. As with other dogs getting used to children comes with exposure and time, and also keeping everyone safe.

Introduce them to one another and let their friendly inquisitive natures do the rest. Just make sure you’re always on hand to keep any rough and tumble in check.

Supervised play

Lastly, make sure you’re always on hand throughout any social time. However, we don’t mean supervision in a disciplinary way. Instead, you need to be there for their wellbeing.

They’re still puppies and sometimes they might find themselves a little out of their depth. The play might be getting a little too rough, they might be getting tired, or they might be anxious around certain dogs.

Just keep an eye out for any signs that they might not be enjoying playtime as much as before, and be ready to come and give them a hand.

Ready to rumble

Now it’s time for the adventure to start. It’s as easy as getting out there and getting involved, and the more you do it, the more your dog will love it. Have fun and stay safe.

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