Hiya everyone, another week another blog post! This is my last one in my little puppy series and I hope its been helpful, even for just one person. Today I wanted to wrap things up with my favourite puppy topic; socialisation and desensitisation. Big words, I know! Don’t worry, they’re not as scary as they sound. All it means is that we’re talking about your puppy making friends and helping them to see the world and understand it. Simple – she says!
Your puppy’s brain is like a sponge, especially in those first few months which means they need to experience as much as life, and you, has to offer! Don’t be overwhelmed, this is a lot easier than it sounds. They just need to come into contact with as many situations as you can. They need to meet lots of different types of people; men, women, children, babies etc. Of course before doing any of this please make sure your puppy is fully vaccinated and you have the go ahead from your Vet that they can start venturing out into the world.
On their walks take them to a variety of different places; the post office, building sites, the park. As many as the can think of because the variety you pack in now will make the world of difference later on. My old Staffy Jessie, who passed a couple of years ago, had a fear of workmen. We rescued her at about a year old, but if she had come into contact with a man in uniform (lucky lady!) when she was a puppy, in a controlled and positive environment, she would have understood that there was nothing to be scared of.
Don’t rush it. Like I’ve said repeatedly in these puppy blog posts, be patient! Take some streets with you and sit on a park bench for half an hour. Let your puppy watch, smell and listen to all the new things their senses are experiencing. Remember everything is brand new to them, let them get to know things.
Tip; make a list of every communal building you can, then have fun trying to find them and visiting them all with your puppy. Like a Scavenger Hunt!
It’s time for your puppy to make some friends! Dogs are social creatures, but most of their social needs will be taken care of by you. However dogs learn social skills not just by you, but from each other. When puppies are born into a litter they learn how to play and socialise from their litter mates. They learn social queues when playing with each other and they’ll let each other know when they either want to play or it’s a little too much and they want a rest.
So we spoke about obedience last week and that does help, letting your puppy know what is right and wrong. But it is much more effective when they learn from puppies and other dogs. So, did anyone say Puppy Party? Some pet shops provide an event called a puppy party. This is where puppies of a certain age get together for a play and it’s a good chance for you to chat with owners in the same boat as you. Your puppy will need to meet a variety of different breeds, ages and dogs with different temperaments. Again, make sure this is in a controlled environment where your puppy will be safe.
Puppy Parties and Training Sessions with other dogs are a great way to do this in a way that you know your puppy will be safe and happy whilst learning. It’s a win win! Also, why not do your own Puppy Party at home. If you and your friends have all had puppies together, why not have a play date? Just make sure you trust your friends and their judgement on the behaviour of their pup.
We have brought puppies into our Dog Adventure Walks on numerous occasions. After meeting me first, having a session with myself and the owners and going through their behaviour up until this point we bring them in to meet the other dogs. This has worked so many times and is always worth ringing your local dog walker or trainer to see if there’s anything they offer. If you’d like to give me a call or drop an email about anything that I’ve discussed in these puppy blog posts our leave my details below for you!
Until next time, keep those tails wagging!