What is socialisation?

Socialisation refers to learning good communication skills and how to interact with and behave around other dogs, people and children. The process of your puppy becoming accustomed to sights and sounds in their environment, such as household noise, traffic, and rural and urban surroundings, is called habituation.

It is essential that puppies are socialised for their well-being and temperament.How to socialise a puppy puppy socialisation good social skills This is because puppyhood is the best opportunity for positively influencing a dog’s behaviour. Socialisation helps puppies to grow into friendly and adaptable adults. The benefit being it will be easier to have your dog accompany you to more places, walks will be more pleasurable and your adult dog will cope with visitors coming into your home.

Dogs go through different stages of behavioural development. The period between the ages of 3 to 12-14 weeks is known as the 'socialisation' or 'sensitive phase'. During this stage, puppies are more receptive to new experiences than at any other time in their lives. However, at 8 weeks of age, two-thirds of your puppy’s sensitive phase is already over. The window of opportunity for socialising a puppy closes around 16 weeks of age. Therefore socialisation must begin as soon as you bring your puppy home. Whilst you can teach a puppy to sit and lay down at any age, there are some things you only have a finite time to teach. This is why socialisation and habituation are so important, because if your puppy has not learned these essential skills, it may be detrimental to their development later in life.

Attending a well-run puppy class allows your puppy to carefully socialise with people and play with other puppies. When play is well-supervised it gives puppies the opportunity to learn the important skill of communication, for example how to signal friendly intent during play or to politely communicate wanting to stop play. Owners can also learn a lot about canine body language by watching their puppies play.

The importance of good socialisation

Puppy play skills puppy communication puppies meeting socialising your puppy

Early socialisation and habituation are crucial in helping shape a puppy’s temperament and behaviour. Spending plenty of time working on these areas, especially when your puppy is young, can be the difference between having a confident and friendly dog, or one that is easily scared.

Socialisation and habituation must be carried out systematically. Exposing a puppy to too much too soon, or experiences occuring at random, can be overwhelming. Over-stimulating a young puppy can be counterproductive and may cause fear. Socialisation is not introducing your puppy randomly to everyone and everything. It must be carried out in a controlled manner otherwise a puppy could be overwhelmed or startled, and become sensitised to bad experiences.

Play is beneficial for developing good social skills, but it must be properly supervised. Avoid random, unkown dogs in the park as you will not know what their social skills are like, or whether the dog likes puppies. Playmates need to be chosen carefully, as unpleasant encounters with other dogs are likely to affect your puppy’s responses later.

    • Have your puppy socialise only with sociable dogs
    • Parks are not the place to socialise a young puppy - out of control dogs go there!
    • Socialisation is also with adults and children
    • Never allow a puppy to become overwhelmed - this can negate good experiences
    • Arrange to have play dates with other puppies and stable adult dogs

We can show you how to start socialising your puppy and teach you how to do it correctly at our Puppy Classes

 

020 8892 2435

07929 292909
barks@fetchpets.co.uk

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