Raising a puppy can be an exciting, fun and challenging time. Caring for a little eight week old bundle is also a very important time. The things your puppy learns during this time of his or her life is so critical in how its temperament is shaped.Between the age of eight and fourteen weeks, is a crucial time to ensure they are socialised to as many things as possible.
Here are some ideas to get you started
In and out of the car
Lots of puppies get car sick or even worse are fearful of going in the car. Getting your puppy used to getting in and out of your car, is a great way to reduce any fear developing. Remember to reward your puppy with lots of praise, pats and maybe a small food treat.
Preparing for the vet table
Puppies should be able to be examined by a vet, so get your pup used to been on a table and touched all over their body. This is something you can also do while watching television. Lightly massaging your puppy, touching their ears and looking at their teeth are all great ways to get your puppy used to getting examined. Don’t forget to praise your pup so they associate this with something positive.
A brilliant way to increase your puppy’s socialisation levels is to attend a well organised puppy school, with an experienced dog trainer. Classes should be small enough, so they aren’t too chaotic. Your trainer should be experienced and trained in puppy behaviour.
Places to avoid with your puppy
Off leash parks
I am not going to lecture you on when you should take your dog to the park, this is something your vet can give you advice on! However I don’t recommend you take your puppy to an off leash dog park.While working as an Animal Management Officer I have seen lots of very young puppies getting exercised at off leash dog parks and beaches. During the critical socialisation period, anything that scares or worries a young puppy, can effect their temperament as they develop into an adult dog. Dogs of any age should really have a reliable recall before heading to an off leash park, if nothing else but for their own safety.
Tethering outside shops
While I recommend exposing your puppy to experiences like cafes and shops, I don’t recommend puppies being tethered on their own outside a shop. Dogs of any age can get scared if other dogs come along and get into their face. Or maybe a kid could scare your dog. Best to travel in pairs when taking your puppy out to meet the world, especially if you have to go into a shop or café.Socialising your puppy should be a fun experience for you both. The more you get your pup exposed to different sounds, things and places the better.
Written by Steve. Steve is an experienced Council Animal Management Officer, dog trainer and the founder of the ‘More than a dog catcher’ Facebook page. Steve is also the proud owner of two Jack Russells.
Read more tips about the importance of puppy socialisation & effective ways to do it
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