How to socialise your puppy
Bringing your puppy home is an exciting moment for both of you. From exploring the new surroundings to meeting the rest of the family and other pets, your puppy now has a whole new world to explore.
The very first thing to do when they come home is introduce them to their basket, toys, food and water bowls. Once they are comfortable in their own area within the home, you can start the process of socialising your puppy.
What is puppy socialisation?
Socialising your puppy means helping them develop social skills so they are friendly, calm and unafraid of new people, pets and surroundings. It’s a good idea to help them socialise in a safe, stress-free environment where they feel comfortable before taking them anywhere that’s too busy or unfamiliar.
Introducing your puppy to family members or house visitors is vital for socialisation. By reducing fear of strangers at an early age, it helps make for a friendlier adult dog. When first introducing your puppy to new people, keep the collar and lead on to prevent jumping up. Give the “sit” command and help your puppy stay sitting. This will help your dog stay calm.
When you have spent a while socialising your puppy inside the home, take them for a walk in lots of different places – like shopping centres, parks and dog-friendly cafes. This will help your puppy get used to walking on different surfaces and being in new and interesting places. Most importantly, it will teach your puppy that the unfamiliar is nothing to worry about.
Introducing your puppy to other pets
Puppy socialisation also involves getting them used to other animals, but be careful when introducing your new puppy to other pets. When introducing an older dog to your puppy, it is advisable to have both on their leads. This can help prevent them from jumping up, and means you have more control if either of them show unexpected behaviour. Do not leave them alone together initially.
If you are introducing your puppy to a cat, consider a wire or mesh gate in a doorway so the cat is able to escape. This introduction may take a while, but with a little time and patience, they can soon be happy in each other’s company. If your puppy gets used to cats early on in their life, they are less likely to get overexcited about unfamiliar cats too.
Socialising your puppy will take some time and patience, but with proper care they will be confident, well-behaved, and happy with other people and pets.