Proactively socialising your puppy is essential. Puppies have what is called a ‘critical socialisation period’ between approximately 3-12 weeks of age. The puppy’s experiences during this critical period of learning and development can influence and shape their behaviour well into adulthood. Providing plenty of opportunities for positive socialisation and exposure to different environments during this time can help to ensure your puppy grows into a well-adjusted adult that relates well to other dogs, other animals and people. This is why it is vital breeders are aware and expose their puppies to as varied and numerous different stimuli as possible, and not leave them alone all day to learn on their own. It is a very proactive role, and one of the most essential in breeding and raising happy well adjusted puppies.
One way to begin socialising your puppy once in your care is to take him to puppy school classes once he has had his 2nd vaccination – these are often offered through veterinary clinics. You can also take your puppy to meet with the puppies and dogs of your friends and family, either at your house or their house. But you should make sure that the other dogs and puppies are friendly, healthy and up-to-date with their vaccinations.
Training should always be based on positive reinforcement.
Please do not take your puppy for a walk outside your yard until 2 weeks after their 3rd vaccination due to the enormous risk of parvo. However by all means take your puppy with you when you go out for drives in the car, and to different places, to meet different people but make sure you keep him in your arms. Never down on the ground. It is important to expose your puppy to as many different experiences as possible in a safe way while young, but protecting him from parvo at the same time.
Socialization is essential for helping all puppies develop into a happy, fun and safe companion. Most people find it easier and more enjoyable to live with a dog who’s relaxed with strangers, gets along well with dogs and adapts easily to new experiences. While some dogs are born with genetic predispositions that can make this difficult or impossible, most dogs are very impressionable when young and can learn to take everything in stride. Socializing your puppy gives him the greatest chance possible to develop into a dog who’s comfortable in his environment and a joy to be with.
Below is a handy reminder of what every puppy should learn
What Every Puppy Should Learn
by Pam Young
* to be comfortable in a crate, both when owners are home as well as when owners are gone
* to eliminate outside (on command would be nice!)
* to respect human hands and skin (no nipping or mouthing!)
* to not jump up on humans or countertops
* to respect their owners as the leader of the pack
* to release or relinquish food, toys or inappropriate objects when told
* to come when called
* to be tolerant of handling (nail trims, cleaning ears, kids grabbing fur, taking things out of mouth, drops in eyes, giving pills, bathing, brushing/grooming…)
* to “leave it” when told
* no chasing bicycles, children, squirrels, rabbits, cars, balls….
* to walk without pulling
* to sit, down, stay, wait on command
* to be comfortable and under control in new or uncomfortable places such as the veterinary hospital, groomer, boarding kennel, training class, pet store, other people’s homes
* to be comfortable when separated from other dogs, pets or people in their family – able to stay alone without destruction, barking or nervousness
* to play, chew or relax without constant contact or interaction from owner
* to be tolerant of and possibly sociable with other dogs
* to not be protective of food, bowl, crate, toys or bed
* to quiet barking when told
* to greet friends and strangers without jumping or shying away
* to not rush through doorways or down stairs ahead of owner
* to move off furniture, bed or other location without delay when directed