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A Guide to Socialising Your New Dog

A Guide to Socialising Your New Dog
Dogs
,
Behaviour
Share this article
A Guide to Socialising Your New Dog
A Guide to Socialising Your New Dog
Dogs
,
Behaviour
A Guide to Socialising Your New Dog
Share this article
A Guide to Socialising Your New Dog
Socialisation is the process of exposing your dog to lots of different sights, sounds, and smells. It is a key part of any dog's training and can help to form their opinions of the world around them from a young age.  Socialisation helps your dog to learn that the people, sights, and sounds around them are not scary or something to be fearful of. This process can be active, such as taking your dog to a puppy class, or it can be passive, for example, when your dog watches your children at play. Puppies need a mix of both active and passive socialisation, especially during the first four months of life.

During the first few months of a dog's life, they are much more open and receptive to new situations and people, so it is easier to socialise puppies during this ‘golden window of opportunity’. If you have come into ownership of an older dog, fear not, they can still benefit hugely from socialisation. You may have to go a little slower and use veterinary help if you are coming into difficulties but it's time well spent.

Why socialisation is important

Dogs who are not well-socialised can become fearful or aggressive towards people, sounds, or places that trigger their fear. If your dog is not well-socialised with other dogs it can be difficult to join fun activities such as visiting dog parks or dog-related clubs. This can place real limits on your lifestyle and can even limit your ability to go on vacation or have friends over to visit. A dog is a long-term commitment so investing time into socialisation at the start of their journey will help you both live a happier life together.

Socialisation also affects behaviour inside the home. Noise aversion, for example being afraid of thunder, can create behavioural problems such as excessive barking or destruction of soft furnishings.

How to socialise your dog

The more you expose your dog to, especially if they are a puppy, the more sociable they will become.

Key things to focus on

  • Meeting lots of different people. A variety of ages, ethnicities, and genders is ideal. Expose your dog to people wearing uniforms, such as delivery drivers, and people wearing hats, sunglasses, and coats.
  • Different forms of transportation including buses, cars, and trains. Spend lots of time walking in the community to meet all vehicle types.
  • As many new places as possible, whilst being safe. If your puppy isn’t fully vaccinated yet, carry them instead of letting them walk.

Using technology can be advantageous. Apps such as the Brave Pup app can help expose your dog to many different sounds they may not encounter daily. Try to play a different sound to your dog each day and watch their reactions.

Tips for success

With any age dog, repeated exposure is key to getting your dog to behave in a calm manner. For example, the car horn or vacuum can be incredibly frightening to a dog, but with time and repeated exposure, they will learn that this is a normal background noise and not one to fear. Aim to show your dog a new thing at least three times so they become settled around it.

Get all the family involved. Sometimes your dog can create a secure attachment to one person, and feel safe around them, but if a different person is taking care of them, they can become stressed and anxious. Having your dog get used to being relaxed in multiple situations with different family members or friends can set your dog up to be a well-rounded individual in the future.

Start with letting your dog see a new place or person from a distance, for example, from across the street. Then if they are showing signs of being relaxed and comfortable, you can invite the person closer. If they appear stressed, back off a little or remove them from the situation to try again another time. Training your dog can be a slow journey, so try not to be disheartened and try again on another day.

Treats or positive reinforcement around new places and items can help your dog to relax and feel safe. If you expose your dog to a new place, for example, the local kids' park, using treats and positive words such as good boy/girl can help your dog feel more confident if they are unsure of the situation. Over time you can reduce the amount of treats or positive praise as your dog begins to accept the children's park as non-threatening. Be calm and confident yourself so your dog can learn from your example.

Summary

Socialising a dog can seem like a lot of hard work, but it is a fun and worthwhile investment of time and energy. Socialisation is a lifelong process. Dogs who are well socialised as a puppy and then not exposed to the outside world regularly can still become fearful. Daily exercise is a great way to keep your dog's socialisation tank topped up.

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Socialisation is the process of exposing your dog to lots of different sights, sounds, and smells. It is a key part of any dog's training and can help to form their opinions of the world around them from a young age.  Socialisation helps your dog to learn that the people, sights, and sounds around them are not scary or something to be fearful of. This process can be active, such as taking your dog to a puppy class, or it can be passive, for example, when your dog watches your children at play. Puppies need a mix of both active and passive socialisation, especially during the first four months of life.

During the first few months of a dog's life, they are much more open and receptive to new situations and people, so it is easier to socialise puppies during this ‘golden window of opportunity’. If you have come into ownership of an older dog, fear not, they can still benefit hugely from socialisation. You may have to go a little slower and use veterinary help if you are coming into difficulties but it's time well spent.

Why socialisation is important

Dogs who are not well-socialised can become fearful or aggressive towards people, sounds, or places that trigger their fear. If your dog is not well-socialised with other dogs it can be difficult to join fun activities such as visiting dog parks or dog-related clubs. This can place real limits on your lifestyle and can even limit your ability to go on vacation or have friends over to visit. A dog is a long-term commitment so investing time into socialisation at the start of their journey will help you both live a happier life together.

Socialisation also affects behaviour inside the home. Noise aversion, for example being afraid of thunder, can create behavioural problems such as excessive barking or destruction of soft furnishings.

How to socialise your dog

The more you expose your dog to, especially if they are a puppy, the more sociable they will become.

Key things to focus on

  • Meeting lots of different people. A variety of ages, ethnicities, and genders is ideal. Expose your dog to people wearing uniforms, such as delivery drivers, and people wearing hats, sunglasses, and coats.
  • Different forms of transportation including buses, cars, and trains. Spend lots of time walking in the community to meet all vehicle types.
  • As many new places as possible, whilst being safe. If your puppy isn’t fully vaccinated yet, carry them instead of letting them walk.

Using technology can be advantageous. Apps such as the Brave Pup app can help expose your dog to many different sounds they may not encounter daily. Try to play a different sound to your dog each day and watch their reactions.

Tips for success

With any age dog, repeated exposure is key to getting your dog to behave in a calm manner. For example, the car horn or vacuum can be incredibly frightening to a dog, but with time and repeated exposure, they will learn that this is a normal background noise and not one to fear. Aim to show your dog a new thing at least three times so they become settled around it.

Get all the family involved. Sometimes your dog can create a secure attachment to one person, and feel safe around them, but if a different person is taking care of them, they can become stressed and anxious. Having your dog get used to being relaxed in multiple situations with different family members or friends can set your dog up to be a well-rounded individual in the future.

Start with letting your dog see a new place or person from a distance, for example, from across the street. Then if they are showing signs of being relaxed and comfortable, you can invite the person closer. If they appear stressed, back off a little or remove them from the situation to try again another time. Training your dog can be a slow journey, so try not to be disheartened and try again on another day.

Treats or positive reinforcement around new places and items can help your dog to relax and feel safe. If you expose your dog to a new place, for example, the local kids' park, using treats and positive words such as good boy/girl can help your dog feel more confident if they are unsure of the situation. Over time you can reduce the amount of treats or positive praise as your dog begins to accept the children's park as non-threatening. Be calm and confident yourself so your dog can learn from your example.

Summary

Socialising a dog can seem like a lot of hard work, but it is a fun and worthwhile investment of time and energy. Socialisation is a lifelong process. Dogs who are well socialised as a puppy and then not exposed to the outside world regularly can still become fearful. Daily exercise is a great way to keep your dog's socialisation tank topped up.

Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Subscribe
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Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
Socialisation is the process of exposing your dog to lots of different sights, sounds, and smells. It is a key part of any dog's training and can help to form their opinions of the world around them from a young age.  Socialisation helps your dog to learn that the people, sights, and sounds around them are not scary or something to be fearful of. This process can be active, such as taking your dog to a puppy class, or it can be passive, for example, when your dog watches your children at play. Puppies need a mix of both active and passive socialisation, especially during the first four months of life.

During the first few months of a dog's life, they are much more open and receptive to new situations and people, so it is easier to socialise puppies during this ‘golden window of opportunity’. If you have come into ownership of an older dog, fear not, they can still benefit hugely from socialisation. You may have to go a little slower and use veterinary help if you are coming into difficulties but it's time well spent.

Why socialisation is important

Dogs who are not well-socialised can become fearful or aggressive towards people, sounds, or places that trigger their fear. If your dog is not well-socialised with other dogs it can be difficult to join fun activities such as visiting dog parks or dog-related clubs. This can place real limits on your lifestyle and can even limit your ability to go on vacation or have friends over to visit. A dog is a long-term commitment so investing time into socialisation at the start of their journey will help you both live a happier life together.

Socialisation also affects behaviour inside the home. Noise aversion, for example being afraid of thunder, can create behavioural problems such as excessive barking or destruction of soft furnishings.

How to socialise your dog

The more you expose your dog to, especially if they are a puppy, the more sociable they will become.

Key things to focus on

  • Meeting lots of different people. A variety of ages, ethnicities, and genders is ideal. Expose your dog to people wearing uniforms, such as delivery drivers, and people wearing hats, sunglasses, and coats.
  • Different forms of transportation including buses, cars, and trains. Spend lots of time walking in the community to meet all vehicle types.
  • As many new places as possible, whilst being safe. If your puppy isn’t fully vaccinated yet, carry them instead of letting them walk.

Using technology can be advantageous. Apps such as the Brave Pup app can help expose your dog to many different sounds they may not encounter daily. Try to play a different sound to your dog each day and watch their reactions.

Tips for success

With any age dog, repeated exposure is key to getting your dog to behave in a calm manner. For example, the car horn or vacuum can be incredibly frightening to a dog, but with time and repeated exposure, they will learn that this is a normal background noise and not one to fear. Aim to show your dog a new thing at least three times so they become settled around it.

Get all the family involved. Sometimes your dog can create a secure attachment to one person, and feel safe around them, but if a different person is taking care of them, they can become stressed and anxious. Having your dog get used to being relaxed in multiple situations with different family members or friends can set your dog up to be a well-rounded individual in the future.

Start with letting your dog see a new place or person from a distance, for example, from across the street. Then if they are showing signs of being relaxed and comfortable, you can invite the person closer. If they appear stressed, back off a little or remove them from the situation to try again another time. Training your dog can be a slow journey, so try not to be disheartened and try again on another day.

Treats or positive reinforcement around new places and items can help your dog to relax and feel safe. If you expose your dog to a new place, for example, the local kids' park, using treats and positive words such as good boy/girl can help your dog feel more confident if they are unsure of the situation. Over time you can reduce the amount of treats or positive praise as your dog begins to accept the children's park as non-threatening. Be calm and confident yourself so your dog can learn from your example.

Summary

Socialising a dog can seem like a lot of hard work, but it is a fun and worthwhile investment of time and energy. Socialisation is a lifelong process. Dogs who are well socialised as a puppy and then not exposed to the outside world regularly can still become fearful. Daily exercise is a great way to keep your dog's socialisation tank topped up.

Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Keep Reading
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Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
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