Tips for teaching your pup to be a well adjusted and confident member of society!!
They say that the socialisation window closes in the very early stages of your pups life, at only 12weeks of age!!
From this age, your pup will have developed it's sense of the world, and this means potential behavioural problems later on in life when reacting to environmental stressors that it hasn't been exposed to before, such as barking or aggression towards strangers, being terrified of thunderstorms or loud noises, not coping well in busy places such as city parks or cafes, the list goes on!
If you want to set your pup up for success in the unfamiliar and potentially scary human world, then expose your pup to as many different situations as possible at a young age and make those interactions with the outside world as pleasurable as possible using positive reinforcers such as treats and praise. Never allow an experience or interaction to be a negative or scary one, as this will do the exact opposite of what you are are trying to achieve, which is a happy, friendly and confident doggo! Remember that these few early weeks are the vital weeks to set your pup up for success and confidence in the outside world.
This advice conflicts with some veterinary advice that tells you to keep your pup indoors until they are fully vaccinated at 16 weeks! To get around this, take your dog out to places where you know they will not come in to full contact with other dogs who are potentially unvaccinated or unwell. Keep them off the ground and carry them, let them observe the world from the safety of your arms or a pet carrier where they will not come in to contact with other dogs, faeces or urine that can carry potentially deadly diseases such as Canine Parvovirus, which your pup is not immune to until they are fully vaccinated.
We like to take our pups out to cafes or parks, expose them to traffic and busy roads, take them for car rides, meet people and see people of different ethnicity, people of different builds, people wearing hats or helmets, people wearing bright colours such as traffic wardens, ensuring each experience is set up to be a positive one with lots of treats and praise!
If you have friends with healthy, vaccinated dogs, it can be a good idea to introduce them and let them interact at home so that they do get some dog to dog interaction at a young age.
If you have children at home, or visiting your home, always monitor all interactions and keep the energy calm and collected! Children can be incredibly stressful for a dog due to their high energy levels, combine this with the hyperness of a puppy and it can result in a child or pup being injured. Ensure all interactions are monitored and play is kept calm. Never leave a child and a dog alone to minimise risk and set both child and pupper up for a successful and loving friendship!
The number one reason why dogs get put up for adoption, usually in the adolescent stages of life, is due to not being properly socialised at a young age and in turn being a problem for their owners due to their unwanted and antisocial behaviour. This statistic is incredibly sad and is always the fault of us humans not setting our canine friends up for a successful relationship with the human world! We highly recommend enrolling in a puppy school as soon as you bring your pup home! A good puppy school will have puppy pre-school especially for pups aged 8-12weeks. It is vital to expose your pup to as much stimuli as possible in those early weeks of age using positive reinforcers! Education is key to understanding our puppers behaviour and in turn you will be setting your pup up for a successful, social, happy life!