Socialise, Socialise, Socialise

Puppies need to be socialised and habituated to the things they may find strange later in life. Taking your puppy to puppy classes is great, but your responsibility does not end there. Once your little fluff ball has had all his vaccinations, ensure that he meets many different people and items, which we may take for granted. These may be anything from flapping laundry to motorbikes or a bearded man.

These people, objects and occurrences may seem quite normal to us, but if your puppy has not experienced them at a young age, he may find them daunting later in life. If your adult dog encounters a new object, situation or different type of person, it is far more difficult for him to tolerate or accept it.

The reason for this is that animals have an ‘acceptance cut-off time’. In order to survive in the wild, animals need to react quickly to danger. They must view strange objects with suspicion. There is no time for pondering…

When dogs are between five and sixteen weeks of age, their acceptance diminishes and caution and fear grow. After this it is very likely that they will react to all new people or objects they come across, but they can be helped to understand that these items and people are not a threat. A confident and accepting dog is one who has met many people and had a wide range of experiences.
If your puppy is anxious or barks at new situations, find a good dog trainer to assist you. It is much easier to change the way your dog views the world at a young age than later in his life. Act now and help your little one understand that the many strange items he comes across, need not be a threat.