Is your puppy or dog afraid of the hoover? Do they fight like a champion to get out at bath time? It turns out that a lot of these daily struggles can actually be avoided by good, early socialisation of your puppy.
When a puppy is still very young, before they're even 8 weeks old they begin to develop a sense of exploring everything around them. They become really inquisitive and curious. This is a period of their development when they're learning what they're comfortable with, the discover how they feel about everyday objects and noises.
This is why that this period of their life is the best time to introduce them to everything that could possibly frighten them later in life. This socialisation with everyday objects and noises while they're still young allows your puppy to get used to the loud noises and otherwise scary objects. It allows your dog to grow up to be friendly and outgoing, not scared and frightened.
How should a puppy be socialised?
During this socialisation period, it is key to introduce your puppy to these new situations gradually. Allow them to feel their own way into the situation and not be forced into it. Here's some key tips for making your puppy socialisation experiences good ones:
- Remember that socialisation must not be a bad experience for the puppy, if they seem scared or agitated, calmly remove them from the situation, don't comfort or console your puppy, doing this only confirms to them that there was actually something to be scared about and can lead to them developing phobias later in life.
- Build these new experiences slowly and together with your puppy, don't throw them into a room with loads of new puppies straight away, maybe lead them up to it by introducing them to one calm puppy first, and once they're relaxed, they can move on. You can give them occasional treats and praise to make sure that the experience is a good one for them.
- Be careful when allowing young puppies to play with other puppies, allowing the play to get too boistrous or violent can lead them to thinking that this is normal or OK. Supervise the play to keep it at a safe, calm level.