Congratulations on bringing a new puppy into your life! If your goal is have a happy, well-behaved dog, then early socialisation is vital! Socialisation is an important part of your puppies development it is the process of introducing your puppy to the world in a way that will help him be confident and well adjusted in all situations.
The most critical socialisation window occurs before the age of 12 weeks, and that window is considered to be closing by 5 months.
Puppies need to be exposed in a pleasant way to the following things. Remember it can be a gradual process! You don’t expose your puppy to everything at once, and please please do it in a way that is not forceful or overwhelming. After all the goal is that the puppy has positive experiences, not neutral or bad ones.
Here’s a socialisation checklist that can help you and your puppy:
Socialising your puppy with people
- Children of all ages
- Adults, both men and women
- People of different ethnicities
- People with hats, glasses, facial hair, etc.
- People with crutches, wheelchairs, canes, etc.
- People on motorbikes, bicycles, scooters, etc.
- People wearing sunglasses, hats or helmets
Socialising your puppy with other animals
- Friendly healthy dogs
- Other puppies
- Other pets, including cats, guinea pigs and rabbits
- Livestock (Horses, goats, cows etc.)
- Wild animals in your area
Exposing your puppy to different places
- Veterinary clinics
- Pet stores
- Other people’s homes
- Car parks
- ponds and rivers
Exposing your puppy to different noises
- Vacuum cleaners
- Hair dryers
- Rain and thunderstorms
- Rubbish trucks
- Dogs barking
- Loud tools
- Loud speakers
- People knocking on the door or doorbells
- Kids playing
- Babies crying
Getting your puppy accustomed to being handled
- Checking their ears, mouth, teeth and gums
- Handling and trimming their toe nails
- Holding puppy in your arms
- Giving puppy a bath
- Drying them with a towel
- Brushing their coat
- Touching the collar
- Putting on a harness
Exposing your puppy to different types of surfaces
- Grass (wet & dry)
- Gravel, stones or pebbles
- Metal Surfaces (Manhole Covers or Vet Scales)
- Hard wood floors
- Wet surfaces outside
- Steps or stairs
For more ideas on how to socialise your puppy, check out our post How to socialise your puppy: 8 tips for properly socialising your puppy.