Helping your Puppy(May 27, 2018)
Socialisation is a term that is often used in dog training books, in dog magazines and by breeders and trainers. But what does it actually mean and how will it affect you as a new puppy owner?
Like human children, puppies are not born with the social skills that they require to live with their family, be that a canine family or a human one. The term "socialisation" in simple terms means the learning process that a puppy must undergo in order to learn key life skills to ensure that it is happy and confident in its environment, and can communicate effectively within its social group. We ask a huge amount from our dogs in their role as a companion animal, as not only do they need to understand humans and the human world, they also need to become fluent in the language of dog.
This involves having pleasant social interactions with adults, children, vets, adult dogs and other animals, as well as careful exposure to different situations in the environment like traffic, crowds, travelling in the car, vacuum cleaners and any sights and sounds it will have to cope with in life. It is so important that this is done thoroughly and correctly when your puppy is still young and he is young enough to happily accept new things.
The Puppy Socialisation Plan
Until now there was no definitive plan for effectively socialising your puppy, which was resulting in rescue centres seeing increasing numbers of dogs coming to them with behavioural issues that could have been avoided with proper socialisation. In order to counteract this, the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust have jointly devised a socialisation plan for both breeders and new owners to follow as a step by step guide - it is called the Puppy Socialisation Plan. Both the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust recommend the Puppy Socialisation Plan as an effective plan for breeders and new owners to prepare their puppies as best they can for life as family pets. It is simple to complete, and can be tailored to suit you and your lifestyle, so it is highly recommended that novice breeders and new owners follow the Plan.
It is critical that this is done from birth up to 16 weeks of age, otherwise important learning and development phases have passed. The Plan covers everything from getting used to household noises, to getting out and about and meeting new people and other dogs. Therefore, you need to plan and incorporate some extremely important life lessons during the early stages of your puppy's development, so that you end up with a well-balanced and sociable dog.
All of my dogs are happy to be with others and I make this key in introducing new dogs and having play time is very important.