You may have seen our recent Dog Training Instagram Post detailing our tips on how to socialise your dog properly, in order to avoid any unwanted behaviours when they are older. Well, the post got a lot of love, so we thought we would note down a few more helpful tips in our first ever Blog Post!
Socialising your dog is so important from the day you welcome your fur baby home. It's easy to make the mistake of thinking they're too young to start training, but actually, dogs learn quickly from a young age, and securing the correct behaviours when they are puppies is key.
You can start by introducing your dog to its immediate environment. Training basic commands indoors is a great start as your pup gets used to its name and home environment. Here are some exercises to practice at home before your dog goes out into the real world!
- Recall indoors with your dogs name
- Teaching your dog 'place', 'mat' or 'bed' - so your dog learns to stay put in one place
- Sounding house appliances and asking them to stay engaged or in one place (hoover, pans banging, washing machine) so your dog gets used to loud indoor noises
- Garden fun! Allow your dog to get used to outdoor smells, sounds and animals
Beyond the Garden: Practical Exposure to the Real World
It's time to level up. Socialisation isn't about playdates; it's about creating a dog who is cool, calm, and collected in any situation.
Visit the local pet-friendly coffee shops or stores, let your dog watch cars and traffic from afar, and take in all the different sounds when you're out and about. Socialisation is about exposing your dog to the world, so they grow into a confident, adaptable companion. Start small and build up exposure, so not to overwhelm your dog. One way of doing this is by starting far away from a distraction, and ensuring your dog is still engaged with you. Get closer and closer (for example, stand 100m away from other dogs/cars/shops) over time).
One way of knowing that your dog is confident and engaged around the distraction, is when they are fully engaged with you by using eye contact, and responding quickly to your demands.
Quality Beats Quantity: Tailoring Experiences for Your Pup
Quality learning experiences for your dog are much more effective than dropping them into the deep end (i.e, doggy day care). When it comes to interacting with other dogs and people, we believe that your dog should be able to be near, without having to interact. Having a dog that wants to play with every other dog, or interact with every person can be a recall nightmare! Here are our tips for perfect neutrality:
- Pick and choose who you allow your dog to say hello to
- Don't let strangers pet them (if you can help it!)
- If you want to let someone say hi to your dog, ask them to wait whilst you put your dog in a sit or engage with you first - try not to let your dog run up to others, or jump up
- If you want to go on a dog walk with others, ensure you go with dogs that are calm, neutral and collected, and won't encourage negative behaviours
Meaningful interactions build trust and ensure your pup becomes the cool, collected sidekick you've always dreamed of! Picture this: your dog meets their favourite playmate, and instead of chaos, there's a calm exchange of doggy pleasantries. How? Basic manners! It's important your dog can stay engaged with you whilst around other big distractions, like their best play mate!
As your dog hits the teenage years, socialisation remains just as important. Introduce new experiences – hikes, visits to pet-friendly spots, or chill sessions with calm adult dogs. Variety is key.
Lifelong socialisation is about ongoing exposure to new situations. Keep engaging your dog, maintain their adaptability, and ensure they can handle whatever curveballs life throws at them.
So, grab your lead, mix up the routine, and revel in the joy of having a pup who's not just well-behaved but ready to conquer the world with you.🐾