Is Puppy Socialisation Important for Your Puppy or Dog?

by | Dec 18, 2023

This is a question most of us ask when we have added a new family “member” into our household, is puppy socialisation important for your puppy or dog?

I have owned dogs who were my one and only and I have owned two dogs, three dogs up to five dogs all at once.

I have also bred dogs previously, so counting puppies I have had up to sixteen dogs in my household. The puppies were all house raised so that they would be well adjusted to having humans around them right from when they were born.  This pays dividends, big time!

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Back to our question, whilst I do believe it is very important for puppies to have a broad range of experiences in the world outside of your home to help them become desensitised to different noises, sights, and experiences, I also believe we should be very sensitive to our particular puppy’s needs and personality.

Some experiences can be overwhelming to some puppies, for instance…  if you take your new puppy to a beach and place your puppy at the edge of waves rolling in and out, even if the waves are really small, this sight can cause your puppy to pull back and want to retreat.

My advice would be to take every new experience with your puppy slowly and carefully, without forcing your puppy to do something that he or she is unsure of.  If you force your puppy in this unsure environment, you could make your puppy fearful of new experiences.  If your puppy, is unsure in this environment encourage your puppy to engage with you by way of a treat with you walking backwards encouraging your puppy to follow you. 

After all, following you is meant to be a rewarding and happy experience.

Whilst this is not socialisation with another puppy or an older dog, it is helping them to adjust happily with you in the outside world.

Is puppy socialisation important for your puppy or dog?  Let’s talk about human socialisation.  Whilst I have done this in the past as per suggestions by other well-meaning friends or trainers, I am not in favour of passing a new puppy around in a group of friends. 

People handle puppies differently, and some people do not hold puppies securely, putting your puppy at risk of trying to escape from a person’s arms when they are alarmed.  Once this happens, and I have witnessed this, your puppy could suffer severe injuries which would really put them off being comfortable with people.

On the positive side, if a person asks if they can hold your puppy for a short time, I believe it is best if this happens when you are sitting down together.  This way you can monitor your puppy’s response and once you see that your puppy is calm and accepting, this can be a wonderful time for both your puppy and your acquaintance.

What about a puppy’s socialisation with another puppy or another dog?  This can be a happy time for your puppy or dog providing you are aware of how this interaction is proceeding.  You need to be vigilant in case the puppies become over-excited and nipping occurs or if your puppy is becoming over the top with an older dog, the dog will most likely snap at the puppy, and this could create fear.

I prefer new puppies to be on a leash when they meet and give them the opportunity to say hello nicely for only a few seconds.  The same applies to a puppy meeting an older dog.

Once these meetings are proceeding in a calm manner, and if you are in a safe place, you could allow a very short playtime.   Some puppies play well together, some do not.

Sadly, I have seen dogs virtually wrecked for life when a bolder puppy barks at close range at them or when a puppy feels the need to defend itself.

Owners are then faced with a dog that becomes reactive and fearful making outside walks a nerve-wracking experience for both the owner and the dog.

On the positive, if the puppies play well together for short periods, and can play for short periods with an older dog, these puppies grow up to be well-adjusted pets.

It is simply a matter of being sensitive to your puppy and how eager they are to embrace life or take life in small steps.

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Until next time…

With Love, Success and Inspiration

Robin Oliver

www.robinoliveronline.com/blog

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With Love, Success and Inspiration,

Robin Oliver

Robin Oliver Pet Dog Training
Professional Dog Trainer

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