We hear a lot about dog socialisation, and it really is essential. So why is it important to socialise puppies and dog? A well-socialised dog has a much better quality of life as they can go to many places, including coffee shops, off-leash beaches and on holidays. Having fun and a fulfilling time with their humans. Socialisation is more than just interaction with other dogs, it is the interaction with new environments, sounds and experiences.
Dogs who are accustomed to a wide variety of people, dogs and environments will also recover quickly if something scares them. They can deal more easily with new situations and stimuli. Depending on the age of the dog, there can be different reasons so socialise your dog, see below.
Puppies have what we call a ‘finite socialisation period’. What they have not seen by the time they are about 16 to 18 weeks old they might find scary. That is why we need to enrol them into a good puppy school as soon as you get them at 8 weeks and before they are 14 weeks old.
Once they are older than 14 weeks they are too old to socialise successfully and play off-leash with the other puppies in class. You might want to consider one of our classes for older dogs.
Older and rescue dogs – Enrol them in structured activities
Enrol them into our basic dog training class for teenage and rescue dogs so you get all the help to settle them in, educate and socialise them in the most appropriate way using best practice and science-based methods.
Another great way to meet other dogs and their owners is through taking up a dog sport such as Agility. We offer casual fun Agility classes. Many dogs really enjoy these activities. They have the added advantage of strengthening the bond between us and our dogs – dogs and owners who have fun together stay together!
Start at the beginning (not at the dog park)
Dog parks and off-leash areas are not the best places to start to socialise your dog. These are challenging environments, even for socialised dogs, and require all interaction between dogs to be carefully supervised. My thoughts on the dog park? Check this link. Initially, your dog should be introduced to other dogs at a puppy pre-school or daycare where interactions are well-managed and the dogs are set up for success. You should also continue to socialise your dog at a good teenage dog class. Well-run daycare centres with qualified staff can also make a huge difference to the successful socialisation of your dog.
At Goodog, we recommend puppy preschools that allow for off-leash interaction, teenage dog classes for ongoing socialisation, as well as daycare centres with qualified staff. Taking up a hobby in the form of the above-mentioned dog sports can make all the difference to the owner-dog relationship.