Introducing your puppy to the world
When it comes to ensuring that your puppy will grow into a friendly, well-adjusted adult dog, it’s important to get him or her socialising with other dogs and people as soon as possible.
Socialising - Sooner rather than later
The benefits of early socialisation cannot be overemphasized. Here’s the good news: it’s sure to be tons of fun for both you and your puppy. With first vaccinations being offered at six weeks, you can start taking your puppy out and about earlier than ever before. However, you should always try to build up your puppy’s ‘exploring time’ gradually to ensure he or she does not experience too much too fast.
Puppy and other people
As you know, not all people are the same so ideally you should try and introduce your puppy to different people of different ages during every outing. Again, be mindful not to over-stimulate your puppy with too much affection at one time as this might be a little overwhelming. It’s especially important to introduce your puppy to children, even if there aren’t any children in the house. Remember, puppies can become tired rather quickly, so moderation is important – best to keep these interactions short and allow your puppy some time to rest in-between.
Puppy and other dogs
One of the most important aspects of socialising is the introduction of your puppy to other dogs or puppies. Be sure to always check with the other dog or puppy’s owner beforehand if they are comfortable with the meeting taking place. Not all dogs are well socialised. A nasty experience and could have a lifelong negative effect on a younger dog. If all goes well, being around adult dogs is great for your puppy’s development. Your puppy will learn to respect his or her elders, even going so far as being "told off" by an older dog if a little over-excited.
Be mindful that your puppy does not become overwhelmed by a much larger, playful dog. The last thing you would want is for your pup to be frightened. To avoid this from happening, simply be on hand to crouch down and provide a safe haven if necessary.
Lastly, there's no reason why your puppy shouldn't meet other four-legged animals, such as cats, horses and even farm animals. Exposing him or her to as many animals as possible will pay dividends in ensuring your puppy grows into a confident, friendly adult dog.
Puppy and new spaces
During the socialisation process, familiarise your puppy with a variety of environments, sights and sounds. Introducing your puppy to the sights and sounds of the big city, the calmness of the countryside and the car travel in-between should be fun for both of you, but again everything in moderation.
For more detailed information regarding socialising, ask your vet who will be happy to recommend further reading. Furthermore, many vets facilitate puppy socialisation classes for puppies between the ages of 12 and 18 weeks old which are great ways to get your puppy’s socialising journey started.