Dogs are pack animals, so they need to be around other dogs and humans regularly to feel happy. Not only is it great for keeping them cheerful, but it’s essential to their health. Their immune systems get a little boost, they are far less likely to suffer from anxiety, and they get better quality exercise when they can run and play with other pups, making obesity far less of a concern. Socialisation should start at a young age to get the best effects – that’s why pups shouldn’t be taken away from their mamas before at least eight weeks. Here are a few things to bear in mind when socialising your pup.
Keep their health in mind
You should start socialising your dog while they’re still young, but there are risks associated with this. For example, they might not have finished their full course of vaccinations, so they could be at risk of parvovirus when they come into contact with other dogs. Ensure you’re only introducing them to dogs you’re acquainted with, and whose owners your trust. Keep them off grass and mud as this can also transfer their disease. Obviously, whenever your dog comes into contact with other dogs, they’re at risk of catching fleas. There are plenty of pest deterrents on the market, so be sure to check out some flea and tick reviews to find one which will work for your pup. Keeping them protected from bugs and pests is essential, especially while they’re still young – they can cause great discomfort and irritation, and even pass on illnesses, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep an eye on them
As dogs are being socialised, they’re being put in situations which might be a little bit outside of their comfort zone. For this reason, they could act erratically as they get scared or uncomfortable, in which case it could be necessary for you to intervene for the safety of your dog and the other dogs or people around. Your dog should never be left unsupervised in new situations with new people or other animals, especially while they’re young.
Keep it diverse
From between the ages of three weeks and 12 weeks old, your dog gets most of its life lessons. For this reason, it’s crucial that they experience as many new things as they can in this time, as anything omitted could cause them serious anxiety after this age. Be sure to introduce them to people of all nationalities, races, ages and cultures – this is a surefire way to ensure they act appropriately around all people. Different locations and situations also matter – from busy roads to woodlands, cow fields to beaches.
Even once your pup gets older, their socialisation needs to be maintained. A dog which is well socialised up to 12 weeks old, which then becomes isolated, can go back to being a fearful and anxious dog. These dogs can be erratic, and a fearful dog tends to be an aggressive and unhappy dog. Keeping them socialised is the key to their happiness, and one of the main responsibilities of a dog owner.