Your new friend’s been with you for a few weeks now.
You’ve done your best to stop them scratching the sofa or running around the sitting room like a bull in a china shop. But now you’re starting to wonder how best to get them used to the whole family, and all the dogs – and people – they encounter on their long walkies.
It’s going to be a long process, but getting your new friend used to all those it meets – two- or four-legged – is an important part of having your new friend in your life.
Top tips for socialising your pet
The process of socialising your new pet is all about making sure they know how to act and behave around other dogs and people.
Fortunately for you as a new puppy owner, the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust have put together a Puppy Socialisation Plan, which outlines all the key details you need to socialise your new friend the right way.
Here are a few of our own tips and tricks that you can use to make sure your puppy is the best behaved of them all!
Keep your puppy safe – the number one priority!
Keeping your new friend safe in their first few months in their new home is undoubtedly the most important thing to consider.
Buying a collar that fits your puppy should mean they’re comfortable and that you’ve got full control over them, especially important when you’re out on walkies! Having too loose a collar can easily lead to them running off, which – depending on how young they are – could end in them becoming scared of their surroundings.
This will shape how they behave in later life, and how they respond to their daily walks, so making sure their experiences in the first few weeks at home are good ones should be your number one priority.
A trip to the vets for vaccinations
Not part of the whole teaching process, but getting your new friend vaccinated – alongside a general health check-up at the vets – will allow you to really go out and about together.
The earlier on your new friend visits the vets, the more likely they are to view as a safe place, and not as something to be scared of. Making sure your pet sees trips to the vet as safe will make life so much easier as they get older, and visits become far more common!
Getting them used to the family
Making sure they meet the family as soon as possible will help them get used to the people it’s likely to see the most of. Even better, you could even let members of the family (gently!) handle your new pet, so that – as they get older – they’ll be completely at home with the kids playing around with them!
Introduce them to new things – but not all at once!
Introducing your new friend to new things and experiences is massively important in their first few weeks at home. The more new things they experience, especially events that will become routine as they grow up, the better they’ll be able to handle these things in the future.
But don’t give them all these new experiences at once! This could easily get them too excited, or even make them anxious, so it’s always best to limit the number of new things your puppy tries out in a day!
Other life skills your puppy needs to know
Of course, of all the things you’ll need to teach your puppy, it’s when and where to go to the toilet. You don’t want to keep finding unpleasant surprises indoors!
You can do this by simply repeating the process of taking your puppy outside when nature calls. That way, they’ll soon associate doing their business with being outside, and you should avoid any more accidents indoors!
You’ll also want to begin introducing your new puppy to older dogs, so that they’re aware of how to behave around them when they encounter them out on their walks. Keep your pup close-by just in case they get too excited or scared, but letting them mix with older dogs should help them adapt to regular walkies and make it an even more enjoyable experience for them.
Socialising your new puppy may seem daunting, but at the end of it you’ll have one very happy pet who’ll love being part of your family – so it’s worth the wait!