Unfortunately for us and our pooches we don’t live in a perfect world free of negative, frightening and new experiences.
As dog owners we aren’t always able to protect them from these experiences but we can help our mate to be exposed to a variety of different situations to prepare them for whatever they might encounter in their life time. Teaching a dog how to cope with stress in a calm and acceptable manner is one of the most important and valuable lessons your pooch can learn. When we bring a dog into the home, they want to be a part of our lives as much as we do. But if your new pet hasn’t learnt how to greet guests into your home or make friends with other dogs at the dog park, it’s almost impossible to completely allow them to be a part of your everyday life.
Most dog owners have heard of the period of time a puppy is most sensitive to socialisation.
This is between approximately weeks 3 and 12. This means that both positive and negative experiences can have a lifelong effect on the puppy’s ability to socialise in a healthy manner. Dog owners are urged to take their new dog to puppy training and other safe events where both people and other dogs might be, but avoiding dog parks and other areas that may have unvaccinated dogs in attendance. As important as this window of opportunity is for a puppy, socialising should continue well into adulthood and regularly throughout a dog’s life. It’s not uncommon to hear of a dog being well socialised as a puppy but became aggressive and fearful later in life. This is generally because the dog hadn’t socialised regularly enough or stopped completely causing the dog to lose the skill to socialise.
There are many ways to incorporate socialisation into the everyday routine of your dog. These include:
- Regular walks around the neighbourhood, provided they get the opportunity to meet, walk past and/or see other dogs in the process.
- If your dog is already social, regular visits to an off leash Dog Park is a great way to continue to socialise and continue to learn appropriate play.
- Arranged play dates with other owners and their dogs. Although ultimately meeting different dogs with different play styles, temperaments and characters will give a dog a more varied experience and exposure.
- Giving your dog the opportunity to regularly attend a dog day care centre is an ideal way for your dog to have the opportunity to socialise with dogs of many shapes and sizes in a safe, interactive environment.
The happiness of our beloved pooches is important to us all and a dog that has learnt the art of socialisation is generally a more confident, well adjusted, happy dog. To teach our dogs to socialise is one of the most important gifts we can offer them giving them a quality of life they may have missed out on.
For more information about Dog Day Care please go to our Services page Dog Day Care!