– The puppy should be acquainted with as many different stimuli (sounds, objects, smells…) between 8 weeks and 16 weeks of age (sensitive stage of socialization)
– 2nd sensitive/fear phase: from about 6 months to maturity (depending on the individual dog), in this period introduce or re-introduce the young dog to stimuli, always in a positive way.
– In a playful, quiet way
– Be constructive:
: * Start by keeping a distance from the stimulus, playing with dog and rewarding him for looking at you
* After a while you can bring the dog closer to the object/distraction/noise… providing the dog does not react
* Build up the intensity of the stimulus e.g. playing a CD of firework sounds quietly at first and then steadily increasing the volume if the dog is comfortable.
How to react if the dog is apprehensive or afraid:
If the dog barks or is restless you stand quietly and say nothing.
You must give confidence and support. This means that you can allow the dog to lean against you or you can put a steadying hand on him.
Too much talking / stroking, or giving treats when a dog is agitated may just confirm his fear!
Using an herbal remedy can sometimes be helpful to inqcrease the dog’s confidence.
What you should socialise your dog with:
. 1 People:
– Different nationalities
– Headgear, glasses, beards
– People with certain attire e.g. workers, postman, policeman,…
– Visiting crowded places (e.g. a market)
. 2 Pets:
– Visit a petting zoo
. 3. Household:
– Vacuum cleaner
– Audio CD
– Use various objects that make sounds (e.g. a bottle filled with stones, clicker , bottles tied together, tin cans , … )
– Create a path with many different types of material (twigs, pebbles, sand, walkway, matting, strips of cloth, paper…)
6: Socialization during walks:
– When out on a walk you encounter all sorts of things / situations that may be relevant to your dog, they will learn how to respond to new situations e.g.: joggers, other dogs coming your way, unexpected sounds, groups of children playing…)
– Passing traffic during a walk
– Car training
– Public transport: bus, tram, train, escalator..
– E.g. visiting a garden centre
9: Terrace / café:
– Teach the dog to sit quietly next to you
– Getting used to passers by and other dogs
– Vet visit (different scents, objects, waiting in waiting room …)
– Being handled by a stranger
– Checking teeth, paws, heart rate etc
.11. Becoming used to water:
– In hot weather: water games, swimming
– Becoming familiar with shower/bath/dog wash/hydro therapy areas.
– Handle the dog, checking and grooming ears, teeth, eyes, feet…
– Allow the dog to become familiar with grooming tools as well as being groomed.
– Wet wipes
13: Hot air balloons
– Visit a balloonist, at first keeping sufficient distance; allow the dog to become familiar with the sound and sight of large flying objects.
14: Toy balloons:
– A balloon that explodes during play.
15. Dog Sports:
If you are planning to train your dog for a specific sport it may be useful to allow your young dog to become familiar with the training terrain and the apparatus or training material used for the sport.
Social skills: learning to play under supervision
In a good dog school social play is often allowed at the end of the lesson, this gives us the chance to observe the body language and behaviour shown by the puppies
This must always be closely supervised by an experienced, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
By carefully placing complementary characters together all of the puppies can have a good time and a positive experience..
While playing you can also monitor the recall of your puppy, every time he comes up to you offer a really good reward and associate the behaviour with a cue (e.g. Good boy “come here”).
You then allow him to continue playing so that he learns that coming back to his owner does not necessarily mean that it is time to stop having fun or go home.
Do you have any comments or suggestions about socialization for dogs? Put your comments below!