Welcoming a new puppy into your life is an exciting and a wonderful time, and as doggie parents we want to make sure they settle in safely and comfortably. Socialising your pup during the first year of their lives, especially when they are between three to 12 weeks of age is important because the experiences they have during this time will likely shape their character and personality in the future.
We’d advise creating as many opportunities as possible for your puppy to see other people, places and pups. Obviously be careful of overwhelming them and build their exposure gradually, but the more chances they have to experience situations positively, the more confident and happy they’ll be as they bound around in life! Here’s a few handy tips for socialising your puppy:
Meeting two-legged friends for the first time!
Most puppies are always curious and will enjoy meeting new people, and of course, who wouldn’t enjoy meeting a puppy? With that being said, it’s very important to not let your new pup get too tired or overwhelmed as they will not be used to having too many bodies around at first. Ask your friends and family to crouch down when meeting your puppy and avoid picking them up until they are more familiar with human touch. It’s easier for your pup to be able to approach a new person, rather than the way around - just like a toddler or a young child, this way you can be 100% sure that they are feeling confident to meet someone unfamiliar. Picking up puppies, especially when they are shy, could frighten them so perhaps wait a little until you know they enjoy this sort of interaction.
Opportunities to meet adults is very important for puppies during their socialisation. Be sure to invite friends around or take your pup with you when you go visiting. When at home, why not enlist the help of your postman or delivery drivers too, as this will help to build a positive association rather than them being seen as a threat. If there’s no children around, try to make sure there’s opportunities to meet them. Kids can act differently to adults and you want to make sure that your pup is comfortable around them. You can spot an anxious puppy by the way they avoid eye contact, hold their tail low or when they pull their ears back to look smaller. Remember whilst our young children may be a bundle of energy and want to play a lot, young puppies tend to tire easily, so do try and keep any interactions short with enough time for resting in between.
How to socialise your puppy with doggie playdates
Puppies learn how to interact properly by observing and spending time with other adult dogs of various breeds and sizes. It’s crucial for them to be introduced to as many dogs as possible so they can learn doggie social skills such as not putting their teeth and paws all over the other dogs, and how to communicate with them. For example, when little Gaby first arrived into our lives (and of course Poppy, Katie and Slipper’s!), she was initially very reserved, but slowly began to open up once she started playing with the girls. Soon enough she became the cheeky one 😉
Yes it’s important to let your puppy play with adult dogs, but if you feel the games are getting a little too rough, it’s best to intervene and encourage your puppy away from the situation. If your puppy is shy, make sure to hold them in your arms to make them feel safe, and avoid letting an older dog or other puppies frighten yours. Sometimes it’s a good idea to let shy puppies watch their surroundings from a distance initially so they are more relaxed, then gradually expose them to more things. You will know what’s best for your pup, as of course not all dogs are the same.
Should my puppy be exposed to other animals too?
Where possible - yes! We believe puppies should meet other animals such as cats, birds, horses and so on, especially if they are common where you live so as they are not frightened, or in some cases start to enjoy chasing them around the block! Perhaps give them verbal rewards if they are calm in these situations, or if they are above 10 weeks old, you can offer them some Poppy’s Picnic TASTY treats - yummy!
New places and new faces
Other than meeting new dogs, animals and people, it’s also equally important for your puppy to experience different environments such as parks, beaches, forests - or other public areas that you frequent such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, train stations or your workplace. This is the perfect opportunity for them to naturally become accustomed to different scents, sights, sounds and surroundings. It’s always worth making the extra effort to check that your pup is gradually being familiarised to car rides, traffic and busy cities where things can be hectic and much noisier.
You’re all set!
Congratulations on your new addition. Here’s to lots of sniffing and socialising! Everybody loves to see pictures of puppies, so please post your stories and photos of your adventures and tag our social media @poppyspicnic and add the hashtag #PoppysPals - sharing is caring!
Much love to you and your pup 😊