Puppy 101: Taking Advantage of Socialisation Window
Much like humans, puppies have what is called a “socialisation window.” This refers to the period when they are most receptive to new experiences. So, if you want to have a happy, well-adjusted adult dog in the future, remember that the socialisation window starts before he reaches two months and essentially closes anywhere between three and five months.
With a well-behaved dog, you can look forward to having your furry buddy around you wherever you may want to go. So the earlier you can focus on socialising him, the better. The goal here is to start introducing your pup to new, positive experiences that’ll help him grow into a more stable, well-balanced dog.
How to begin the socialisation process
Start as positively as possible. Make all his interactions happy and joyful by offering up healthy and nutritious premium treats such as moo tubes by Farmhouse Pet Treats, or salmon skins by Healthy Dog Treats – and make sure you bring lots of these. So, if you’re going to a park to sit on a bench for the first time, you can try chatting up a few people there and let your pup have an encounter with them as well. Give these strangers a treat to give your pup when he behaves positively during each encounter. If your puppy becomes fearful or won’t take treats, try to reduce the frequency of these encounters until he feels comfortable enough to start taking treats again.
If you’re keeping track of the number of people your pup is exposed to on your regular explorations of the outside world (from your pup’s point of view), try to aim for 200 new people exposures before your pup turns four months old.
By the time he turns six months, he should ideally have had around 400 new people exposures already, and by the time he celebrates his first birthday, he should have had positive human encounters with at least 600 new people.
Getting used to other animals, and stressful situations
To socialise your pup with other dogs or animals, try not to do so in dog parks as he may have negative experiences with aggressive dogs, or even contract an illness. Instead, focus on socialising him when you have time to mingle with your friends, co-workers and neighbours with pets, or when relatives with pets come over for a visit. Training classes or puppy schools are also great places for socialisation with fellow
Consider potentially stressful experiences your pup may encounter in the future, too. Introduce him slowly to doggy day-care, vet clinics, and dog-friendly establishments (restaurants, malls) and events. He should also get used to particular sounds, objects and tactile experiences.
Just remember that during this period, anytime he feels uncomfortable or afraid, give him the distance he needs by removing him from the situation temporarily. Hold him securely in your arms, especially when you are headed to high-traffic areas such as supermarkets or main streets. He will learn more quickly and more efficiently if he knows you’re there for him to trust and lean on.