What is socialisation

We often think that “socialising our puppy” means to bring them to a dog park and let them play with other dogs, but it’s not that simple. Socialisation in humans looks like that – dinner parties, clubs and bars, concerts, meetups, etc. For puppies, it’s not just something they do on the weekends or around the water cooler at work, it’s more of a behavioural vaccine. 

A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognise and combat pathogens, either viruses or bacteria. Consider fear and aggression as “pathogens” and the “vaccine” is safe and properly executed socialisation. While vaccines are not 100% effective, they are certainly better than 0% effective, right? Let’s build your puppy’s emotional immune system. 

The Primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior.  

-American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Position Statement on Puppy Socialization.Click here to read.

We have a tiny window in which to work, so let’s throw the book at it. 

What about training?

Forget it. Seriously. You have your dog’s whole life to train them to sit, lie down, come when called, and do tricks. Right now, your dog needs urgent care in this department and it’s going to pay off tenfold down the road when you see the fruits of your labour and have stable, social dog. 

But my puppy isn’t afraid of anything!

Awesome! That’s great news. We never want to see fear at a young age, but this doesn’t mean it won’t develop over time. You have a lot of prevention to do, so don’t get suckered into thinking  just because Fido isn’t freaking out at the vacuum now, that he never will. Just because Fluffy loves all people and dogs now doesn’t mean she won’t be barking and lunging at them when she gets through adolescence. 

Why is socialisation so important?

Let’s find out.