New Owner & Puppy Socialisation Programme
The world is a new and fascinating place for your new puppy, not only will your home be new to him, but many of the things he encounters will be things he is meeting for the first time. It is important that your puppy gains experience of these new things in a safe and controlled environment which will allow him to build confidence and satisfy his curiousity.
Our friend Kerri Bee has created this handy socialisation programme, available for you to download here.
How to Use the Socilaisation Programme
Download the socialisation plan, and print or photocopy for use each week. Tick each experience as you go along and each week evaluate all the charts together and address any gaps. The most critical period is up to twelve weeks so carry your puppy where he cannot be put down and get as many experiences as possible introduced gently without overwhelming the puppy by 12 weeks. Use small tasty treats (e.g. cooked chicken) to turn neutral experiences into positive ones.
Active, conscious socialisation should continue until the puppy is at least twelve months old, preferably eighteen months and for some breeds and individuals with specific needs, socialisation may need to continue longer.
Many aspects of the plan will happen daily, naturally and some will need to be sought out on a regular basis. Whether an experience should be daily or weekly or fortnightly is a matter of common sense plus assessment of what that puppy needs to know for his adult life. If gaps appear in your programme, look at the area and assess. For example if your puppy has had no experience of boats and it is winter and you intend to go sailing next summer, NOW is the time to get your puppy accustomed to boats, starting in dry dock. On the other hand if your puppy has had no experience of grooming parlours and is a whippet, you won’t need to worry about that.
All dogs need to be socialised with dog educated children whether or not they live with them.