Give your puppy the best start in life by following a socialisation schedule. Take a look at the one below, put together by our vets:
- Puppies will be with their mother and littermates. They should be allowed to smell people (men, women, and children) from an early age.
- The breeder should let the puppy see and hear everyday household sights and sounds, such as the TV, vacuum cleaner, washing machine etc. The puppy should also keep meeting new people.
- Breeders can start grooming and gently examining eyes, ears, paws and so on, every day.
- Some puppies will be vaccinated at 6 weeks of age.
- The breeder should be allowing your puppy meet everyone in the family, including children and other people’s children. Puppies should enjoy playing and interacting with them. Ideally puppies will get used to meeting lots of different people.
- Puppies may also meet other common pets as well as babies, but contact should be supervised so they meet each other safely. Puppies should also meet older dogs.
- Puppies are usually transferred to their new owner at eight weeks. Get your puppy from a breeder where they have been among everyday sights and sounds.
- Ask whether your vet practice runs puppy socialisation groups (also called ‘puppy parties’) and, if not, ask where the nearest one is. This will give them a great chance to meet other puppies and get used to a range of other dogs. They’ll need to be fully vaccinated before going along.
- Get your puppy used to being in the car. Start off on the drive with the doors open and then gradually build up to taking short journeys. Offer a small treat when your puppy is calm and relaxed but don’t force them to take it as they might feel car sick at first. Make sure they're safe and secure in the car.
- It’s important that your puppy gets used to being without you. Leave your puppy for a few minutes at first e.g. while you’re making yourself a cup of tea. Gradually build up the time until they’re happy to be left in the house on their own for longer periods.
- Socialisation CDs are a great way to get your puppy used to noises that they will hear during their life. Lots of dogs are scared of fireworks because they never heard them during their socialisation period. By using a CD you can get your puppy used to noises like this so that they’re not scared later. Ask your vet for more information about these.
- Start reward-based training e.g. toilet training and coming when called.
- Continue socialisation training with new people and new experiences, making sure every experience is positive.
- Get your puppy used to wearing a collar and lead in your garden.
- You may be able to take your puppy for their second vaccination. Ask your vet when it will be safe for you puppy to start meeting other dogs and exploring away from home.
- If you vet says it’s safe for your puppy to go out and about, gradually build up the range of experiences away from your home, for example by visiting the local railway station and local shopping areas, seeing farm animals etc. Remember to stop if your puppy seems scared and not to overwhelm your puppy with too many experiences at a time or with experiences that are too intense.
15 weeks onwards
- Carry on like this until your puppy’s at least a year old, as your puppy’s learning will continue during this time. The benefits of good socialisation will stay with your puppy for life.