Puppy Socialisation: What are the benefits?
The importance of puppy socialisation can sometimes get overlooked. Socialisation is a bit different than your standard sit, down, stay training. Instead, socialisation is the process of getting your puppy used to their environment, people, and other animals they might come across in their day-to-day lives.
The welfare of the puppies we work with is always at the heart of what we do at Paws in Work. That’s why we’ve gathered everything you need to know about puppy socialisation and its benefits here!
4 benefits of puppy socialisation
1. Helps with fear periods
Fear periods are a normal part of a puppy’s development. Typically, there are two fear periods — the first at around 8 - 11 weeks old and the second somewhere between 6 - 14 months old. These periods usually last 2 - 3 weeks and are characterised by more fearful and extreme reactions to various stimuli.
Your puppy may have been comfortable in a given situation, only to now react fearfully or aggressively. They might be suddenly afraid of men with beards, cats, or black dogs when they were never bothered by these things before.
But don’t worry, this is completely normal! You just need a little management to guide pups through these fear periods. Controlled and supervised socialisation is a fantastic tool for these fearful periods.
2. Fewer behavioural issues growing up
A well-socialised puppy leads to a well-adjusted dog. Introducing your puppy to different scenarios and environments early on increases the chance that your dog will grow up to be a well-behaved pet that is a joy to be around.
The more experiences you give your puppy as they grow up, the less likely they will react with fearful, aggressive, or otherwise bad behaviour when encountering something new.
3. Boosts their confidence
Introducing your puppy to many different people, animals, and situations boosts their confidence. Allowing your puppy to interact with other people and dogs in a controlled, supportive environment teaches them not to fear these encounters when they happen in the real world. The better dogs are socialised when they’re puppies, the more relaxed and friendly they’ll be when meeting new people and animals for the rest of their life.
4. Teaches them to cope with busy or stressful situations
Puppies and dogs can get overwhelmed in busy or stressful situations. Lots of people, loud noises, and just the general hustle and bustle can quickly become too much for dogs and cause them to react poorly.
Early socialisation will give your dog the tools to handle overwhelming, busy, or unpredictable situations without becoming stressed and fearful.
And good socialisation helps them stay calm in exciting situations too! Instead of showing fear, some dogs display uncontrollable excitement in new situations. Proper socialisation can help them learn to settle down when faced with something new and different.
What is controlled socialisation?
Now we’ve talked about why socialisation is so important, let’s touch on how you should socialise your dog. Improper socialisation can teach bad habits and lead to behavioural problems down the line.
It may seem counterintuitive (and even a bit mean!), but you don’t want your dog to spend too much time playing and bonding with other dogs, especially stranger dogs. If your dog spends a lot of time playing with dogs at the park when they are young, it can teach them to approach any dog they see and stop listening to you.
Put structured, controlled socialisation sessions in place with the intention of introducing your puppy to new people and situations without allowing them to become too involved or excited.
Let’s get socialisation right together
At Paws in Work, we put on events designed to socialise puppies the right way. Our events introduce young dogs to new people, environments, and other puppies so they can gain lots of new experiences.
If you’re a breeder looking to socialise your litters consider joining our database of breeder partners! And if you’d like to have some cute pups visit your workplace, get in touch today and let’s start socialising!