Getting Socialisation Right!

Socialisation… that famous word when it comes to puppies!!! Today I’m going to explain why you shouldn’t get too hooked up on it. SAY WHAT?!

So you may have seen those check lists

Has your puppy met:

  • 10 different men preferably with moustaches or baseball caps or both,
  • 10 different women,
  • 10 different children,
  • 100 dogs of all shapes, sizes, colours and breeds,
  • 30 cats, a pig, a goat, a horse, a cow, someone carrying something,
  • scrap that, actually carrying ALL THINGS,
  • a car, a bus, a train, a plane, a llama, a zebra… I’m just kidding, but you catch my drift!

Although well intentioned socialisation checklists are minefields, let me explain why. You see, people can get obsessed with the task of the check list and ticking off the items, so then socialisation turns into a game of scavenger hunt.

Shoving your puppy next to something or into a situation and rejoicing (‘hurray we can tick THAT off the list!’) that they have been socialised to that thing can be counterproductive. How did your puppy feel about the experience?

Quality over Quantity

Socialisation is important, don’t get me wrong, BUT, it should be quality over quantity. It’s all about the experience your puppy is having, not about ticking off things from a list!

  1. If they are scared, leave it, don’t force it. It’s ok for them to be scared of stuff. It’s feedback for you that whatever it is is too much right now and with some confidence games maybe you’ll revisit that another time soon.
  2. If they are getting too excited or frustrated, again, leave it, and know that some games involving calmness and self control are needed in order to help your puppy in certain situations.
  3. If they are really enjoying the experience and remain level headed, roll with it, calmly reward and verbally praise them.

100% go out and socialize your puppy but make it an organic experience that is natural and not forced and always watch to see how your puppy is coping with the experience. And remember to always have in your mind: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY!

Check out more of my Thursday Training Tips HERE.

kelly-murrellAbout the Author: Kelly Murrell helps out with some of the work in the office at Devon Dogs, particularly with marketing and advertising. She used to work in the office at East Bowerland Farm, and recently moved to Vancouver Island, Canada with her husband. She is an avid dog trainer and regularly posts dog training tips for Devon Dogs, Bowerland and Progressive Paws.

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