It’s really exciting to get a new puppy – but as well as fussing over the cute addition to your household, it’s vital to encourage the right behaviours and boundaries from the very beginning. This gives you the best chance of enjoying a proper companion when your pup grows into a dog.
One of the most important parts of this process is socialising your puppy to get him or her used to spending time peacefully and amicably with people, dogs and other animals.
If your puppy doesn’t have early contact with other beings, there’s a serious risk of nervous or anxious behaviour developing. This is often the main cause of troublesome behaviour that appears aggressive, such as snarling or even biting.
If your puppy is already displaying any behaviour that concerns you, please get in touch with the friendly team here at Rockingham Road Veterinary Surgery. We can register your puppy to get their healthcare on the right track and make sure you’re both getting the support you need.
You should start socialising your puppy as young as possible, ideally between the age of 3 and 12 weeks – although remember to be careful outside the home before your pup has had all their vaccinations, as they can be vulnerable to infection.
- Maintain regular contact with others until your puppy is at least one year old, so they don’t slip backwards in their progress
- Begin slowly, with gentle interactions that aren’t overwhelming (limit numbers)
- Make sure that children meet your puppy as soon as possible, so he or she can get used to any unpredictable or immature behaviour
- Let your puppy approach others voluntarily, rather than handing them around
- If your puppy avoids eye contact, holds their tail low or pulls their ears back, be wary – and consider obtaining professional advice
Remember, we’re here to help – not just with medical issues, but behaviour too. As our vet Paul says, a happier dog is more likely to be a healthier dog.