Many owners believe that socialisation is making sure their puppy meets as many dogs as possible.
But it is so much more than that
Puppies need to learn about the living world, which includes people, cats, cows, sheep, dogs, swans, horses etc. There are different shapes and sizes in all of the above.
They also need to learn about ‘stuff’, wheelie bins, doorbells, vacuum cleaners, hot ovens, stairs, cars, smoke alarms and so on
Good breeders raise the litter in their home and help them to gain confidence with daily, gentle, new experiences so that they often slot into their new home with few problems.
Their early environment can be crucial for some pups, if they have had limited experiences, living in a kennel or stable, then moving to a new home can be difficult for them to cope with.
Building your puppies experiences each day can be as simple as putting their food into several pieces of scrunched up paper in a cardboard box or taking them out to sit on your lap to watch the world go by. It could involve a car trip to a local pet shop.
The most important thing is that your puppy enjoys the experience. If you watch they will show how they are feeling.
It is good sign if your puppy has a relaxed face and is taking treats happily. Yawning and mouth-licking usually mean that the puppy is anxious not, as many people think, tired and hungry.
Particular care needs to be taken with puppies when meeting other dogs to make sure that they are not worried or have a bad experience. Make sure that the dog wants to meet up, ask the owner to have them on lead so that you can allow your puppy to approach, on lead, as close as is comfortable. Keep the meeting brief and move on.
If you think joining a puppy party might be useful then visit without your puppy so that you can be sure that pups are carefully supervised and it is not a free for all. If you take your puppy and you are concerned for them then do intervene, help them out, you are their protector.
Some puppies seem to thrive on new experiences whereas others can find it all a bit too much. Make sure they get plenty of rest between experiences as coping with all the world has to offer can be exhausting for them.
Try to make sure your puppy has one new experience each day, it is as important as taking a walk. Have fun!