Many owners believe that socialisation is allowing their puppy meets as many dogs as possible.
But it is so much more than that
Puppies need to learn about the living world, 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 puppies in their home and help them to gain confidence with daily, gentle, new experiences so that they are more likely to slot into their new home with few problems.
Their early environment can be crucial for some pups, if they have had limited experiences, maybe living in a kennel or stable, then moving to a new home can be a difficult time for them. They have so much more to cope with than a well-raised puppy.
But you can help by building their confidence with new experiences which 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 or sitting in a car park watching vehicles and shopping trolleys pass by.
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 as close as is comfortable for them. Keep the meeting brief and move on. Protect your puppy from bouncy, friendly dogs as well as aggressive dogs. Early scary experiences will have a lifelong impact and sometimes can cause pups to grow up to be aggressive when on the lead.
If you think enrolling on to 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 decide to take your puppy and you are concerned for them then intervene, help them out if they need it.
Try to make sure your puppy has one new enjoyable experience each day.
Finally do make sure they get plenty of rest; learning about the world can be exhausting.
And have fun!