Is Socialising My Puppy Important?
Getting a new puppy is fun and exciting. But it is also a lot of work. There is so much we have to teach them – for example, where to go potty, how to sit down on command, and which places in the house they can and cannot access. Therefore, many owners ask themselves where to start. We strongly suggest to focus on socialisation. And in this article, we will explain why socialising your puppy is so important.
Why Is Socialising A Puppy Important?
Here at Fenrir, we believe that there are three pillars to raising perfect puppies. These are obedience, manners, and socialisation. Out of the three, obedience training is the least pressing aspect - because you can always teach new commands as your dog gets older. We feel that manners are more important than obedience, especially in a home environment. After all, having a puppy that is calm and polite in the house in all situations is wonderful. But teaching them many different commands does not guarantee such good behaviour in the home.
The Early Socialisation Period
Even more important than teaching your puppy manners, however, is socialising them. And the reason for this is connected with the canine developmental periods: Puppies move through different developmental stages on their journey to adulthood. We can think of these stages as windows of opportunity. They only occur once in a dog’s life. And once the dog has grown past a certain age, these time windows close for good. This is why it is so important to expose our puppies to as many different objects, animals, situations and circumstances as possible. Good breeders know this, and they proactively socialise their puppies from a very young age onwards.
The primary socialisation period starts at around 3 weeks of age, and lasts until 12 weeks. By the time puppies move into their new homes, they are already approximately 8 weeks old. This only leaves us 4 weeks before the window of the early socialisation period closes. And to take full advantage of these 4 weeks, we want to expose our puppies to as many stimuli as we can.
Once your puppy has received all of their vaccination boosters, they are free to explore the world together with you. To ensure their safety at all times, we recommend the Ragnar Training Leash and the Ragnar Harness. Both tools combine safety with functionality. The adjustable Training Leash allows for relaxed hands-free walking whilst keeping your puppy secured. Attached to this military-grade leash, your young dog can explore their environment without venturing too far away from you. In combination with the fully padded Ragnar Harness, this user-friendly leash is the perfect tool for taking your dog to many different locations. After all, socialisation never ends. And even though your dog will be 3 months old by the time they have received all their jabs, this does not mean that you should cease your socialisation efforts. On the contrary: Now, they can safely enjoy the great outdoors, and the many different environments that cities and suburban neighbourhoods have to offer. Also, they are now free to play with other friendly dogs, and to meet a wide variety of people.
Environmental socialisation is no less important than exposing your puppy to different humans, animals and objects. To optimally develop physically and mentally, puppies should be taken to a wide variety of locations – such as parking lots, beaches, riversides, gravel roads, field tracks, meadows, dense vegetation, and forests. To develop body awareness, young dogs have to navigate different surfaces and obstacles. Teaching them how to swim, and allowing them to climb over rocks, fallen tree trunks and through shallow creeks is great fun. Engaging in such enjoyable activities stimulates the puppy’s mind, and their body. It teaches them how to use their legs, and where to place their feet. And it also teaches them how to solve problems, and how to overcome any obstacles they might face later on in their lives.
The Ragnar Harness and the Ragnar Training Leash are perfect for engaging in such fun adventures with your young dog: The leash gives them enough leeway to explore, whilst the harness allows you to lift them out of ditches or deep water, should the need occur. With its practical traffic handle, the harness also gives you optimal control of your dog in busy environments, such as roads and pedestrian zones.
Tips & Tools For Safely Socialising Puppies
However, the immune systems of infant dogs are not yet fully developed. Most puppies receive their final vaccination boosters only at around 12 weeks of age. After that, vets typically recommend waiting another week before taking them out into public. Before they have developed full immunity, puppies can pick up life-threatening diseases such as Parvo. This can happen when they come into contact with the feces of infected dogs, or when they lick their paws after walking on contaminated soil . Therefore, please consult your vet before taking your puppy outside of your home.
Some examples for early socialisation measures that you can discuss with your vet include:
✓ Carrying your puppy on your arms, in a pouch or in a dog-rucksack, and letting them observe
✓ Different environments from this safe vantage point
✓ Bringing them to dog-friendly stores, gyms, restaurants or coffeeshops
✓ Taking your puppy to the homes of friends and family members
✓ Inviting men, women, children, and friendly, fully vaccinated dogs to your house
As we have seen, socialising puppies is extremely important for their physical and mental development. But socialising is not confined to puppyhood: Even adult dogs should be exposed to a wide variety of stimuli on a regular basis. In this way, we ensure that our dogs remain unfazed by whatever is going on around them. And only a dog that remains calm is able to look up to us for guidance and direction. Making socialisation an ongoing and enjoyable process is one of the best things we can do for our canine companions. Going out into the world to socialise our puppies and adult dogs has many benefits - both for us and for them: We get exercise, fresh air, sunlight, and we might even make new friends with other owners and their dogs. In any case, we hope you enjoy socialising your puppy, or your adult dog. And if you have any questions, we are here for you. Our entire Fenrir team is dedicated to helping you and your four-legged friend to living the best lives possible.