Myrtleford Times

Puppy socialisat­ion

- With Amy Brown, Wangaratta Veterinary Clinic

GOT a new puppy? Socialise! When getting a new puppy there are many things you need to consider to keep them happy and healthy as they grow into adult dogs.

This includes the very important time in your new puppy’s developmen­t, known as the ‘Socialisat­ion Period’.

So what is it?

The ‘Socialisat­ion Period’ is a critical time that occurs in the puppy’s life between the ages of three and 14 weeks.

This period is the time where puppies form social relationsh­ips and form both good and bad associatio­ns.

Hence what occurs during the socialisat­ion period has long lasting effects and can be the beginning of many future problems.

It is important that during the socialisat­ion period you expose your puppy to lots of new experience­s.

These experience­s must be positive for the puppy, rewarding and nonthreate­ning.

Through this, the puppy will develop positive associatio­ns.

Enrolling in a puppy class is a fantastic way for your puppy to be exposed to these positive experience and it can be a fun learning experience for owners.

As well as puppy classes, remember to introduce your puppy to family and friends and any of their pets too.

However, whilst your puppy is still getting their initial vaccinatio­ns, they should only socialise with other dogs who are up to date with their vaccinatio­ns.

As your puppy begins to make friends, be careful not to inadverten­tly expose your puppy to a negative socialisat­ion experience.

An example of this might be forcing your puppy to play and interact with another dog or person that is clearly causing your puppy distress, this can be counter-productive.

So get out there in to the big wide world and have fun with your puppy. Contact your local vet for more informatio­n about enrolling in their first ever puppy class.

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