Puppies are mostly obtained by their new owners around the age of 8 weeks. This is a very important age as it is during this socialisation period, a time from roughly 6-12 weeks of age, when puppies approach anything new with interest rather than fear. Try and purchase your new puppy as close to 8 weeks of age as possible for the above reason.
If puppies are from a home environment, then they will tend to witness all the normal household noises but if from more of a professional breeding establishment then they can be kept outside and may have less human contact. When you have the puppy at home try to introduce as many new noises and routines as you can. The hoover is a good example - play a few games and use it to chase the puppy around to make it fun. If you have friends that have dogs that are fully vaccinated and friendly, then it is a good idea to get them around for a visit. Similarly, if you don’t have children then having some around to be noisy and raucous is a great way to get puppy used to that sort of commotion! The other big ‘noise’ is fireworks- playing loud bangs on the tv/radio is a great way to introduce bangs and let puppy know that these are just noisy and not scary!!
It is important to start to teach puppy about a collar and lead. You can get soft puppy collars and putting one on at the start will get the puppy used to wearing it. Attach a lead and gently use to guide puppy round the garden before they are fully vaccinated to get them ready for walks.
Start to leave the puppy on its own for periods of 5 minutes, even if you just pop out into the garden. It’s important for your puppy to learn that you will always return to help reduce them developing separation anxiety later in life. Regular trips to the vet are also important too - even if it’s just a treat and a sit on the scales it helps to make the vets a friendly, not a scary place. Finally, regular short trips in the car are important to teach puppy not to be scared of the car and also combat any travel sickness.
The puppy socialisation period ends around 12 weeks. This can be before some puppies are fully vaccinated so getting vaccines done as early as possible is really important. Lead walks by busy roads get them used to traffic. Pub lunches in noisy busy pub gardens are great ways to get them used to lots of strangers’ attention.
All vet practices offer puppy classes and are a great source of advice for choosing the right breed and possible breeder. If you have any concerns pop into your local vets who will be more than happy to advise and guide you. Its better to do the homework work before puppy arrives home!
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