Tips to make early puppy socialisation easy for dog breeders

early puppy socialisationA guide for making early puppy socialisation made easy

Early puppy socialisation is essential for raising confident and resilient dogs. But it can be a complicated and daunting task.

So we’ve put together a handy guide to make early puppy socialisation easier for breeders. 

What is puppy socialisation?

Socialisation is the process of exposing puppies to a range of sounds, textures, scents, and experiences. This, in turn, helps to reduce the likelihood of them experiencing anxiety in later life. 

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10 easy tips to make socialising your puppy litter more straightforward

1. Start early

Begin socialisation as soon as the puppies are old enough to safely interact with their surroundings. The critical socialisation period for puppies is between 3 and 14 weeks of age, so make the most of this time.

Starting later will definitely make your job much harder. So it’s key to start early (but not too early), to give the puppies the best headstart possible. 

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2. Don't push too hard

While socialisation is important, pushing a puppy to experience something that provokes fear can be detrimental to their confidence building. 

If a puppy seems fearful or worried, take a step back and give them space and time. You can always allow them to try again at another time. 

Puppies process new learning while they sleep, so a nap could be just the ticket to give them the confidence to be bolder next time.

3. Introduce your puppies to car travel

car travelling socialisation for puppiesThis is a key area of early puppy socialisation that dog breeders can forget about. The first journey to your puppies' new home shouldn't be the first time they spend in a vehicle. 

Gradually build the length of time in the car, day by day, until they are happy to travel. You can extend this by adding in the radio and opening the windows as and when you feel the puppies are ready.

4. Don’t forget to introduce your puppies to normal household items

Socialising your puppies doesn't require spending lots of money on toys and equipment. Think of the things they'll experience in normal daily life, such as:

  • the sound of the hoover, 
  • pans clanging in the kitchen, 
  • or even ringing the doorbell.

Through a gentle introduction to the movement, scents, and sounds of these things, your puppies will learn that they're no big deal.

5. Get your puppies used to the outside world

outdoor puppy socialisationWhile your puppies can't go out and about, you can still socialise them so they feel comfortable in the outside world. 

Spending time in your garden will introduce them to unfamiliar fragrances, sounds, and tactile sensations under their feet. You can also bring home items from your walks or from friends' homes to introduce new scents to your litter.

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6. Enlist help from people you trust

Involve friends, family members, and trusted individuals in the socialisation process. The more people the puppies are exposed to, the better they will be at adapting to different individuals and environments later in life.

7. Offer different surfaces for your puppies to explore

Giving your puppies the opportunity to explore different feelings beneath their feet is a great way to build confidence. 

From crunchy bags to cushions and cardboard boxes, all these textures provide novel feelings for your young pups. 

You can use a plastic step or a small ball pit to give your pups the chance to experience new things.

8. Make sure they’re socialised well to be handled

early puppy socialisation - make sure they're handled oftenYour puppies will need to be handled in ways that go beyond a little stroke on the top of their heads! 

Spend a few minutes each day getting them used to physical touch on their paws, gums, tummies, and all over. Setting them up to feel much more comfortable and confident when they see the vet or groomer.

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9. Make it a positive puppy experience!

Ensure that all socialisation experiences are positive and rewarding for the puppies. Use treats, praise, and play to create a positive association with new people, objects, and situations. 

This will help them build confidence and associate socialisation with pleasant experiences.

10. Consider a puppy play-date

puppy play dateArrange playdates with other friendly and well-vaccinated puppies. These controlled interactions with their peers will help the puppies learn appropriate social skills, bite inhibition, and body language understanding.

It is also a great way to add value to your litter overall. You’ll appeal to audiences with existing pets if you can confirm they’ve been socialised around other dogs/animals. 

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Where to start with early puppy socialisation?

Early puppy socialisation is a game-changer for raising resilient and confident pups who will grow into well-rounded adult dogs. 

It can feel daunting, especially if you’ve never gone through this process before as a dog breeder. However, by following these early socialisation tips, you can help your puppies build the confidence they need to enjoy their lives to the fullest.

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