Socialisation is about forming relationships with all living things such as people, other dogs and animals.
Habituation is getting them used to everyday aspects of life. We want to aim to teach dogs appropriate responses to everyday things and situations that we as normal i.e. small children should be tolerated, bicycles and vacuum cleaners are not dangerous and do not need to be barked and bitten, other dogs are generally friendly and do not need to be attacked.
In the wild fear of new things is a valuable survival trait. Caution is needed around unknown objects, animals or situations as you do not know if maybe there is danger and may need to attack or run away. However you cannot run away from every rock, tree or other animal, you have to decide at some point what is normal and unthreatening.
The socialisation period is between two to sixteen weeks; puppies will be building a memory bank of what is normal and fearful/unpleasant. They develop communication skills with animals and people. As the pups get older they are more likely to investigate with caution and even fear.
We need to introduce our pups to a range of potential stressful situations in a positive light. If the pups show fear or anxiety, this is the time to work on overcoming the problems encountered.
The aim is to have a happy confident dog that can deal with all situations.
There is no limit to socialisation, the more experience, the more confident the dog will be in later life. Food or toys can be used to make the pup more comfortable experiencing new situations.
When your puppy plays with other dogs try to limit rough play. Rough play at an early age can teach your puppy that all dogs play like this and can cause unsuitable play requests towards other dogs that may not enjoy it.
Socialisation never stops; dogs continue learning throughout life, although at a slower rate as they get older. Frequent exposure is important as bad experiences can put them off something they were fine with as a puppy.
If you have any problems with fearful behavior please let us know.
There are many methods of toilet training a puppy, we recomend only using reward based training. Below are tips to help ensure toilet training goes as smoothly as possible.
Only use one method at a time, if you are using nerwspaper or puppy pads, be sure to take them away when you take your puppy outside to avoid confusion.
If you need further advice on toilet training, please give us a call.
A well socialized dog will inhibit its bite i.e. soft bite as a warning, rather that causing physical harm. In a pack environment it is not logical to harm another member as it can lead to a decrease in hunting ability, so less food can be attained. We aim to teach these puppies not to just inhibit their bite with each other, but to inhibit their bite with people also.
All dogs, if pushed hard enough in fear or pain will bite if they feel it is there only option. It is vitally important to teach dogs bite inhibition.
Puppies explore the environment with their mouths and all need to chew.
If you don’t teach inhibition and tell the puppy it can never bite, you:
Can make the dog think it is bad to have human hands near its mouth, which could cause problems if you are going to brush their teeth, give pills, during veterinary examination of the mouth or if you need to remove an unsuitable object.
Never teach them the strength of their jaws, which is dangerous as a dog in a situation which it feels needs to bite, will bite in a non inhibited way and can do serious damage.
We aim to copy how the puppies teach each other to bite
As you play with your puppy, he will probably get excited and start to mouth your hand.
Pick the pressure level of bite you are prepared to put up with.
When the puppy bites harder than your pressure level, squeal “ouch” loudly, pull back your hand and turn away from the puppy, wait a few seconds and resume play.
Gradually decrease the pressure allowed until only very gentle mouthing occurs.
Then you can say no to mouthing.
Slowly the puppy will start to get the idea that if I bite hard the fun stops, some puppies catch on quicker than others and a lot depends on how consistent you and your family are with the pressure level and the squeal.
Young children should never practice bite inhibition exercises as puppy bites can hurt and injure. Ask Children to cross their arms and call for help as flapping and running may encourage the puppy to become more excited.
Puppies will get over excited and can often become very difficult to communicate with. If they are biting at your legs it is very difficult to use the bite inhibition techniques. You can use ‘sin bin’ method. When your puppy is over excited use the command ‘sin bin’ and put your puppy in a neutral area for abut 1 min, then release them. You must use an area the pup does not eat or sleep or play to get the best impact, never use their crate. This teaches the pup there are consequences to over excited play and the fun will stop.
If you need further advice please call us.
Andersons Veterinary Practice
125 Bromley Common
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Consultation by Appointment
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0208 460 7222