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Puppy socialisation

The most important period for your puppy to meet lots of people and other animals, especially other dogs, is between 3 and 12 weeks of age.  However, the process begins at birth and continues throughout your dog’s entire life.  The breeder should begin this process by allowing men, women and children to visit the pups regularly.  A pup raised by a single lady who has never met a man until he is 14 weeks old will be naturally wary of men and more likely to develop a fear reaction.  Once your puppy is brought home continue the process by inviting round all your friends and their children.  Allow them to pick puppy up, play with him and give him treats.

Your puppy should also continue meeting other dogs. Although there is a slight risk until after he has had his second vaccination at about 10 weeks of age, allowing him to mix with vaccinated dogs in your garden will reduce the chance that your pup will develop antisocial behaviours towards other dogs.  From 11 weeks he can start going out and mixing with lots of other dogs.  Try not to be too protective and allow him to interact with dogs in the park where he will probably learn a few lessons in dog etiquette.

Although your puppy cannot walk around outside safely until a week after he has completed his primary course of vaccinations he can be carried around outside.  It is important to introduce your puppy to all sorts of stimuli that he will be expected to cope with throughout his life in a domestic environment.  These should therefore include; cars, buses, trains, tubes, airplanes, fireworks, motorbikes; and in the home; hairdryers, hoovers, washing machines, hats and glasses, helmets, the television etc.  The list is endless!  Puppy needs to have a positive experience to avoid developing fear reactions in the future.  So if he appears fearful, remove him from the stimulus but avoid comforting him as this reinforces that there was something to be scared of. Then re-introduce the stimulus at a lower intensity e.g. look at traffic through the window.

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