Following on from my last post on socialisation, I’m going to use this post to look at just a few of the things I would want to socialise my puppy to. As far as importance go, these are all things which are important to me, I understand people have different situations and I will probably miss something out which would be priority #1 for other people, and likewise I will have things here which some people may wonder why I’ve included. As important as socialisation is, it is, for the most part, very much an individual thing. I say for the most part, because there are some situations that all puppies and dogs will (hopefully) encounter, such as veterinary offices (for their booster shots), other dogs (on walks and in training classes), and should all be socialised to.
For my partner and I, kids are an important one. I have five nephews; though (thankfully, when it comes to Christmas!) my partner is an only child, and we also have a god-daughter. Statistically, children are more likely to get bitten by dogs than adults. I like Janis Bradley‘s reasoning behind that (“If children are taught not to run around or run away from dogs, and especially not to do it while shrieking and flailing in their uncannily accurate imitation of wounded gazelles, most predatory responses will be prevented“). For whatever reason, it also seems that boys are more likely to be bitten than girls, which means it is especially important our puppy is good with kids.
After that comes men, as well as people in general. Since we frequently have friends and family over, its important that our puppy is OK with whoever we invite into our home. I singled out men especially, as it seems that whatever little boys do more of to get bitten, it continues into adolescence and adulthood. For anyone unsure about how to interact with dogs, I will post some links at the end of this post which I found recently on Jez Rose’s blog.
Livestock is another important one for us. Living in the Lake District, we fully intend to take our puppy out and about with us, and for walks when he or she is old enough, This means we’re going to come across cows and sheep, and the odd horse and pig too; so it would be nice to walk past animals in fields (or horses with riders) without stressing our dog out, and without stressing the other animal(s) too. As a big Border Collie fan, herding does intrigue me, and if my pup shows his or her herding skills, it’s something I wouldn’t be averse to trying, so he or she would need to be OK with the animals they were herding, be it sheep, or geese, or something else.
Living in the Lake District, crowds are important to socialise the puppy to, if anybody has been to one of the popular tourist areas of the Lake District on a sunny day, you will know exactly what I mean, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that at times it’s almost like being at Walt Disney World in Florida!
So, that’s some of the “big hitters” for puppy socialisation in my household, what about yours? What is the one thing you absolutely have to socialise your puppy to, or one thing you wish you’d socialised your dog to as a puppy?!