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Puppy Socialisation and Exposure

Puppies need to have as much exposure to the outside world as possible BEFORE 16 weeks. There are many things that humans don’t give a second thought to seeing, and puppies often find these quite daunting, which may seem cute, but as your dog grows, they need to be able to mentally cope with seeing new sights, and sounds, and become confident to move through the world without fear. Longer term this makes your dog happier and more content if they are used to seeing new things and not being frightened.

Introductions to new sights and people should be done slowly at your pup’s own pace. The use of positive reinforcement should ALWAYS be used. When your puppy walks towards the new experience without fear, use a treat to reinforce this behaviour. If introducing to a new person, have them give your puppy a treat.

If you puppy finds the new experience too daunting, allow them to retreat and perhaps let them observe from a distance before trying again. If you push them too hard, it may cause them to shut down completely.

Regular visits to groomers or veterinary clinics are recommended, without being given any treatment, to show them that visits to these places do not always involve injections or procedures. Have veterinary staff give treats, place them on the scales, give pats and then leave. These visits do not need to be long, in fact short and sweet is better!

If the experience is noise related, walk your puppy NEAR the noise and treat whilst you do so. You could also sit close by and give them treats as well to reinforce that noises are okay and won’t hurt them. There is also a wide array of recorded sounds you can find on Spotify/Apply Music etc that are available for download that you can play quietly in the background until your puppy is comfortable, and then increase the noises higher and higher until they would be at a level your dog would normally hear them at. Remember your puppy will also feed off your anxiety, so if you act as though these noises are normal and you are unbothered, your puppy will see this and act accordingly.

60 things to expose your puppy to:

  1. Alarms
  2. Babies crying
  3. Dogs – lots of dogs, all shapes, sizes and ages!
  4. Cats
  5. Birds
  6. Small mammals – rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens etc
  7. Different food bowls types, ceramic, metal, plastic etc
  8. Cheering
  9. Doorbell sounds/Door knocking
  10. Thunderstorms
  11. Fireworks
  12. Wind
  13. Rain
  14. Groomers
  15. Hair dryers
  16. Hammering
  17. Vacuum cleaners
  18. Lawn mowers
  19. Whistles
  20. Brooms
  21. Open and closed umbrellas
  22. Power tools
  23. Truck/Bus sounds
  24. Smoke alarms
  25. Planes/Helicopter noises
  26. Being alone
  27. Kids of all ages
  28. Touching their ears
  29. Touching/opening their mouth
  30. Touching their paws
  1. Wheelchairs
  2. Mobility scooters
  3. Pushbikes
  4. Motorbikes
  5. Crowds of people
  6. Postman/couriers
  7. Car rides
  8. Different floor surfaces
  9. Baths/Swimming
  10. Beaches
  11. Cafes
  12. Dog kennels
  13. Veterinary clinics
  14. Emergency services sirens
  15. Male/Female voices
  16. People walking past your house
  17. Elevators
  18. Mirrors
  19. Nail clips
  20. Ear cleans
  21. Loud music
  22. Bring brushed
  23. Strangers
  24. Giving tablets
  25. Door slamming
  26. Weight checks on scales
  27. Wearing a harness/collar/lead
  28. Brushing teeth
  29. Stairs
  30. Hoses
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