Tel: 01934 622022
Opening Times

Moor Lane, Weston-Super-Mare
Somerset, BS24 7LA

Puppy Socialisation

Our Veterinary Nurses run a 5week training and socialisation course for new puppies. The course is based here at Green Pastures and will cover basic training - lead walking, sit, down, stay & recall. They will give you the opportunity to discuss issues or problems with a qualified veterinary nurse. You will meet lots of other local people with new puppies and your puppy will get used to meeting puppies of different shapes and sizes. The focus is on fun - a game of 'pass the puppy' anyone? we aim to ensure your puppy associates a trip to the vets with lots of fun and the expectation of lots of treats! Two members of the family per puppy attending are welcome.

The course costs £40 and currently runs on a Friday evening between 7.30pm-8.30pm.

Class numbers are restricted so spaces are limited. Puppies must be under 16 weeks of age when they start the course & have had their first vaccination. 

What is Socialisation?

Socialisation is the process where the puppy learns about itself, its own species and the other species with which it will interact.  Your puppy will develop relationships with other living beings in its environment.  

Habituation is the process where the puppy becomes accustomed to their environment and numerous sounds, smells, sights and events.

Many behaviour problems seen are due to a lack of socialisation as a puppy.  The main socialisation period for dogs is between 3-14 weeks of age.  

It is essential to expose your puppy to as many different stimuli as possible during this time. It is a good idea to aim for one new experience each day, making this a gradual learning curve rather than 5 new events in one day!  Please see the socialisation checklist overleaf.

What You Can Do To Help

Your puppy will not be fully vaccinated until the age of 10 weeks, which doesn’t give you much time!  You can start before they are fully vaccinated as long as you carry them so they don’t touch the ground. If you have the opportunity, try to socialise your puppy in the house and garden with other vaccinated dogs or puppies.

Early handling and grooming by family members and visitors to your home will also be beneficial, as your puppy will be more sociable and less fearful of people as they develop.  When you are out with your puppy, people will say hello and this should be encouraged, especially if they look different to you and your family. Ask them to feed your puppy a food treat as a reward.

Coming to our puppy classes will allow your puppy to socialise with a selection of other puppies and people in a fun, safe environment.

Socialisation Check List

If your puppy is frightened by any of these experiences, resist the urge to comfort them, as this can seem to the puppy that fear is the right reaction and it is rewarded. Instead remain calm and try to ignore your puppy and they will soon learn to remain calm also. Let your puppy meet and interact with:

  •  Another Puppy
  • A large adult dog
  •  A small adult dog
  •  Teenagers
  •  Young children
  •  A baby
  •  Men and Women
  •  Someone wearing glasses
  •  Someone wearing a hat
  •   Someone using an umbrella
  •  Someone using crutches or a walking stick
  •  Someone in a wheelchair
  •  Someone very tall
  •  Someone very short
  •  A cat
  • A horse

Has your puppy had the following experiences?

  •  Travelled in the car
  •  Seen a tractor or lorry
  •  Sat outside a busy shop
  •  Visited someone else’s house
  •  Walked on a pavement or grassy areas
  •   Seen the sea
  •  Watched visitors arrive and leave
  •  Heard people having conversations
  •  Heard laughter and clapping hands
  •  Heard and watched the TV
  •  Heard the telephone
  •  Heard and seen the hoover
  •  Heard the washing machine
  •  Heard fireworks and thunder*..........*if it is the wrong time of year play them a video on YouTube.

How to deal with Play Biting

All puppies bite, it is a normal behaviour.  They are undergoing a natural learning process and it is your job to correct the behaviour and teach them that biting humans is not permissible.  It is important that they learn bite inhibition (how to control their jaw muscles) from an early age and ideally before 16 weeks of age.

Proactive Activities

  • Encourage games like fetch and retrieve, rather than tug of war or wrestling which can encourage biting and aggression.
  • Ensure that you initiate and ending all play sessions.
  • Attend socialisation classes for puppies to obtain vital interaction with other puppies (they will help teach bite inhibition).
  • Provide the puppy with a secure area where they are safe and secure and can have time alone eg a crate or enclosed bed

Never smack the puppy, scream, yip or yell ‘NO’.  This is very confusing for the puppy and it may learn that if you bite a human you must run quickly, or if you scream, (especially young children) the puppy will think you are very excited and continue to bite to please you.

A word that would be clearer to a puppy would be ‘AH AH’.  Other dogs within a pack set up would growl at the puppy as its teeth touched the skin and we can act out this by practicing ‘AH AH’.  Adults must start this off and once the puppy responds children may be able to copy.

If the puppy is extremely excited and ‘AH AH’ is not working then getting up, walking out of the room and ignoring the puppy is another solution.  Then they learn that when they bite, things become boring! 

It is very important that potential aggression problems are corrected as early as possible.  If you want any advice or questions answered do contact us

 

 


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