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:

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