Puppies have generally come from a quiet environment, safely nestled in with their mother and the rest of the litter, however the world is a noisy place with many different sights and smells that your puppy needs to get used to. There is a window period of between 3 and 4 months old, where it is imperative for puppies to be socialised, so it is important to expose them to as many different people, experiences, pets and environments as possible. If this is not achieved, it will be very difficult to fix behavioural problems that could result later.
During this crucial period, expose your pup to short positive experiences with as many people of both genders as possible, especially children of all ages. Engage them with all your friends and neighbours and ask them to pop in and visit your puppy. This is usually not hard to do, as puppies are irresistible. Your pup must have exposure to people with helmets or hats on, as well as people on motorbikes, bicycles and skateboards etc.
Dog parks are a great place to take your puppy, as they need to be introduced to other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Through their interactions with older dogs, puppies will learn appropriate dog behaviour. Your puppy also needs to be shown other animals, such as cats, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and chickens etc. Puppies will be very inquisitive when meeting other animals and they should learn that it is incorrect to chase small animals and that they need to respect them. Never laugh when they chase another animal, just firmly but gently correct them.
Let your puppy experience different noises, like a loud household appliance or take him for a walk on the leash next to the road, to listen to the different traffic noises. Be with your puppy during all their new adventures, reassuring them that the world is a safe place.
The key part of socialisation is that all the scenarios to which you expose your puppy, should have a positive effect. It is possible for life long phobias to develop if your puppy is extremely frightened during any of these experiences.
A few sessions of Puppy School is the ideal way for your puppy to be exposed to all the colourful and noisy wonders of the world, in a controlled and safe environment.