Written by Colin Seal
Socialising your new puppy is very important to prevent the development of unwanted or bad behaviours such as dog aggression, separation anxiety, and nuisance barking.
Today, I will share my takeaways from my TDLTV interview with Gaz Jackson… and these are the first crucial things you should do when you get a new puppy - all part of proper puppy socialisation.
Gary “Gaz” Jackson is an internationally-acclaimed Australian dog trainer who has written lots of great books about dog training.
He strongly educates people, planning to get a new puppy, that they should not take a puppy from the litter before reaching 8 weeks of age.
Because if you do, the puppy will become extremely dependent on you as the new owner and this will lead to severe dog behavioural problems - later in the dog’s life.
This causes disruption in the rank structure as the puppy perceives it - if you have other dogs or children, your new pup will think that he or she ranks higher than your children or other dogs in the pack.
As your new puppy grows old, he or she will then establish leadership - doing nothing with the “lower members” of the pack, may become arrogant to your children, the pup will most likely ignore them... and even stand in between you and your kids or other people.
Some dogs who have developed this kind of problem even urinate in children’s bedrooms and roll on their items just to place their odor and show dominance and possession.
Worst cases lead to aggression towards children and other dogs in the household due to this dependency problem and incorrect rank structure caused by letting the dog sleep in the bedroom during the first crucial weeks of socialisation - between 8 to 16 weeks of the puppy’s age.
The best thing that you can do is get your new pup his or her own dog bed or crate and put some sweaty shirts of the family members so the puppy can start recognising each individual scent.
To do this, as Gaz Jackson recommends, put the puppy in a crate (especially when in a high traffic area of the house) so you can easily move the pup from one place to another in your home while providing optimum comfort and sense of security.
Also, you may want to put the sweaty shirts inside the puppy’s crate as well. So, your new pup can continue recognising the family’s scent.
This is one of the best ways to get the puppy as independent as possible - let your new pup relax at certain areas in your house or in the backyard - alone or with his/her sibling dogs (so long as they are well and fully vaccinated) or with your kids.
By teaching your puppy to become independent, you are preventing the development of separation anxiety when he/she gets older.
Separation anxiety is one of the main causes of nuisance barking which leads you to even bigger trouble in the neighbourhood.
People who have dogs that disturb the peace in the neighbourhood through nuisance barking have faced a large amount of stress and even dealt with shire rangers.
The reason being is that the first crucial weeks of a puppy’s life (between 8 to 16 weeks of age), the best time to socialise the pup, is also a critical stage for the puppy’s health and immunity.
This is their vaccination period and most vets will advise to not let the puppy make contact with other dogs and even people if they are not fully vaccinated yet - that you should not take your puppy to public places.
This is reasonable but it grabs the puppy’s chance to experience the world outside the comfort of your own place.
So, Gaz Jackson strongly recommends seeking for other ways to socialise your pup without compromising his/her health - avoid highly contaminated areas such as dog pounds and dog parks.
You can bring your pup to soccer games, or to malls that allow pets if you carry them inside. There are lots of other ideas to hone your pup’s social skills with other dogs and other people in a clean, safe and secure manner.
Such as inviting trusted friends, with fully vaccinated and friendly dogs, over your place or in a dog-friendly coffee shop.
Ultimately, you need to start putting a bit of thought on how you can help your puppy become well-socialised and fit the plan in your daily or weekly schedule.
Remember that socialising your puppy is very important if you want a well-behaved and trusted the dog.
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