I'll have one Latte and a well-socialised dog, please?
Gone are the days of the outside-only dog; dogs who lived, ate and slept in the backyard, and participated in the family's doings through the back screen door. Now, dogs are our fur-babies, coffee-dates, sleepover buddies, breakfast sharers, holiday companions, errand-assistants and long-drive company; our dogs are now involved in every facet of our lives, quite simply, our dogs are family.
With this change in perception - almost value - of what our pets really mean to us, comes with it a change in what we expect from our furry friends. While a lot of us still value formal obedience training, what most of us value above all else is a well-socialised dog who can accompany us to everything our busy lives have to offer.
Just expecting your dog to be a willing participant at your smashed avocado, weekend breakfast date is wildly unrealistic, it actually requires adequate amounts of environmental and dog-to-dog socialisation to ensure that your dog is enjoying that Sunday morning chill-out session as much as you are.
As the RSPCA Australia states, "Proactively socialising your puppy is very important. Puppies have what is called a 'critical socialisation period' between approximately 3 -17 weeks of age. The puppy’s experiences during this critical period of learning and development can influence and shape their behaviour well into adulthood. Providing plenty of opportunities for socialisation and exposure to different environments during this time can help to ensure your puppy grows into a well-adjusted adult that relates well to other dogs, other animals and people."
Tapping into this key socialisation period is critical, but if you've missed the boat, or should we say bone (ha!) then don't stress, because socialisation skills can totally be achieved. You can absolutely, definitely, 100% teach an old dog new tricks.
For puppies, it is important that they meet new people, other dogs and pets, and become familiarised with new experiences, sights, sounds and even smells..
"No Fido, that vacuum cleaner is not some wild beast, so you definitely do not have to chase it around the house!"
If you're unsure of what to do, the first step is always seeking to the experts. Get in contact with your Veterinarian and a reputable trainer who can direct you in establishing some socialisation and desensitisation training strategies. In addition to this, at Dogcity Daycare we also offer a 'Positive Puppy Pawgram' to puppies under the age of 6 months, which is a socialisation specific program that aims to provide your dog with as many positive, dog-to-dog and environmental, socialisation experiences as possible.
And then you're one, BIG step closer to enjoying long walks on the beach, park playtime, long lunches and catch ups with friends, all with your trusty, well-socialised, well-mannered fluffy friend!
I'll have one worry-free latte, and a chilled-out pupacino for Fido here. Thanks