gorgeous curly dog being cuddled by a young girl

Socialisation is an important part of growing up for your dog. Helping them to experience new people, places and situations positively as a puppy, all contribute to them leading a calm, happy and well-behaved adult life.

A lot of socialisation is about variety. When they’re first brought into the home, making sure that they have calm, positive interactions with people and get used to the noises around them.

And once they have been vaccinated, getting out and about will really help adjust to each new environment. Whether it’s being near the road and seeing traffic, down at the park or seeing the sea for the first time at the beach.

Like humans, however, each dog is different. And how well or quickly they adjust to new situations will depend on the individual dog.

One of the main ways you can ensure your dog is properly socialised while they’re still young is to take them to training classes run by a professional trainer. That way they will meet new dogs and learn clear signals and cues, early on.

But there are of course, plenty of additional things you can do to help socialise your dog with other dogs.

How to socialise your dog with other dogs

1) The sooner the better

Although we as humans take years to grow and develop, progression in dogs happens a lot quicker. And the sooner you get them to experience new things earlier on, the better.

You might find that a lot of the immediate socialisation has already been done with the help of your dog’s breeder as gentle socialisation should happen around three to twelve weeks.

However, once they are fully vaccinated (at around 12 weeks), you can start to take them out while introducing them to all the different sights and sounds the world has to offer.

Remember to start small and if your dog is showing signs of anxiety (things like restlessness, excessive barking, aggression, drooling and urinating) stop and try again another day.

two dogs sniffing each other to get to know each other

2) Start small

When your puppy is still small, they might feel easily intimidated by other, bigger dogs. They can also go the other way, when they will put themselves in danger by being too boisterous with them.

Head out to the park while keeping your dog close by your side using a training lead. Here, you can simply observe what’s going on in the park and allow your dog to relax while they get used to the new environment.

If a new dog comes up to them, you can give your dog a treat and stroke them, so they feel relaxed. This will help your dog see meeting new dogs as a positive event.

If your dog reacts negatively and starts to show signs of aggression, move your dog away until they are calm again.

3) Don’t tug on the lead

Dog leads are great for making sure you maintain a good level of control over your dog. However, they can make your dog feel anxious.

As always, positive reinforcement is the way to go when training your dog. So, doing things like yanking on the lead to divert their attention, can lead your dog to associate seeing other dogs with negative emotions.

If your dog is not interacting positively with another dog, distract him instead with a toy and gently lead him away from the situation.

beautiful black alsatian dog wearing a lead with a big smile

4) Choose wisely

Not all interactions with other dogs will go well. However, with a good amount of positive reinforcement, you can start to help your dog become more relaxed around other dogs.

To help your dog’s socialisation, try and make sure that your dog’s first experiences with other dogs go well, early on. That way, they are more likely to be prepared for meeting other dogs later in life, in new and unfamiliar situations.

Try and set up playdates with calm, friendly dogs (who have been properly vaccinated) and who are likely to be quiet and understanding around a young puppy.

5) Positive reinforcement is always best

Positive reinforcement is the right way to train your dog. And when you give your dog praise or a treat when they have behaved well, make sure you are consistent with your rewards.

The more random you are with your treat giving, the more skittish their behaviour will be. If your dog barks at the neighbours and you tell it stop, but it barks at the postman and you don’t tell it to stop, you might end up confusing him.

If your dog is not behaving well, try and distract them so their attention can be re-directed.

To make sure you are consistent in your treat giving, keep a selection of their favourite treats on you at all times using one of our treat bags. They have an elasticated top which you can secure to make sure the treats don’t mysteriously disappear when you’re not looking.

And if you’re not sure, or if things aren’t going how you planned, the best thing to do is to contact your nearest, professional dog trainer for advice and any extra classes you and your dog may need.

You can find a list of professional dog trainers in the UK here.

For more tips and tricks in socialising your dog, head over to our blog. And don’t forget to find us on Instagram and Facebook @meandmypetsofficial.