gorgeous and happy dog high fiving it's owner

There are so many great things about owning a dog. The way they greet you at the door when you come home, the fluffy paw that appears on your knee when they want fussing, and the overly-energetic tail wagging that happens just before dinner time... we don’t know what we’d do without them!

A big part of making sure you and your dog live happily together and enjoy moments like this however, is training. Without it, you and your dog can run into problems you might never have even thought of when you first picked them up as a tiny puppy.

One of the most important parts of bringing up a puppy is making sure they are socialised properly. And not just with humans, but with other dogs and new environments too. This will really help ensure they stay calm and well-behaved during normal, everyday activities. Whether it’s a neighbour at the door, heading out to the park, or sitting quietly in the pub.

If you have a puppy, there is a variety of situations and places you’ll want to make sure they encounter as they grow up.

Other dogs

This includes a variety of breeds and sizes to make sure your dog doesn’t just get used to one type. The more positive experiences your puppy has of other dogs, the more relaxed they will be when they encounter different dogs when they’re older.

When socialising your puppy, make sure you choose dogs who you already know to be friendly dogs who are also healthy and vaccinated. That way, your dog is much more likely to have a positive experience. A negative experience early on in your puppy’s life – even just one – can really affect them later on in life.

This will also allow you to keep an eye on your puppy’s play style. If they start to bite the other dog too much or play too roughly, bring their attention back to you.

If they are showing signs of anxiety, don’t force them into anything. They need to be able to approach situations on their own.

collie dog meeting two other dogs at the park whilst on the lead

Humans – big and small!

Making sure your dog reacts positively to both adults and children is especially important in owning a dog. The more positive encounters your puppy has with people as they grow up the better.

If you don’t have kids, try and make sure your puppy still meets some well-behaved children when they’re young.

You might also want to get them out and about as much as possible (once they have been vaccinated) so they encounter strangers too.

Remember positive reinforcement is the way to go when training your dog. So, make sure your dog gets lots of cuddles when meeting new people. Treats are great but avoid using excessive amounts. Not only for your dog’s health, but also because you want to make sure your dog has a good relationship with humans – regardless of whether they are carrying food or not.

It doesn’t always have to be edible treats either. Using a tennis ball or other favourite toy as a reward can help your dog to develop a much less food-motivated attitude.

If you do have treats on you, make sure you reward positive behaviour as and when is appropriate. Keep them tucked up in a little treat bag so you get to choose when they’re brought out!

tiny brown curly puppy sitting on its owners feet

New places

Puppies should be introduced to lots of different types of environments when they’re young too. Not just the home and the park, but getting used to hearing traffic, being well-behaved in the local pub, what to do at the beach and how to behave around larger animals such as cows when out on a long walk. These are all really important for making sure your dog stays calm and happy when out and about.

You’ll also want to make sure your dog gets used to being in the car with you so they’re not distracting you while you’re driving.

When they’re in the car, keep them secure with a seat belt harness.

For more tips on how to make sure your dog stays safe with you in the car, read our blog for more information.

two fluffy pomeranian dogs standing on back legs for treats

The vets

There will be times when you need to take your dog to the vets which can understandably lead your dog to feel anxious every time you go.

Find a practice that is understanding – somewhere you can take your puppy just to familiarise them and help them feel calm when they go. If they have positive experiences when they go as a puppy, they’re much more likely to react positively when they’re older. Get them used to being handled in the practice. And then you can move onto little things like having their paws and teeth checked. You can practise this at home first while they’re more relaxed too to help.

Socialisation is about helping your dog to feel relaxed when they experience new people, places and things. And it’s an important part of helping them to grow into happy, calm and confident dogs.

For more advice on helping to socialise your dog, head over to our blog. Or you can find us on Instagram and Facebook @meandmypetsofficial.