Socialisation is the first step in raising a well-behaved pet, particularly if your pet is a dog. During the first weeks and months of their lives, animals go through a critical period of development. When animals are exposed to new people, places, situations and other animals in a positive way during this period, there’s a good chance they’ll be calm and accepting when they experience them again later in life. Dogs
Ask your vet for advice on the best way to do this in your
Your puppy should meet and interact with as many types of
own family’s environment. Kitten socialisation classes are
people, animals and environments as possible. By the time
also now available, and as well as socialising your kitten to
he reaches about four months old, your puppy should have
other kittens and people, the classes teach owners how to
learnt to accept being petted by strangers, meeting other
look after their kittens, why kittens do certain things, and
dogs, being handled by a veterinarian or groomer, and
give information on various subjects including grooming,
meeting a wide variety of people. Puppy socialisation should
handling and health.
take place when your dog is between eight and 16 weeks old. Because puppies have not received all their vaccinations,
you should talk to your veterinarian about when it’s safe to
Speak to the breeder or your trainer about socialising your
expose your puppy to new people and places.
foal – it entails much more than we can succinctly present
Socialisation should involve as many people, other dogs and
here. It should include the basics like accepting a halter,
animals, and situations as possible. Introduce your puppy to
backing and basic (riding) training with an experienced
a wide variety of people, including men, women, children of
trainer. It’s best not to attempt this on your own.
all ages, people in wheelchairs, men with beards, and people wearing all kinds of clothing (uniforms, sunglasses, raincoats
and umbrellas, hats and gloves), and people of different skin
Many pet bird owners don’t realise that their feathered
colour to yours. Your puppy should also be introduced to
friend needs interaction. They are much like babies. For
other puppies of different breeds and sizes.
example, a pet cockatiel has the intelligence of a three-
Puppy training classes are a great way to enhance your
year-old, therefore you need to spend time with them and
puppy’s socialisation. The classes should touch on the usual
allow for play times as well as cuddle times during the day.
concerns of the new puppy parent, like housetraining and
However, different bird species and breeds have different
curbing destructive behaviour. A good puppy kindergarten
needs. Speak to your vet or breeder for advice about your
will also help your puppy to get comfortable with new
specific bird’s needs.
people, new situations and being handled by a range of people. This is also the perfect place for your pup to learn
how to interact with other dogs. Your veterinarian or local
Rats, mice, hamsters and gerbils should be bought when they
animal shelter should be able to help you find a good puppy
are young, around six weeks or so. This helps ensure they
become properly socialised and attached to their humans. Delaying contact and handling of your pet rodent may result
in snippy or aggressive behaviour. This is usually a response
Cat socialisation centres mostly on litter-training (which
brought on by fear rather than anything else.
generally comes pretty naturally after some positive reinforcement), and exposure to a range of people in a very
calm and safe environment. Also ensure you introduce your
The needs of different species vary significantly. Speak to
kitten to all members of your family (including other pets) in
the breeder or your vet to determine what is appropriate
a way that is positive for the kitten to avoid problems later.
for your specific pet.
Responsible Pet Ownership