This is so much a buzzword and so misunderstood.
Many think that socialisation consists of letting your dog play with lots of other dogs a lot of the time.
However, letting your dog play with every dog they see will just lead to a frustrated dog in future. A dog pulling on the end of the lead, desperate to say hello to all the other dogs. It may also wind up leading your dog into an unintentional scrap if they bound up to any and every dog.
Puppy playdates are another worrying trend in ‘socialisation’
Yes, it’s important puppies get an opportunity to play with other puppies. But primarily, their socialisation with other dogs should be with well adjusted, adult dogs. Socialising puppies only with other puppies causes a stunted social development and again, can lead to unintended complications when interacting with other dogs.
An excellent guideline for dog to dog socialisation we would like to share from our friends at Paw By Paw is the ‘1 in 3’ rule, being:
‘1 in 3 dogs your puppy gets to play with off lead, or on a long line if your unsure of their recall. Please ensure that you get permission from the owner of the other dog before allowing your dog to interact with theirs, remember that not all dogs like other dogs and puppies are often disliked by older dogs who may have joint pain.
1 in 3 dogs your puppy gets to politely sniff on lead for 3 seconds before moving on. Please ensure that you get permission from the owner of the other dog before allowing your dog to interact with theirs, some dogs don’t like greeting other dogs on lead.
1 in 3 dogs your puppy has to completely ignore and interact with you’
Make sure that all social distancing requirements are adhered to during this however.
Socialisation is about so much more than just other dogs as well.
It’s about exposing your new puppy/dog to a whole range of experiences in a positive manner, such a different objects (step stools, wobble boards, etc) and textures (wood, tarp, sand, etc), a variety of noises (from household appliances to fireworks), people in all kinds of different clothes and costumes.
Be more thoughtful in your socialisation to prevent an issue for yourself further down the line and ensure your puppy/dog is confident, robust and well adjusted to the best of your abilities.