Dog socialisation 101

Whether you get a puppy or a rescue dog, one way or another you will have to socialise that dog to certain things that they may not have seen before or don't know how to interact with properly. Other dogs, animals, people, cars, busy places, our dogs need to know how to deal with every day situations in a way that is beneficial to them and safe for everyone involved. How do we do that? Well there are lots of different ways but to understand how best to socialise our dog we first need to understand what socialisation actually means.

Dog's aren't like washing machines and don't come with an instruction manual and aren't programmed to be able to simply cope with any and every situation they walk into. If you have a dog then it is your responsibility to teach it how to live in a human world and what is the appropriate way to act in certain situations. Dog's don't speak English and they don't naturally understand how they are supposed to act in human situations that aren't natural to dogs. Going to towns, interacting with other pet animals and understanding what cars, washing machines and hoovers are aren't natural situations that dogs simply know how to react to. Even human children are taught how to act in different situations. They are taught by parents or teachers what is the right way to interact with people and animals, how to talk politely, saying please and thank you, being kind to others and more to teach them how to cope with different situations.

So let's start off by looking at what socialisation actually is:

Socialisation is the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.

As we as children grow up, we are taught each day what is acceptable in society and what isn't.

We are taught if you want something you need to say please and if you are given something you need to say thank you.

We are taught that swearing isn't allowed and that you are more than likely to be punished if you do, e.g. be grounded, get detention.

We are taught that being mean to other people and bullying is not acceptable and is more than likely punished.

We are even taught that out in public you need to wear clothes and shoes!

Socialisation is simply teaching a person or animal how to be a good citizen by giving them the knowledge on what society says is acceptable behaviour and what is doesn't.

This is the same for our dogs.

So what does society say is an acceptable way for dogs to act in public:

-don't bite, growl or bark at people! It's the like a random person on the street coming up to you and shouting at you, swearing at you and then punching you - not okay!

-don't jump on people - not everyone likes being jumped on even if your dog is friendly.

-don't bark at, growl at or try to bite other dogs or animals - we all like our animals and our dogs need to as well.

Those are three basic rules that all dogs out in public are expected to follow and they seem like reasona