As a new puppy owner you may have heard about socialisation and how important it is to socialise your puppy, but it isn’t that simple.


What is Socialisation?

During puppy development puppies have a critical period which happens between 3 weeks – 12/14 weeks of age. During this time they are primed for bonding to other animals and individuals. They learn about their environments, body cues and signals. Insufficient socialisation can result in a fearful individual.   

It is crucial to get it right and for each experience to be positive. We need to allow the puppy to absorb their situation and environment at their own pace. We must allow them to decide if they wish to move forward or to back away, to engage or not.


Socialisation Classes and Puppy Parties/Puppy Hour

Many of these sessions that are available are over stimulating and easily become a puppy bundle rather than a puppy party. Owners are often told to ‘let them sort it out themselves’ when play becomes inappropriate. These sessions should not only be a positive experience with other pups of similar age, they should be fun, relaxed, to build confidence and teach the pups how to interact with others appropriately.


Puppy Socialisation Classes with Positive Training For Canines

We run puppy socialisation classes at Companion Care Vets in Winnall, Winchester and during these sessions we spend the first half settling the pups on a mat, talking about the common problems you may experience in the early days of puppy-hood and then we carry out some training exercises like loose lead, recall, jumping up etc. The second half of the session is spent allowing the pups to interact with each other off lead if they wish too. Those who are not confident come off first to explore the environment and then we pair them all up appropriately.

Whilst the pups are interacting together it is my job to give a running commentary to the body language they give to help owners recognise the signs of appropriate and healthy play.

For pups who are over aroused I interrupt and redirect their attention, explaining the signs to owners to help them with their journey.


What should puppy socialisation look like?

Desirable Undesirable
Chase both ways Chase one way
Wiggly bodies Stiff bodies
Takes a break Over aroused and can’t stop
1:1 2:1
Reciprocating the other’s body language In a corner or trying to get out


Puppy socialisation sessions should not be about putting your pup in a pen with lots of others and let them sort it out amongst themselves whilst you have a good natter to fellow puppy owners. You need to be mentally present and watch what is happening to the pups and interrupt when it is necessary. The person who is running the session should be able to explain what is happening and supervise throughout. If you aren’t comfortable with what is happening the best thing you can do for your pup is to leave.

If you have a puppy aged up to 16 weeks of age and would like to join us at Companion Care Vets in Winnall, Winchester email us or phone 01962 418007/ 0777 131 4947 to book your place