Puppy socialisation is the process of introducing a young puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and experiences in a positive and controlled way. This helps the puppy learn how to behave around other dogs and people, and helps prevent fear and aggression later in life. It’s important to start socialising puppies at a young age, while they are still receptive to new experiences and before they have developed any fear or anxiety. This will help them grow into well-adjusted and confident adult dogs.
What is dog socialisation?
Dog socialising typically refers to introducing a dog to a wide variety of people, places, and experiences, including other dogs and humans. This is important because it helps the dog learn how to behave and interact with others, and can prevent fear and aggression later in life. Socialising a dog with other dogs can help them learn how to communicate and play with other dogs, which is important for their social development. Socialising a dog with humans can help them learn how to behave around people and respond to commands, which is important for training and obedience. Both types of socialisation are important for a well-rounded and happy dog.
How to socialise a puppy
It is important to socialise puppies from a young age so that they can become well-rounded and confident adult dogs. This can be done by exposing them to a variety of people, places, and experiences in a safe and controlled manner. Here are some tips for socialising a new puppy:
- Start socialisation early: Puppies should be exposed to a wide variety of people, places, and experiences as soon as they are old enough to be vaccinated. This typically means starting at around 8 weeks of age, the age that you can legally take a dog away from it’s mother. It’s likely that the breeder will already have done some socialisation, like exposing them to noises (TV, washing machine, etc.), different surfaces (grass, tile, carpet, etc.).
- Make sure the puppy is healthy: It is important to ensure that the puppy is healthy before exposing them to new people and environments. This includes making sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and free of any parasites or illnesses.
- Introduce the puppy to new people slowly: Puppies can be overwhelmed by too many new people at once. It is best to introduce them to new people slowly, one or two at a time, and let the puppy approach them on their own terms.
- Take the puppy to new places: In addition to meeting new people, it is important to expose the puppy to a variety of new environments, such as different rooms in the house, the back garden, and the neighbourhood. This will help them become comfortable with new surroundings. See our section on puppies and public transport
- Use positive reinforcement: When socialising a puppy, it is important to use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to reward good behaviour. This will help the puppy associate new experiences with positive emotions.
Overall, socialising a new puppy takes time and patience, but it is an important part of their development and will help them become well-adjusted adult dogs.
If you are wondering where to bring a dog often it’s best to call ahead or check their website, you’ll be surprised, more and more businesses in Ireland are becoming pet friendly and have dedicated outdoor spaces for dog owners. If you are in Dublin / Wicklow, PetFriendlyDublin has a good starting list of dog friendly places.
Puppies and public transport 🚃 & 🚌
You can take small dogs & puppies on the DART and intercity trains as long as they are properly restrained on a lead or harness or carrier. More information is available here from IrishRail.ie about the complete terms and conditions. Note : The Luas does not allow general dogs on their systems
No animals are allowed on board with the exception of guide dogs.Luas.ie
For busses it seems that Bus Eireann are less accommodating, see here. We have heard that it can be down to the discretion of a bus driver if they will take a dog on, so it’s always important to check with them and have an alternative plan if that doesn’t work out.
Guide dogs and Assistance dogs can always be taken be taken on busses and trains in Ireland, this is protected under the The Equal Status Acts, 2000-2018 [full act here]. This act prohibits discrimination based on 9 different grounds, and ‘the disability ground’ is what is essential here.
Training your dog for cars, trains & busses
To train your dog to sit still while in a car, on a bus or train, we suggest you start by getting them used to the car and to being in a confined space. You can do this by placing them in a crate or carrier in the car and taking them on short trips. Be sure to praise and reward your dog for good behaviour, and try to make the experience as positive and stress-free as possible. Treats are your friend here!
Once your dog is comfortable being in the car, you can start working on getting them to sit still. You can do this by using a command, such as “sit” or “stay”, and rewarding them with treats or praise when they follow the command. You can also try using a harness or seat belt to keep your dog in place, and providing them with a comfortable bed or mat to lie on in the car. With time and patience, your dog should learn to sit still and be calm in the car.
Once they have tackled a car, you can start to see if they are up to a short bus or train journey. Make sure you do things to make as less stress as possible and to feel as familiar as possible, e.g. don’t use a dog harness for the first time.
Dogs & motion sickness
Some dogs do get motion sickness when they traveling, just like some people do. Symptoms of motion sickness in dogs can include vomiting, drooling, and whining. To prevent motion sickness in your dog, you can try feeding them a small meal a few hours before the trip, and giving them plenty of water to drink. You can also try keeping the car well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature, and avoiding sudden stops and starts. If your dog continues to experience motion sickness, you can talk to your veterinarian about giving them medication to help prevent it. Just like humans, dogs love windows, and an open window is even better. Remember to give a dog some space when trying to get comfortable.