Socialisation & Habituation 

20th June 2020

Socialisation & habituation is an important part of a puppy’s learning and is one of the key ingredients to a happy well-balanced adult dog. You will never get this time back again with your puppy, so spending time now to teach your puppy and to be there for them will be worth the hard work.

You will need to put lots of work in with your puppy for at least the first year and then another year after helping them through adolescence, so you are looking at a good two years of continued learning and development.

What is socialisation?

Socialisation is learning how to be social around other living species. Puppies are very curious and love to explore the world, it is at this stage where a puppy will learn about making decisions about things that are pleasant or not so pleasant and what is safe and makes them feel safe.

Letting your puppy meet as many different friendly adult dogs will help them to learn how to read different behaviours and will give them the opportunity to learn good social skills. But this needs to be done with caution because if you allow your puppy to constantly play or run up to other dogs, they will learn unsociable behaviours & may pick the wrong dog to try to be sociable with one day.  

Don't allow your puppy to go up to every dog they see. An over-friendly dog can come across confrontational, teach them to be polite and think the '3-second rule', allow your puppy to say 'hi' then guide them away after 3 seconds. 

What is habituation?

Habituation is learning about ignoring environment stimuli that may have no consequence. There are lots of stimuli in a puppy's environment, these are vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dishwasher, TV, the next-door neighbours in the garden and so on. Away from home, they may encounter cyclists, children playing, prams, traffic and again the list goes on.

So, in summary, these are stimuli that your puppy will learn to become habituated to once they have been socialised.

Alison Garforth.

Qualified behaviourists trainers & canine merishia massage therapist

As a full accredited member of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers ( I am able to display this symbol.

© 2020 Harmonious Dogs