How to Socialise Your Puppy

Behaviour, Dogs

Did you know the socialisation period of dogs is approximately between 3-14 weeks of age. During this period the rate of neuron development is at its highest rate. Interactions and experiences puppies have during this time will set them up for how they will come to tolerate the world around them in the future.

Behaviour Bites with Dr Ash Hargreaves 

BSc DVM MANZCVS (Veterinary Behaviour)

Socialisation is all about providing your puppy with as many new and varied experiences while they remain within a positive emotional state. That is, we want puppies to learn good social skills and to tolerate interactions with all sorts of people – tall, short, young, old, male and female,  and different sized and shaped dogs and animals of other species, all while they are feeling safe.

Unfortunately any new experience that causes your puppy to be worried or frightened instead of socialising them, may result in them learning to fear such interactions.

Always reward your puppy for being calm especially when they are faced with something new and potentially threatening for a young pup. When exposing them to new things, be sure to encourage and praise them while they remain calm, by using a soft voice, positive language and treats they enjoy.

Be careful to always monitor the body language of your puppy when they are experiencing something new. While barking, shaking, running and hiding are obvious signs of fear, also watch for tension in their body, their ears and tail position, and if they are performing fiddle signs such as yawning, licking their lips, sniffing or pacing.

If your pup does seem worried by something new, remove them to a distance where they do feel safe and can begin to relax again, or try again another day from a further distance to begin with, while reassuring them.

Reading Your Dog's Body Language

Not quite sure how to read the signs of fear in your dog’s body language?  Check out the super article on reading the your dog’s body language in this super article written by our very own Dr Ash hargreaves.

Aside from puppy school, Introducing puppies to vaccinated and friendly dogs up to one or two at a time, can be a great way to help socialise puppies with other dogs. It is also a great idea to expose puppies to other species of animals they may come across in life such as cats, chooks, farm animals and horses.

Meeting as many different people and people that sound and look different and wear different things is important for a puppy to learn not to fear different groups of people later in life. Try introducing your puppy to children, men, women, but be sure to do so in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them and they feel safe. Allow the pup to go to people, not have them rush at your puppy, and initially introduce people one at a time (not 20 kids at school drop off!), you may like to have treats people can give your puppy if your pup is a little shy at first.

Sounds, sights and …

It is also important to get your pup used to different noises and objects that they will come into contact with during their life as part of our human world. For example the vacuum, the hair dryer, lawn mower. All these things that make loud noises should initially be turned on when the pup is in another room or not close by to get them used to the sound. If they respond, try making it a positive experience having that noise on by giving them treats or playing games whenever the noise is occurring.

… Smells

It is easy for us to forget about introducing a pup to new smells, but dogs see their world differently to us, in that they rely on their sense of smell more than any other sense. Allowing your pup time to sniff when exploring somewhere or something new is very important and remember some smells, just like some noises, can be offensive and even scary to your pup, so again ensure you are always monitoring their body language and their reflected emotional state.

Good socialisation sets a pup up for how they will learn and approach new things for the rest of their life. We do not expect all dogs to love all other dogs, or all other people and loud or strange noises. However, with good socialisation our puppies can learn to have appropriate social skills with other dogs, other animals and people, and be tolerant of novel situations. 

If you have a puppy or are about to get one, be sure to call your local Furlife Vet to find out when the next puppy school classes are running and book in so you don’t miss out on a spot. Aside from great information about raising and socialising your puppy, puppy school provides invaluable exposure to other puppies and to the vet clinic environment in a safe and fun way, that will set your pup up for having good experiences later in life.

If you are finding that despite all your efforts socialising your puppy they are still scared of many things, or if you find your puppy is having trouble learning despite your best efforts at training them, then make sure you discuss this with your Fur Life Vet promptly.

Behaviour Bites with Dr Ash

Behaviour Bites

with Dr Ash Hargreaves

Hi my name is Ash and I am a vet practicing in Warrnambool in the western district of Victoria.
I am passionate about animal behaviour and the mental health of our pets.
After graduating as a vet in 2015 I completed further studies in veterinary behaviour and now provide behaviour consultations along with general practice.
You can follow me on Instagram and Fur Life Vet on Facebook via the links below and stay tuned to the website for some super articles on pet behaviour.

How to enter

Simply share a photo on your Facebook page of your dog rugged up for winter or enjoying the winter sunshine and use the hashtag relevant to your state.

What you can win

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined prize. Each prize includes a winter pet pack to the value of $100.

Click on your state to reveal the hashtag you need to use to enter!

QLD Residents

Share a photo of your dog enjoying the winter sunshine or snoozing in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetQLD

VIC Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetVIC

NSW Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetNSW

TAS Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetTAS

Terms & Conditions

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these conditions. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these conditions. Entries must comply with these conditions to be valid.

Entry is open to Australian residents that meet the competition requirements outlined below during the Competition period 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022. Employees and their immediate families of the Promoter and its agencies associated with this competition are ineligible to enter.

To enter, each entrant must, during the Entry Period, upload a photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile) and use the hashtag corresponding to the state they are in (e.g. #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS).

Winner of the competition will be determined by:

  1. Appropriate photo uploaded (photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile)
  2. Relevant hashtag used (state residing in: #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS)
  3. Number of likes (photo with highest number of likes at end of competition period with all other criteria completed will win)

The competition will close for entries Wednesday, 31 August 2022 at 12:00pm [AEST]. Failure to meet any of the competition requirements will deem entry invalid and will not be eligible to win.

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined.


Competition requirements:

Entrants must be a current client of a participating Apiam/Fur Life Vet clinic.

Entries must be received by the Promoter during the Entry Period. Entries received after 12:00pm [AEST] 31 August 2022 not be accepted.

The competition commences at 00:01 [AEST] on 01/06/2022 and closes at 12:00 [AEDT] 31/08/2022.

Queensland prize includes a pet pack to the value of $100.00.

Victorian, New South Wales, and Tasmanian prize includes two separate pet packs to the value of $100.00.

All taxes (excluding GST) which may be payable as a consequence of receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

The Prize is not transferable and is not redeemable for cash.

The Promoter assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, then the Promoter may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the competition.

If the prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control, the Promoter may substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

The winner will be notified by email on or by 10/09/2022.

Entrants consent to the Promoter using their name, images submitted, pets name, comment, and/or voice in the event that they are a winner in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), as well as any other communications outside of this competition, and/or promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by the Promoter. If you are not willing for these uses or disclosures to occur you cannot participate in the competition.

Further, entrants agree that the Promoter has an unrestricted, irrevocable, transferable, divisible right and licence to use and modify their entry for the purposes of the Promoter’s business including for promotional purposes without the payment of any further fee or compensation.

If requested by the Promoter, the entrant agrees to sign any further documentation required by the Promoter to give effect to this arrangement. To the extent permitted by law, entrants unconditionally and irrevocably consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any moral rights in their entry. Entries remain the property of the Promoter. Details from entries will be collected and used for the purposes of conducting this competition (which may include disclosure to third parties for the purpose of processing and conducting the competition) and for promotional purposes surrounding this competition. By entering this competition entrants consent to the use of their information as described and agree that the Promoter may use this information, or disclose it to other organisations that may use it, in any media for future promotional purposes without any further reference or payment to the entrant.

By entering this competition, entrants consent for the Promoter to use entrant’s name, email address, phone number which entrants submitted to enter for the purposes of administering and operating the competition. Entry is conditional on the Promoter acquiring the aforementioned information. All personal information collected by the Promoter will be handled by the Promoter in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy (PRIVACY) Entrants have the right to access their personal information, request correction of any errors and/or obtain a copy of the Promoter’s privacy policy by contacting getvetchecked@furlifevet.com.au.

The Promoter is Apiam Animal Health Pty Limited (ACN: 604 961 024) at 27-33 Piper Lane East Bendigo, 3550, Victoria, Australia.

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