Puppy Socialisation is SO much more than your pup just meeting others.
Positive Paws Dog Training released 'The Rule of Twelve' back in 2002 which I love!
We aim to do these before a pup hits 12 weeks (If your puppy is over 12 weeks start right away with this socialisation guide.
Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise, and your puppy should be able to leave whenever s/he wants. Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared! By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:
- Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, wood chips, carpet, tile, cement, lino, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles, gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc....
- Played with 12 different objects: fuzzy toys, big & small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper or cardboard items, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc.....
- Experienced 12 different locations: garden, other people's homes, lake, pond, river, basement, a lift, a car, a moving car, garage, laundry room, vets(stop by sometimes just to say hi ; visit, lots of treats, no vaccinations), grooming salon (just to say hi), etc..
- Met and enjoyed being with / played with 12 new people (outside of family): include children, adults (mostly men), elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, etc
- Heard 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy's comfort level – we don't want the puppy scared): garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorbikes, fireworks, thunder, skateboards, washing machine, shopping trolleys, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, vacuums, lawnmowers, birthday party, etc...you can play this on youtube if you need
- Seen 12 fast moving objects (don't allow chasing): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, children playing soccer, squirrels, cats, horses running, cows running, etc.
- Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella, balloons, jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub (and bath) etc...
- Been handled by owner 12 times a week (only do as much as puppy is comfortable with): hold under arm (like a football), hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner's legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold and take temperature (ask veterinarian), hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, etc... Note: get the puppy's cooperation here whenever possible and treat a lot. Add predictability by saying what you are about to do (for example "Ears" - touch ear - treat). If the puppy moves away, you're pushing too quickly. Back it up and work at the puppy's pace.
- Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard box, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, frying pan, Kong, Treatball, , spoon fed, paper bag, etc......
- Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend's house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high (on work bench), under umbrella, etc...
- Made 12 different dog friends (puppies or safe adult dogs). [This does NOT mean at the dog park and it doesn't always mean rough and tumble play, although should be part of it.
- Been alone safely, away from family and other animals (5-10 minutes) 12 times a week
- Experienced a lead and harness 12 different times in 12 different locations.
They also wanted to add 'walked in the dark 12 times' but that seems like a lot for the first 12 weeks. Do at least walk your puppy in the dark 12 times in the first 6 months.