The Paw-fect Pet
Dog training and socialisation aren’t just about moulding an “obedient” canine companion. Thoughtful and consistent behavioural work with your pet will not only strengthen your bond with them, but will also help to keep them safe, ensure that others enjoy their company, and positively influence their long-term mental health and happiness.
Here's how helping your pet to become a gold star canine citizen can be beneficial for everyone.
What is socialisation and training?
Good socialisation involves regular general handling of your pet and exposing them to a variety of other animals, people and situations in a positive manner, so that they learn that these experiences and interactions are nothing to be feared. Additionally, your pup should also be taught how to relax calmly around others and when they are alone.
Whilst dogs are most sensitive to socialisation experiences between 3-12 weeks of age, their ongoing experiences throughout adolescence (“teenage years”) and into adulthood will continue to shape their long-term behaviour.
Training involves working with your pet to ensure their understanding and willingness to perform desirable behaviours, such as sitting, coming back when called, and walking calmly on lead. Good training is especially important prior to and during the puppy adolescent period (around 6-9 months of age in small to medium breeds and around 12-18 months old in large to giant breeds), to ensure that behaviours that were previously cute (such as jumping up or play-biting) do not become a problem when your dog doubles, triples or even quadruples in size and strength!
The most effective long-term training is based on a positive reward system (such as consistent treats and praise) rather than punishment.
Why is it important to socialise and train consistently from puppyhood to adulthood?
Consistent socialisation and training provide a multitude of benefits for you and your pet, including:
Reducing the chance of your pet developing behavioural problems such as anxiety, aggression or hyperactivity
Improving your pet’s tolerance of grooming or veterinary procedures (including times when you may need to administer oral or topical medications to them)
Supporting your pet to behave calmly and confidently in the home with visitors, so that you may feel more comfortable inviting friends and family over (note: regardless of how friendly your pet is, interactions between pets and children should always be supervised closely)
Reducing problem behaviours such as jumping up or mouthing
Giving your dog the social skills to enjoy safe and fun interactions and play with other friendly dogs, with less likelihood of triggering fights through hyperactive, aggressive or unintentionally “rude” canine behaviours
Allowing you and your pet to enjoy outdoor activities together, with the confidence that they will walk/run calmly and return safely when called
Teaching your dog that it’s OK to be alone sometimes, in order to reduce their likelihood of developing separation anxiety
Strengthening the emotional bond between you and your pet for years of quality cuddles and adventures together
How can I properly train and socialise my dog?
Enrolling your pup in a well-run puppy preschool at around 10-12 weeks old is a great start! However, it’s just as important to continue positive socialisation and training into adulthood, as it is normal for dogs to become more independent and challenging during their adolescent period.
Please consult the North Road Vet team in the clinic or on (03) 9596 4804 for personalised recommendations on the best socialisation and training opportunities for your pet.