How to Socialise a Puppy

Read time: 2 mins

01 Apr 2021

By Team Butternut Box


‘Socialisation’ is a term that means ‘getting your puppy used to things’ and helping them to learn to be totally chilled out whatever life throws at them. It’s all about having a good experience with as many different things as possible, especially those that look or sound different to the norm. For example, people in uniform, helmets, hats or face masks, noisy toddlers, elderly folk with zimmer frames or people in wheelchairs, on bikes, skateboards, roller blades, or with baby carriers and buggies.

This golden socialisation window of being able to accept everything as ‘normal’ continues until your pup is around sixteen weeks old. It will have begun when they were still at the breeders. That’s why it’s crucial that your pup was raised in a home environment where they got used to everything from the washing machine and hairdryers to phones, kettles and the postman, (or Butternut Box courier), at the door.

Socialisation also means getting your pup used to as many different events, situations and environments as possible so that they become a confident and happy adult. Be it rain, snow, hail, sunshine or stormy weather, take your pup out to experience it all! They’ll also benefit from getting used to plenty of different terrains, so muddy tracks, smooth tarmac, brambly countryside and open fields to name just a few. 

In terms of different situations, think about getting your pup accustomed to fireworks, balloons, kites, hot air balloons, being in the car, being on the lead on a busy street or junction, in a lift, an escalator, or going past a smelly farm. You need to familiarise your new pup with as many different things as possible to prevent them from developing fears and phobias at a later stage. 

It’s a good idea to have a pocketful of treats when you are introducing your puppy to all these different sights and sounds, so that you can reward them after walking calmly past. 

If your puppy starts to show any signs of anxiety, such as trembling, cowering, licking their lips, or seems in any way overwhelmed by their new experiences then don’t force them nearer, just head for home. 

Lastly, don’t forget that until your pup has had their full course of vaccinations they’ll have to be carried when out in public spaces. This shouldn’t deter you however from continuing with their socialisation during this formative period.

NB: Be aware that socialising your pup under Covid restrictions will have its challenges and things like puppy parties at the vets may not be running.