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What is Socialisation?

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Correct socialisation, done right, is so important.

Socialisation plays an important and influential part of your puppy’s development and learning; it helps your puppy to learn how to interact to the wider world around them.

What is socialisation?

Socialisation is the process of helping our puppies to feel safe, happy and confident in lots of different situations and environments in the real world. It’s all about creating as many varied, positive, safe and enjoyable experiences for your puppy as you can. With young puppies it helps to be able to do this as soon as possible to help them cope and to avoid future scary surprises and experiences throughout their lives. The infographic above right is a great example of a more correct and realistic idea of socialisation, with a much broader range of experiences.

The environment and world in which a puppy finds itself in and how secure and how protected it feels can have a major effect on their learning ability. Puppies go through a critical period of development, from 3 weeks of age to 16 weeks of age. In these early socialisation periods, young puppies have a reduced fear of new situations and experiences which creates an optimal window and environment for an increased ability to learn.

However, be selective with what you expose your puppy to and try to keep it positive, this is an overwhelming time for a young puppy, too much or the wrong type of socialisation is just as detrimental as too little socialisation.

Socialisation is so much more than just meeting new people and dogs and plays only a small part in correct socialisation. It can sometimes be a little misunderstood, with one common misconception being that it is best to let your dog say hello and play with every single dog they meet, which in itself can lead to problem behaviours developing. Socialisation is about giving your puppy the skills, confidence and tools to be able to cope with everything they may encounter in life.

Socialisation is so important but the correct socialisation is much more important, quality over quantity.

Be careful to not overload your best friend! The last thing we want to do is rush into things without considering how overwhelming this may be for your puppy.

It’s important we help our puppies and young dogs build up positive experiences throughout their crucial development periods, but it’s so important they go at their own pace, allowing them to sit and just observe and give them the choice to interact or to just watch the world go by.

Listen to what your dog is telling you, for your dog feeling safe, secure and protected is far more important than anything we can teach.

Finally, if you're in the North London area, you may like to consider our comprehensive puppy life skills courses, designed to guide you through your dog’s different learning and development stages.


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