Pre-Vaccination Puppy Socialisation & Training

cathy with rocket-puppy cocker spaniel in old moat garden centre

That Long Checklist!

A lot of emphasis is put onto new puppy owners to take their puppy everywhere, meet all sorts of people, kids, animals, visit all different types of environments such as train stations, busy towns, fair grounds…..

However this can be overwhelming for you and for your pup. With Rocket we want to make sure he has lots of good experiences as we want him to be cool, calm and collected in the face of new things.

Getting them ready for life!

It’s not possible for us to expose Rocket to everything he is ever going to encounter in his life so we must therefore take a different approach. Instead we have started from day one to get him comfortable with novelty……and actually as a puppy, everything is new and novel!

That said we want to build resilience, and the ability to bounce back from things that might startle or worry him, but we don’t want to over do it so he becomes fearful.

Building good experiences in a controlled way!

We started off with noises and movements by playing ‘Cardboard Chaos’ scattering his daily food into lots of clean recycling, as he searches and finds it things start moving and toppling all around him. His first go was a very timid attempt and just ate the pieces round the edges but after a week he was diving in there to search and find not worrying about the ‘chaos’ around him.

We have been bringing him to our classes during the breaks in between so he can have a toilet break and experience the environment. Then as class is starting to arrive, back in the crate for another nap.

We’re in Halloween and Fireworks season, there will certainly be plenty of novelty about so we took a trip to the garden centre with some of his daily food, carrying him while feeding we were able to help Rocket become calm and comfortable around the novelty and ‘scary’ decorations.

Our moto for ‘socialisation’ is

the absence of a bad experience is far better than 100 good experiences and one bad

We did meet a couple of calm children and allowed them to say hello for the briefest moment, making sure Rocket was comfortable with the situation. We still carry him as he has not yet had all his vaccinations. Be choosy with your puppy’s greetings and never overwhelm them. Aim to keep it a positive outcome and sometimes less is more.

cathy holding rocket on her lap

Be choosy with your puppy’s greetings and never overwhelm them

Our main goal with Rocket is not to overwhelm him. We also want him to be calm around people, dogs, children he doesn’t know and not be fazed by new environments. He is also learning that he doesn’t need to meet every person or dog, in fact he mostly ignores them and wants to hang out with us, which means he will become a dog we can take anywhere without the worry of him wanting to go off to meet everyone else!

rocket cocker spaniel meeting a horse

We are introducing family and friends gradually as well as keeping Rocket and Pixel behind a pen or gate so they can greet without the risk of making bad choices, he is already three times her size with needle sharp teeth, so for the safety of Pixel we need to take our time with this. They have had a few sniffs through the gate, and we are rewarding them both for being able to disengage and come away from each other which is vital.

Next week Rocket will have full vaccinations and will be ready to step into the new big wide world! We also have a play date lined up…..stay tuned!

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