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There are few worse feelings for a dog owner than that of the fear of knowing that their pooch hates meeting other dogs or other people. Dogs that haven’t been socialised properly can live in fear of going out, while the owner can also be fined or sent to prison for having an out of control dog.
Why Socialise a Puppy? – For the Dog
There are really two main reasons to socialise a young dog. The first one helps make him grow into a happy dog.
Pooches that haven’t been properly socialised live with a great deal of fear, constantly worried about new people and experiences. They might be comfortable at home, so their family won’t take them out much because they know that the dog won’t be comfortable away from their familiar surroundings.
If a dog is afraid of everything around him then he may react in an aggressive way and bite strangers. This kind of dog finds it very difficult to get a new home if he ever ends up in a shelter for any reason.
On the other hand, a dog who has been well socialised will stand a far better chance of being happy and of being an important, well-loved member of any family.
Why Socialise a Puppy? – For the Owner
Without wanting to be selfish about it, you will find that living with a sociable dog is a lot more enjoyable than living with one who is shy and terrified of the world. It can be incredibly stressful to go out with a dog who hasn’t been well socialised.
Life with a nervous dog is a lot more limited, as you need to think very carefully about everything that you do with him.
It is a lot more fun to have a Cockapoo that you know you can take anywhere, exercise with and live out any new experience with.
When to Get Started?
Just like humans, puppies are capable of learning a huge amount in their early lives. The period from when they are born until they get to about 18 weeks of age is perfect for teaching them that they can go out confidently into the world.
Puppies of this age tend to be naturally fearless and you can help them to stay positive and happy by showing them good examples. They can still learn after this age but you really should look to take advantage of these early months as best you can.
Ideally, you will get your little Cockapoo from a responsible breeder who has already got him used to potentially stressful experiences such as being groomed and visiting the vet. In this way, he will probably get used to being around different dogs and people.
Once you take him home then it is vital that you reinforce his positive view of life. Let him see that life is fun and that new experiences are worth sampling. If you do this in the first 18 weeks of his life then he should have formed a positive view of the world around him by this stage.
You will also want him to spend time with people who show him their good nature and treat him positively. Young children are great for doing this as long as they are careful to not hurt him or force him into anything he doesn’t want to do.
Playing with Other Dogs
Try to find gentle, well-mannered dogs that he can be around and play with. Generally speaking, they should be let off the lead to play with pooches who are around the same age and size as them if possible.
These moments are crucial for him, so you need to protect him from any dog who are likely to frighten him or treat him badly. Cockapoos are incredible sociable dogs so he will probably be delighted to get a wide range of new buddies from all walks of life.
You could take him to puppy socialisation classes to help him to meet a group of other young dogs in a controlled setting too.
Take Him Out
It can be tempting to think that the easiest approach is to keep him wrapped up in cotton wool at home. After all, this keeps your innocent little puppy away from all the dangers of the world.
Yet, the best approach to give him a good, rounded view of the world is to take him out as much as you can. This can be on walks to the park, drives in the car or visits to a friend’s house. The important thing is to him live out different experiences and understand that the world is full of fascinating sights and sounds.
Don’t forget to discuss with the vet the situation with his vaccines before you take him out for socialising or for any other reason.
Don’t Let Him Get Stressed
Too much stress can seriously hamper your Cockapoo’s development. If he gets upset or injured during this vital stage of his life then the negative effects on his personality can be long-term.
This is why it is so important that you keep away from danger while he is still discovering the world around him. If you notice him cowering in fear or tucking his tail away then this is a sign that he needs some help.
To keep his stress levels under control you should ensure that he is only exposed to new sensations and new places for relatively short periods each time. Since he is still young he could get overwhelmed or too tired if you let him do new stuff for too long.
Make Life Fun
Try not to get too anxious about anything that happens that upsets him. Your Cockapoo is going to pass through some awkward moments, just as we all do in our lives.
Instead of focussing on these moments you should look to quickly move on to something more positive. In this way, he won’t dwell on the negative issues that he comes across.
Puppies should have fun and they will learn to shrug off problems more problems if you show them how. Don’t pet him if he is afraid, as he will think that you are praising him for his reaction.
Instead, speak to him in a positive view and make him feel good by playing with him or just taking him somewhere else where he can have fun.
See What He Is Scared Of
It is also important to take note of what it is that scares him. Is he most worried about other dogs or about crowds of people?
You don’t want to push him too hard to overcome his fears but you should be aware of them. In this way, you can slowly get him used to the sorts of situation in which he feels most uncomfortable.
Speaking to him and giving him treats at the right time can help to take his mind off the thing that worries him.
There is no doubt that helping your puppy to adjust to the big world out there will make life richer and more rewarding for both of you in the future. By helping him through his first few months in the right way you can look forward to spending years with a happy Cockapoo who is comfortable in any sort of situation.