Socialisation is probably the most important thing you can do for your dog. It is essential for puppies to be well socialised from a young age in order to become well-adjusted members of the doggy community.
Just like humans, dogs learn what is right and wrong or socially acceptable from their peers. If your dog is deprived of this vital learning experience, they could become 'dog aggressive' or become a target of 'dog aggression'.
This is because they don't understand what is play and isn't, what is allowed and what's not. They will often miss out on a lot of play as they are unable to read the subtle body language that dogs use to communicate and can become nervous around other dogs as they fail to understand them.
Where can I socialise my puppy
Taking your pup for walks in the park and down the street is a great way to introduce your puppy to the world, and to meet other dogs. However, the best way to get some really concentrated socialisation is to go to a puppy socialisation class.
These classes are often conducted by vets and trainers as well as dog groups. They allow your pup to meet, greet and play with other puppies and young dogs. It is also a great way to meet other dog owners, and share information about good play areas and fun activities you can share with your pooch.
It is always a good idea to make sure you socialise your dog with a wide range of dogs. You should ensure they meet big dogs, small dogs, young and old. The more they meet and play with, the more secure they will feel around different dogs later in life. If your dog only gets to play with small dogs, they will likely become scared or upset around big dogs in the future.
For a list of services in Port Phillip, see the obedience training services listing (PDF 118 KB).
Socialisation throughout your dog's life
As your dog becomes older, socialisation is still a vital ingredient in a healthy dog's life. This is because it provides both physical and mental stimulation. When dogs play together they are able to exercise far better than when they play with us, as they are far more agile than we are and able to expel a lot more energy in a shorter period of time.
Dogs just like humans develop relationships with other dogs around them and enjoy this social interaction. Most dogs spend a good deal of time confined to a small area, often by themselves. This can cause problems such as boredom which can lead to barking or destructive behaviours. A well-socialised and trained dog is less likely to develop these problems.
Council understands that off-leash parks are an integral part of the socialisation of dogs. This is why we provide as many quality off-leash parks as possible. Having well-socialised and trained dogs in our community means that it is a safer community for adults, children and pets alike.
In the same respect, it is vital that dogs are socialised as much as possible, as off-leash parks could not be provided if a large number of dogs weren't well socialised, as the risk of dog aggression would be too high.
Benefits of obedience training
Training is also beneficial for your dogs' health as it provides mental stimulation for them and sets the order of dominance in their pack (you, your family and your dog).
Dogs are a pack animal and need this order to be well established to feel safe and secure. It is also important that your dog understands that you are the top dog. If your dog thinks that they are top dog this can lead to a lot of problems, particularly if you have children in your family.
Training particularly with a qualified trainer can teach both you and your dog how to set these rules in place and help to provide a happy and secure environment for both you and your dog.
It is also important to remember that you are only able to have your dog off-leash in off-leash areas if the dog is under effective voice control. This is for your dog's safety as well as for others using the area.
For more information or questions, contact us.