Socialisation teaches your dog life skills that will help him cope in stressful situations. When properly socialised, your dog will not be fearful of going to the vet, visiting the groomers, or going on road trips.
World-renowned expert dog trainer Monique Anstee created a list of fun activities that expose the dogs to different social situations so that they can build their confidence and bravery.
Here’s a compilation of socialisation wish list that will give your dog positive experiences to help him adjust to unusual environments and get used to being around people and other pets.
- Play with your pooch in the snow.
- Bring him to a dog park or take him to a dog party.
- Visit a farmhouse together with your furry pal. Let him meet different animals.
- Walk with your dog when you go for grocery shopping.
- Cut his toenails monthly.
- Walk past a person in a wheelchair.
- Introduce your pooch to a cat. Teach him not to chase his feline friend.
- Get to the vet and let your dog receive treats from the vet.
- Play with your pooch on a hammock or swing.
- Make him pass through automatic doors.
- Hug and give him kisses every night before bed.
- Have walks with your dog together with a friend and their dog.
- Take him to the park and allow children to pet him.
- Play football with your dog. Try tackling the ball away from him.
- Let your pooch ride a wheelbarrow. Make sure to hold his collar to prevent him from suddenly jumping off.
- Let him ride in an elevator.
- Make him walk on different types of road surface, stone roads, boardwalks, and bridges with various heights, gaps, and widths.
- Bring your pooch to a dog-friendly mall.
- Provide your furry friend with small tasks and let him complete them by himself. It may include removing a ball under the sofa or learning how to solve a puzzle toy. Try your best not to assist him as by letting him work out his sown solution would help him develop his confidence.
- Take your dog to somewhere with busy foot traffic. Allow him to meet different people such as joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers.
- Take him on playdates with other well-behaved canines.
- Ride with him on a boat.
- Go swimming with your dog. If this is his first time, slowly introduce him to the water. (Make sure there is supervision all the time, as some breeds of dogs are not natural swimmers.)
- Place him in a big box crammed with teddy bears. Cover him with these plushies and let him crawl his way out.
- Bring him to another house or stay with him in hotels during vacation.
- Go kayaking together. Teach him how to jump on and off the kayak.
- Let your pooch walk past people without greeting them when you’re taking him for a walk. This will prevent your dog from being overly friendly and stop him from wanting to greet every person he sees.
- Pet your pooch whilst he is chewing on a bone.
- Allow your pooch to eliminate and urinate on gravel, cement, asphalt, or whilst on a leash or without it.
- Bring him on a road trip. Use different types of sitting arrangements for each trip.
- While supervised, cover his head with a bed sheet or bath towel and let him find a way to escape.
- Introduce your furry pal to different kinds of smells.
- Teach your pooch to recognise his name. Once he hears it, make sure he runs back to you without getting distracted.
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That’s One Confident Pooch!
Achieving every task on this list, one by one will help your furry friend in gaining self-confidence. It will encourage him to independently take on challenges he encounters daily.
However, pet parents need to keep in mind that our furry friends are not invincible. When our dogs are having trouble adapting, we need to be there by their side to guide them.