Well the answer is, that there is a lot more to puppy socialisation than just meeting other dogs. And this is where you can have a lot of fun and creativity.
Puppy socialisation is actually about giving your pup different experiences, different textures under their feet, differing noises and sights and sounds.
These different experiences are critical for their learning and development and can shape their behaviour for the rest of their lives.
So it’s about exposing them to lots of different experiences in a safe and positive way! This way puppies will learn how to cope in different situations, how to interact with people and other animals when faced with new circumstances.
An unfortunate incident....
I will never forget the day we took Ruby for a play at the park with the kids when she was about 4 or 5 months old. She was on the lead and a few other people were wandering around with their dogs on leads too.
All of a sudden, one dog escaped it’s collar, made a bee-line for Ruby and attacked her leg ferociously. I had grabbed her as soon as I could but still the other dog was hanging off her. The owner came over and had to prise the dog off Ruby’s leg. It was traumatic for me, for the kids but most of all for Ruby.
Thankfully there was no physical damage! But for a number of years after that, Ruby did not tolerate the company of other dogs. Today she can have some great play dates with other dogs which is so wonderful to watch.
I share this story to not only show you that long term mindsets are made in your pups at this young age but that with a lot of work, any negative experiences can be worked on.
Tips for creating positive experiences:
What socialisation can you give to your pup during this time?
Hopefully that has given you some great ideas for socialising your new puppy, whether you are in a time of lockdown or do not have access to any puppy schools at the moment.
Enjoy your new puppy and know that as you do these activities, you are helping to raise a health and balanced pup that will enjoy exploring with you on all your adventures!
During the toilet training stage I found myself very relieved that we do not have carpet on our floors! The biggest thing to remember when toilet training a puppy is not to punish them for their accidents but to quickly get them outside and let them know how good they are when they get it right.
Labradoodles are quick learners and love knowing they have pleased you. Ruby is no exception and my excited "good girl Ruby!" soon helped her know what to do. The key to having less accidents inside is be aware of how often your puppy needs to go to the toilet and pre-empt your puppies needs by getting them outside first.
If your pup has come from a good breeder who cleans after their pups regularly, you will have a labradoodle pup who wants to be clean and will not want to soil near where they eat or sleep. This is why crate training is so useful - more on that later!
Remember that it is not forever (although it may feel like it) and not to let it frustrate you. Being mentally prepared for a few months of helping your labradoodle pup to learn will go a long way in developing a well trained pet!
A puppies first day at home is always an exciting one for the family but a very new and daunting experience to the new pup. I remember Ruby's first day with us. She arrived on a plane and there she was all alone in her little crate. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed cuddling her all the way home.
However, we had planned on making sure the pup's first week at home was uneventful so she had time to adjust to her new surroundings but we had friends staying for the weekend!
I'm so glad we crate train our puppies because once everyone had their cuddle Ruby could have some time out with a tasty chew toy and some cuddly toys in her crate so she didn't get too overwhelmed.
We have discovered she does not like our white tiles in the house as they are too slippery for her little paws. She is quite funny to watch trying to slide across them!
Her first night went really well. We sat her crate beside my bed and each time she cried I just reached down to let her know I was there but didn't talk to her. I don't think we heard anything from her the following nights.
Now begins the fun part - toilet training!