Have you got a new puppy?
Choosing a pup and bringing it home is so much fun, and then you’ve got to think about feeding, vaccinations, insurance, house training, and everyone in the family’s lack of sleep!
But while you are considering your pup’s physical development it’s important to also bear his mental development in mind. Puppies learn more about life before the age of 16 weeks than ever afterwards. As well as learning commands in his early weeks, it is important to expose him to as many positive experiences as possible to prevent him becoming fearful of different people, dogs and places.
You may not realise it but there are a number of phobias that occur frequently in dogs, which are often associated with poor socialisation and inadequate exposure to different environments and sounds. Early socialisation allows puppies to easily acclimatise to loud and unfamilar sounds, often making them much less likely to develop fears and phobias as they mature. Common phobias include loud noises such as gunshots, fireworks and thunder. Affected dogs show signs of anxiety including restlessness, panting and whining with some dogs resorting to destruction and self mutilation in severe cases.
In many cases there is often treatment avaliable to reduce phobias with many dogs benefiting from a desensitisation programme. This allows the dog to build up tolerance of their phobias, and sometimes cope best if this is combined with a course of medication that reduces anxiety. Although there are a number of options in the treatment of phobias, prevention still remains paramount which ultimately is based upon the puppy’s early experiences or socialisation.
Puppy parties provide a vital source of early socialisation as it allows puppies to learn positive experiences in a safe, controlled environment. Here at Strathmore Veterinary Clinic we hold monthly puppy parties which aim to socialise your puppy to allow them to become well mannered confident puppies. Parties also allow puppies to develop vital social skills allowing them to interact with other dogs appropiately. Early exposure to the veterinary clinic environment also allows your puppy to familiarise itself with the sounds and smells of a clinic during this important learning phase. This can often help to greatly reduce fears and anxiety which some dogs associate with the vet.
For more information regarding socialisation or to sign up for the next month’s party please contact the clinic on 01264 352323.
Jo Bond RVN