Introducing your Puppy to their New World
Just like a baby, puppies are new to the sensory world and any new things can be daunting for them, as well as super exciting! This is the time to be sensitive and patient for your dogs but also ensure they are introduced to new things in a safe and reassuring way.
All dogs are different, but all dogs want to stand out from the pack and sport their new toys, accessories and new haircut, some just take a little more time than others. Puppies especially find it hard to understand new things; a new toy or blanket can seem like the most confusing thing in the world to them, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they gradually get to know what the new things in their lives are!
So what can I do as a pawrent for their first walk?
The below steps can be applied to anything new such as toys but the steps are specific to their first walk.
- Put the products near them a few days or weeks leading up to their first walk
- A few minutes with new products and not making a big deal out of them can be really helpful to reassure them they are safe
- Start by putting the collar or harness on them in the house
- Make sure the collar or harness is comfortable around their neck prior to their first walk. A collar should be 2 inches bigger than their neck but not big enough their little heads can come out of them
- You can try introducing the collar or harness to your pup for them to smell and give them a treat or you can put the product on them and give them a treat whilst it is on them; but be aware treat training needs to be looked into prior to starting as you want to ensure you are not making your puppy dependent on treats
- One thing at a time can make all the difference to introducing the next new thing so don't give them too much sensory overload!
Just as giving puppies vaccines builds their immune system, presenting your dog to new people, places, smells and and sounds, builds their confidence and socialising skills which ultimately makes introducing new things all the more simple (and can help their behaviour during their teenage phase or later adult life).
When it comes to new sounds, objects or car rides, the most used advice is simply to repeat introducing the new 'thing'. So we came up with a motto to follow for all you new pawrents:
If you reassure your puppy that what they are being presented with is not scary, and reward them with a treat, a stroke or playing with them, they will feel more comfortable and confident and the repetition process will gradually become easier for them.
Never force your puppy into loving the new thing, it takes time, but there are ways you can lure them into a new setting or feel comfortable in one. Use toys, repeating their name in a reassuring way or giving them a treat. Use slow and steady movements around the new thing and do not taunt them with the new thing because they may be fearful of it to begin with.
Ultimately, exposing your puppy to new things is a desensitisation process and if you make a habit of doing something over and over again in a healthy and caring way, your puppy will learn to welcome new things without the fear or worry!
Be kind, patient and loving but most importantly, reassure, reward and REPEAT!