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Socialisation of the new puppy is important if it is to make a sociably acceptable dog. Research has shown that it is best for a puppy to be settled into a new home before 10 weeks old and an important age for adaptation to strange sounds and sights is prior to 16 weeks old. Puppies will frequently not have completed the course of vaccinations for immunity against infectious diseases until near this age, so it is necessary to balance the puppy's need for education and socialisation against the necessity of safeguarding it from disease.

From an early age the puppy must be taught to accept handling, not only by its owners, but by visitors to the household. The puppy should be placed in a sitting position before being patted. It should be conditioned to allowing the ears, teeth and feet etc. to be handled and examined - all this will make future visits to the veterinary surgeon less traumatic for the dog, owner and vet.

It is important that the puppy learns to accept having food removed from its mouth and its feed bowl touched while it is eating as this reduce the chances of aggression over food. The puppy should be scolded if it shows resentment at having the food touched, and lavishly praised and given the food again if it allows it to be handled. It is of utmost importance that the puppy is never teased with food.

Many dogs accompany owners on car trips, but even if it is not intended that your dog will be a regular traveller in the family car it is still necessary to familiarise it with car travel. There will be times, such as trips to the vet, when the dog will be a passenger in the car and a frightened or excited dog can be a dangerous distraction to the driver. The puppy's first car trip should not be undertaken after it has had a meal as puppies frequently suffer from motion sickness. Initially, car trips should be short drives around the block with a passenger to help control the puppy. The puppy should be encouraged to sit or lie on the rear seat.

Once the puppy has had its vaccinations it should be introduced to the wide world. For their own safety, and also to comply with the law, dogs should never be on the street unless on a lead. The dog should walk on a loose lead on the owner's left side with the dog's head level with the owners left leg.

The young dog should be taken into busy areas where people will stop to pat it and it will be subjected to the hustle and bustle of crowds and traffic.

Dog training classes are held in most areas and are an excellent and inexpensive method of learning to train your dog to be a pleasant and manageable companion. Many veterinarians are conducting puppy preschool sessions which may be an excellent way to socialise the puppy as well as for owners to gain advise on diet and training.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 05/03/07 22:13 Views: 2247

OzPetShop - Pet Products, Supplies and Accessories