Is an important part of a puppy's life and can help determine its final char­acter. Between 4 and 16 weeks old is when puppies start to socialise and react to new and interesting stimuli - if exposed to a wide range they are less likely to grow up fearful or wary of such things later in life. This is an almost magical time when we are able to develop the puppy's brain, and shape the way he/she will turn out as an adult dog. This is the time when most problem behaviours can be prevented long before they even start, giving the dog a far more certain future.


Make sure your puppy gets to meet the whole family – and have positive experiences with them so he learns to like and trust you all. That means everyone handles him gently, rewards him, plays with him – and begins to do some basic training with him (even just giving him a reward for coming to them or following them) so he learns to enjoy working for everyone. Download the Dogs Trust iPhone or iPad app “You and Your Puppy”, or look at to get an idea of how to start your puppy’s training at home. Do not let anyone handle him roughly or play boisterous games with him – no matter how excited everyone is about the new arrival.

Make sure your puppy is used to wearing his collar and tag (the breeder should already have started this, but continue this by putting it on when he has his mind on something else or good things (like dinner!). Do not leave it on in a crate or puppy pen.


The following points are important-


  • obtain your puppy at an early age (6 -8 weeks is best).

  • avoid puppies that have been reared in pens or have had little contact with the house and human activities.

  • early vaccinations will give some protection to your pup and may allow you to go outside sooner.

  • introduce your puppy to the outdoor world as soon as possible even if this means carrying him around to get used to traffic, noise etc.

  • introduce your puppy to people and get him/her used to visitors of all shapes & sizes - as you want your dog to be friendly to everyone: adult women, adult men, men with beards, people with glasses, tall men, people of different ethnic origins, loud confident people, shy or timid people, people wearing hats, people carrying umbrellas, postmen, elderly people, disabled people, teenagers, younger children, toddlers and babies. Your puppy should be rewarded and given treats and games etc by these people – or you can reward them for interacting with them positively.

  • get your puppy used to being left alone.

  • add food to your puppies bowl when feeding.

  • interaction with dogs (and your cats if they are confident and are happy with dogs) helps your pup­py to learn "canine manners", however select the dogs with care and supervise them at all times. This should include dogs, other puppies, dogs of all colours, shaggy dogs, dogs with flat faces, large dogs, small dogs (as you want your dog to be friendly with all other dogs). Reward your puppy for positive interactions with these.

  • regularly inspect your puppy’s eyes, ears, mouth, tail etc. so should we ever need to perform an examination it will be used to being handled for it. It is Ok to bath your dog but make sure you use a pet shampoo.

  • Start cleaning his teeth – use your fingers at first but then progress via a finger brush to a toothbrush. Only use pet toothpaste, not human toothpaste

  • other animals – unknown cats or your own cats if they are shy, unfriendly or worried about dogs (as they would far prefer the puppy to ignore them!), horses, sheep, cows, other livestock, small furry animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters etc.) – or any other animals that will form part of his life or that he may encounter. In these cases you want to be practising rewarding your puppy for ignoring them and listening to you when they are there, not interacting with them.

  • places – these can include every room in the house, garden, car, quiet street, busy road, high street, friend's house, outside school, pub, place with slippery floor, park, outdoor market/car boot sale etc., railway station, train, vet's practice, party, farm, stables... wherever you and your dog may find yourselves in the future. You need to make sure he has happy experiences in these places, and so accepts them as part of his life and nothing unusual or scary.

  • distractions – these can include cars, buses, trains, motorcycles, sirens, noisy machinery, and vacuum cleaner... all things you want to reward your puppy for ignoring.

  • others – cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, children running... again things you want to reward your puppy for ignoring (use a treat or a toy to distract him, and then reward him with the food or a game). Add anything else here that is going to be part of your own puppy's life.



Always reward your puppy for good behaviour.