Aim to tick off as many experiences on this list as possible, while your puppy is under 12 weeks old. Every positive experience your puppy has now will be imprinted for life and will help them grow into confident, optimistic and friendly dogs!
It only takes a couple of minutes for your puppy to have a great experience, so you don’t have to spend hours on your socialisation – you can tick many things off in just a few minutes a day! Your puppy can also experience many things on this list from a distance, if it's not possible to get up close.
You might not be able to complete the whole checklist by 12 weeks depending on where you live. That’s ok – you can carry on the socialisation journey for your dog’s whole life. This is just some inspiration to get you started, and the more you can expose your puppy to the better!
Remember, whilst puppies can imprint their happy experiences at this age, they can also imprint scary ones, leading to phobias in the future. Always be your puppy’s biggest supporter and supervise their socialisation closely. If they look scared, allow them to back away from the scary thing and sit with them at a distance. Never force them to interact with something or someone if they are nervous.
If your puppy seems nervous at first, practice interacting with that item on the checklist as many times as you need to, until your puppy is confident with it. Always stop before your puppy gets panicked, and when you try again next time, start the interaction at an increased distance or for a very short time to be on the safe side.