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Help, I need to socialise my new dog!

Yes, you do but do you understand what that means? It certainly doesn’t mean allowing your dog off lead in the local park and able to rush up to every dog. That just leads to trouble.

Here is what I think socialisation means to a dog and how I hope to be able to help my clients when they bring their new pups to learn with The Walkabout Way.

This is what I try and teach:

1. Focus on me, your owner, for I will protect you and guide you

2. Focus on me for play and boundaries

3. I will carefully expose you to lots of different experiences but be by your side.

4. I will show you what to do when you meet a new person and/or dog

5. I will show you where to settle in every room that you go into and every place you visit.

6. I will search for the best food suitable for you and make sure that there is always plenty of fresh water to drink.

7. We will visit lots of new places and show you what you can and cannot do – it is not your fault if you get it wrong, I didn’t help you when you needed it.

Socialisation to me, means teaching life skills and gentle exposure to every possible experience so that my dog can function as sensible adult dog. Giving your dog this opportunity will help them grow in confidence and become brave. Even when they get into trouble, they know that you are with them to help. Keeping your dog safe when they are overwhelmed and allowing them to grow and develop at their pace, is the best way to help and then when they are ready, you can watch them dive right in and enjoy themselves. Work as a team and they will focus right back onto you when you need them to.

At our social skills groups on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, we work together to expose our dogs to as many things as we can, whilst practicing together, ways to help our dogs cope with what is happening. Our trainers are there to help and support you, sharing methods that work. If they dont, then we adapt until they do. No one is left behind and you will find our groups friendly and kind. Sadly however, they are now full, preventing new dogs from joining for the moment. One way to still help, is to sign up for the behaviour package which will allow you to join the group for a one off session. Then when spaces occur, we can get you onto the programme or if you puppy is under the age of 6 months, then why not find out more about our premier puppy programme.

Why not think of 6 different places/experiences you can expose your dog to, which will help them grow in confidence. Here are some of mine:


  1. Visit a local pet store, garden centre or shopping precinct.

  2. Go to the beach, local harbour or marina and get used to all the noises and smells.

  3. Go for a walk with a friend and their dog - on lead

  4. Visit the local countryside and see the farm animals - on lead

  5. Meet a horse and/or rider - on lead

  6. Learn to walk past other people and dogs without meeting them every time

  7. Learn to settle quietly whilst I stop and talk, take in the view/have a cup of coffee

  8. Travel in different vehicles such as cars, buses and trains.- if you love your boat - now is the time to start!

  9. Gets used to being crated at different times of the day and taught to rest

  10. Taken to local playground where there are lots of noisy children to watch and listen.


  1. Be towel dried, the towel not being chewed.

  2. Inspect each paw and prepare for claws to be checked and clipped.

  3. Take collar, harness and lead off without fidgeting and put it all back on

  4. Groom with a brush and stand still to be examined.

  5. Using collar only, move across the room - as in a case where you have no lead.

  6. Sit quietly in the car whilst it is opened and shut - for loading into and out without panic

These are my basics of socialisation and there are many more - why not take time to see how many you can do - and then give your dog a giant cardboard box and see what they do.


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