The first 17 weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial for learning and socialisation. Putting time into your new puppy will set the good foundation for a confident, happy dog.
Socialisation is about having a range of new experiences, not just meeting other dogs. Learning to keep calm and ignore other dogs/people is just as important as learning how to interact with them. Chose the dogs your pup interacts with carefully and watch to make sure your pup is enjoying the interaction. One bad experience with another dog bullying them while they are young can stay with a pup for the rest of its life.
When you take a puppy home it is critical that they are exposed to new sights, sounds and surfaces inside and outside the home. There are some great Apps available to help with sounds (so for example you can play thunderstorm noises quietly in the background while your pup plays with you and enjoys some treats), and you pile up some cushions and empty boxes on the floor so your pup practices climbing and balancing.
Puppies need to see different people e.g. kids, hi viz vests, people in hats/helmets. Even umbrellas, bicycles and skateboards can be scary to a pup. If you’re out with your puppy and they see something that frightens them, DON’T make them approach it. Instead just stay at a distance where your pup is not afraid, let your pup see that you’re not worried, give them some treats and move away when you are ready. Take your time building up your dog’s confidence, and the next time they see the thing that scares them they’ll remember that last time they saw this, they got some treats.
It is also important that your pup learns to spend time without you. Do this gradually by spending time in a different room through to leaving that house gradually increasing the time apart. Don’t make a fuss when you return. Have a safe space where your puppy can have toys and not get into too much mischief. Do not scold or punish your puppy if things go sideways. Do reward good behaviour.
Puppy training schools provide interaction and exposure to new things. They are important for you and puppy. You will get tips on training, understanding your dog and what to expect in the future. There are puppy training schools currently running online sessions.