These may include:
- Attendance at puppy pre-school or training classes
- Only socialising with vaccinated dog in good health. This may include visiting friends’ homes if their dogs are up-to-date with their vaccinations
- Avoid places that have been soiled by animals, such as parks and avoid contact with unvaccinated animals
- If in doubt about any potential risks, discuss them with your veterinarian
- Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, there is essentially no limit to the variety of experiences you can offer them.
Failing to take your puppy out into the world will put them at risk of developing a number of behavioural problems later in life, including fear of places, people and animals. Some of these dogs may go on to develop aggressive behaviour. Aggression is often due to fear or anxiety, and dogs that have little or no experience with the outside world may see people, places and other dogs as potential threats. This means they may react aggressively in order to protect themselves from the threats that they perceive in their environment. Trying to prevent these sorts of problems is the responsibility of new owners and early socialisation with people and other animals, and habituation to noises and places is a great way to minimise the risk of behaviour problems from developing.
It is not uncommon for puppies to show some degree of fear or apprehension when they encounter people and places for the first time. It is very important that you react in a positive manner. You can try to use play as a form of distraction in these situations.
If the fearful behaviour continues then seek advice from your veterinary practice. Your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary behaviourist if necessary. Treatment will be much more effective if started early. Do not think that the problem will get better with time – it may not. Puppies do not necessarily ‘grow out’ of problem behaviours without help.