Almost one in five dog owners admit that they are never or rarely in control of their dogs when out on a walk and half claim to be embarrassed by their dog’s behaviour in public, according to research from dog welfare organisations, the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust.
The findings show that puppies that weren’t properly socialised and introduced positively to new situations in the earliest months of their life are the most likely to give their owners trouble.
Common problems that owners face on a frequent basis include their dogs jumping at people (29 per cent) or their dogs being anxious of being left alone (26 per cent). A further 55 per cent say that their dogs have been known to show anti-social behaviour (such as barking, growling, snapping or biting) towards other dogs, and 35 per cent show anti-social behaviour towards people.
To help tackle the problem of poor socialisation, the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust have launched the first ever step-by-step Puppy Socialisation Plan for breeders, rehoming centres and then new owners to follow. The plan lays out steps that will build puppies’ confidence around everything from household appliances and traffic noises, to new ground surfaces, and a range of people, from those with hats and beards, to children.
The breeder or rescue home will work through the first eight weeks, recording each step through a series of diary entries, photos or videos and this is then passed onto the new owner to continue.
Carolyn Menteith, a Kennel Club accredited instructor who developed the plan for the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, said: “The first four months of a pups’ life are when a puppy is developing his soft skills – in other words his social behaviours and how he responds to new and novel things. Failure to expose them to a wide range of different experiences in this early period means that they often struggle to deal with new situations later on.”
They remain as happy and well-socialised as possible.
To find out more about the Puppy Socialisation Plan visit www.thepuppyplan.com
Image: Bob Atkins