Socialising puppies - how it works

You're getting a puppy for the first time and you're not sure what to teach it? Don't worry, these worries are normal! After all, this is the beginning of an exciting new time. We will help you to master your eventful beginning. In order for your puppy to be well-adjusted and comfortable, it's important to socialise him. Socialisation means that your puppy gets to know its environment, learns the right social behaviour and how to interact with other living creatures. Socialising your puppy also strengthens your relationship: you build trust and bond with each other.

Your puppy's socialisation phases - when to start?

The socialisation of your puppy should start at the beginning of his life, so that he can meet new situations and impressions with calmness. Your puppy goes through different phases in its development. How much he learns in these phases in his first months of life is decisive for his behaviour. The most important phases in the dog's development include the imprinting phase and the socialisation phase.

Stamping phase: The stamping phase, which lasts from about the 4th to the 8th week of the puppy's life, is ideally spent with the mother and her siblings. They learn the most important social behaviours from them. During this time, the dog's brain eagerly absorbs everything it experiences. These learning experiences accompany the pelt-nose throughout its life and shape it. It is therefore important that the breeder or the shelter provides the puppy with many positive experiences and that the puppy gets to know all kinds of things during the imprinting phase.

Socialisation phase: The socialisation phase takes place from the 8th to the 12th week of life. During this time, the puppy is allowed to move into its new home with you. Now it's up to you as the owner to show your young pelt-nose as much as possible and get it used to its new everyday life, for example with these 3 tips:

  1. After moving in, the first thing your puppy should do is get to know the flat or the house so that he can quickly feel at home.
  2. The first steps of the socialisation phase also include getting your fluffy friend used to people and animals he will have a lot of contact with.
  3. It is also important to show him objects and sounds that are commonplace when living with people, such as hoovers or bicycles.

Our tip: The more your puppy gets to know during this time, the less likely it is to develop behavioural problems or fears. On the contrary, your four-legged friend will become self-confident through a positive socialisation phase.

How do I socialise my puppy? - Tips and tricks

Socialising your puppy means confronting him with different stimuli and experiences in the first few weeks - without overtaxing your little four-legged friend. He should have as many positive experiences as possible and grow up to be a happy, confident dog. If you overstress your puppy with unfamiliar stimuli, he may react with aggressive or fearful behaviour. But don't worry - with our tips, socialisation should work:

  • Allow your puppy to rest. Your pet's brain needs breaks to process new things. That way, it will soon be ready for more experiences. Dogs need 18-20 hours of rest and sleep a day! If there is less, the stress hormone in the body increases and the dog cannot learn. This susceptibility to stress then often continues throughout life.
  • Always try to have fun with the new tasks. Your puppy will sense and reflect the mood you are in. If you enjoy showing him new things, he will be less afraid and it will be easier for him to react positively to the unknown.
  • Don't forget to reward your fluffy friend when he has mastered an unfamiliar noise or a frightening situation. Even small steps count as success and will soon help your furry friend to find his way in his environment and in everyday life.
  • Getting to know the flat and house: the first two weeks in the new home should give the puppy time to get used to its new surroundings and its new pack. You shouldn't do much here, don't receive visitors, but you should familiarise them with everyday life. If you are usually in the office in the mornings, this phase should also be quiet so that the puppy gets used to it.
  • Contact: the puppy should have plenty of contact with dogs of the same age, but also with older dogs. Care must be taken here to ensure that the dogs are as socially competent and confident as possible. After all, the puppy should learn good behaviour and not become a bully. Learning social communication between dogs is important, but rules and boundaries must also be learnt! Puppy groups are important, but should be rather small or several trainers should supervise the group at the same time.

Vanessa from the We love HUNTER team:

"With my Elli, who is now a senior, I didn't continue the socialisation after puppyhood. When my Elli entered puberty, she forgot things and situations she had experienced as a puppy and was suddenly fearful. It took a little longer, but eventually we got a handle on it again. I then consistently continued the socialisation of my second dog Naja - there were no problems with her during puberty!"

Our tip: If an adult dog moves in with you who was not sufficiently socialised at the beginning of his life and shows aggression or is fearful: Don't despair! He will not build up boundless self-confidence, but with time, patience and trust you can make progress. A trainer can advise and support you in this.

Checklist for socialising your puppy

If your puppy gets to know many different everyday situations and environmental stimuli during his socialisation, you can enjoy many carefree experiences together. Our socialisation checklist gives you a good overview of the milestones you can reach. But take it easy, you don't have to confront your fur friend with every item on this list: Try to find the right balance so as not to overwhelm your puppy.


Already at the breeder, puppies should meet many different people to learn that they do not have to be afraid of them. You should continue this process of getting used to other people after your pet has moved in. Watch out for encounters with:

  • People in your family and close environment that your little furry friend will see often
  • Visits, so that your young four-legged friend learns that he can relax when strangers come to visit him.
  • Neighbours
  • People in wheelchairs, as the device can be scary for your fur friend if they don't know it
  • Seniors
  • Children and babies, who behave differently from adults, e.g. by making different noises and reacting differently, which could frighten or unsettle your dog.
  • Strollers and joggers
  • the veterinarian,
  • the groomer depending on the coat type

Other dogs:

You can support your puppy's social behaviour by letting him come into contact with other dogs at an early age. This works best

  • in a dog school:
    There he meets other puppies, other breeds, older dogs and dogs with different characters. It is important that the play among each other is controlled. Especially with big dogs, make sure that they don't approach your puppy too impetuously - it can happen that your puppy stores this encounter negatively.
  • on the dog run or during your daily walks:
    Your puppy can learn how to communicate with each other from other dogs. When meeting and interacting with other dogs, it is important that your little pelt-nose has positive experiences. This works best with well-socialised and friendly dogs and other puppies of the right age and size. If your puppy is still very timid, a visit to a dog run with a pack of dogs could quickly become too much for him - there is no puppy protection there. In such cases, it is best to seek contact with individual dogs during your walks.


Your puppy should get to know objects as early as possible that are part of his life with people, such as vacuum cleaners, garbage can, grates or clothes horse. If you gently show your fluffy four-legged friend that these things are not dangerous for him, it will be easier for him to get used to them.


Puppies should be exposed early on to stimuli that they will encounter repeatedly in their lives, such as different noises. Loud and sudden noises can frighten your dog and startle him. Therefore, carefully let your dog get to know unfamiliar noises such as a car horn, the doorbell, a vacuum cleaner, a hairdryer or the slamming of a dustbin.

Grooming and vet:

It's best to get your little pelt nose used to certain grooming rituals and the vet at an early age, these include:

  • Coat care: brushing and grooming
  • Ear care: touching and shining in the ears
  • Paw and claw care: letting them hold their paw and trimming their claws
  • Showing teeth
  • Muzzle training

Means of transport:

To keep your pet stress to a minimum, you should also teach him how to use different means of transport. The most important ones are

  • the bicycle,
  • the train,
  • cars and
  • riding the bus

Our tip: In order not to overtax your four-legged friend, don't choose a busy street for your walk at the beginning, but rather one in a place where you will only encounter a few cars. You should also show your puppy how to drive so that you can go on relaxed tours.


Introduce your pet at an early age to other creatures that you will often meet in everyday life. These include for example

  • cats,
  • horses,
  • and wild animals such as birds, squirrels or deer.


Part of your puppy's socialisation is exploring different environments and surfaces. You can let him discover different things in your neighbourhood and take him on excursions. Show him how to do this:

  • the city,
  • the forest,
  • lifts,
  • underpasses
  • a school or
  • vistit friends and family.

Conclusion: With patience, fun and the appropriate measure - today a visit to a friend's house, the day after tomorrow you'll be driving a car for the first time - your puppy will gradually learn the right social behaviours. By showing your growing darling a lot of everyday things, you can support him in going through life confidently and sovereignly. How has socialisation worked for you and your puppy? Are there any situations that were particularly difficult for your puppy? We are looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

Comments There is no comment for this post yet.
write Comment