Socialising Your Puppy


Hi All, many (not all) dog on dog, dog on people problems and other fears and phobias are caused by or significantly affected by lack of socialisation of the dog when young and throughout their life. Where you get your dog from whether a pup or a juvenile/adult will already be having a lasting effect on the future behaviour of your dog. The process of socialisation really starts as soon as a pup starts to interact with the environment around it. By the end of week two the eyes and ears are open, sounds are being made and reflex actions with some locomotion is taking place. By the end of week three the eyes have responses to light and moving stimuli and the ears (and pup) are responsive to loud noise. So really from end of week three onwards the pup is open to stimuli be they good or indeed bad (scary) and the later, especially noise related can have lifelong bad effect.


Where you get your dog from will have a major effect on your future dogs behaviour and so care must be taken. A good breeder or private owner will hopefully have already put your new best friend on the right road by raising them in a calm, safe and neutering environment. Mum and other litter mates want to be there as much is learnt from interaction between them, this time is of the utmost importance, more can be read about this on my website. Good breeders/owners should already have exposed your prospective pup to some of the novel non scary stimulus found in the following list. If they have not then the work you do on it will be paramount, but take it steady and calmly. You will be taking your new pup at weeks 8-9, definitely not earlier as they will lose out on learning from mum and litter mates. Once you get them home it’s up to you.

Dont Scare Them!

Throughout the socialisation process this should be top of your list. What we need to be doing is exposing your pup to some novel non scary stimulus in a safe and neutering environment. If you scare a pup badly not only may they become scared of what actually scared them in the first place they may also associate the same feelings to something in the environment in which it happened.

For instance, a pup is walking along the street and a car backfires right next to them, as it happened they were looking at a man in a hat, from that day on that dog is scared of not only bangs but also people with hats on, obviously this is only an example but it shows how pups/dogs can develop fear/nervous issues to something not connected to the initial scary stimulus through association.

ocialising Your Puppy

Exposing your pup to novel non scary stimulus does not involve firing a starting pistol next to them (obviously), what it does involve is exposure to:-

Friendly calm people both adults and children.

Other friendly dogs both male and female of different ages (family and friends dogs and other well known dogs, after their inoculations though).

Exposure to other friendly animals like cats.

Feeding your pup on different surfaces like carpet, wood, vinyl, concrete etc (will help them deal with new things later in life).

Taking them to different safe environments after their inoculations (places like the pet shop, family and friends houses, the vets for a jolly etc.)

Take them to some well run puppy socialisation classes, by well run I mean run by a person knowledgeable in canine behaviour with no huge older pups/juveniles that will give a bad association to the whole affair, these classes can be attended after your pups second inoculation. Classes carried out at the vets to give a good association to the vets would be advantageous. Book them well in advance (speak to your chosen vet).

Exposure to different looking things like people with hats on, disabled people if appropriate, large animals like cows and horses, vehicles etc.

Exposure to daily household noises and practices. If possible try to expose them to things at a lower level to start with, like the vacuum on a low level and at the other side of the room. Try not to expose your pup to full on close up scary noises for fear of issues developing.

The more non scary stimulus a pup is exposed to the more sound adult dog you should end up with but do not make it an all consuming mission on your part, do it gradually over several weeks and calmly.

If something does scare your pup the first thing they will probably do is look to you the owner for your reaction. Personally I think it is OK to very quickly reassure them with say a calming stroke to the head but do not go over the top with lots of reassurance as this may well tell them that what just happened was indeed very scary and something to be very worried about and may well sow the seeds for future problems.

Throughout the socialisation process always have a calm slightly jolly mood about yourself and do not push your pup into doing something that is obviously worrying them.

I hope this has given you an insight into the socialisation of your pup and the encouragement to find out more. Much more detailed information and advice about this and other subjects can be found on my website, please take a look, it’s free.

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A Guide to Dog Friendly Holidays in West Cornwall

Dog Friendly Holidays in Cornwall

This is our guide for having the best time in West Cornwall with your dog, without having to leave them behind. Having a smooth time with no stress is what everybody wants on holiday and trying to find places that are dog friendly can become a hassle, particularly if you get there and find out they are not; so this is a chance to find out where the best places in West Cornwall are to go with your dog. 


Holiday Parks:
There are a number of holiday parks in West Cornwall that will accept you and your fury friends, ranging in price and location; there is plenty of choice. The choices for West Cornwall start up at Hayle and go all the way down to St. Ives with plenty of choice in between. Prices for a weeks stay generally range from £99 – £1500, which is dependent on the size of your party and budget, but there really is something for everyone.

Holiday Cottages:
Holiday cottages can be a fantastic form of accommodation that are extremely comfortable. One of the best selections of holiday cottages available to book that are dog can be found at West Cornwall Cottage Holidays – they fully understand just how important your four legged friends are to you and don’t want to see them left behind in kennels or with friends. They actively encourage their cottage owners to accept dogs.

While there may be fewer dog-friendly hotels in West Cornwall than other forms of accommodation, there are some lovely places that you can stay in. For instance, the Mullion Cove Hotel is dog friendly, and has some wonderful sea views with prices per room per night starting from £100. There are many beautiful views in West Cornwall, which can be provided by many hotels, it just depends on your preference as to where you want to stay.

Bed & Breakfasts:
Bed and Breakfasts can offer a very warm and comfortable environment where you can relax and feel like you have a home from home in a holiday destination. With your dog and family this will be the cozy holiday at the English seaside you really want. The Elysian Fields is an example of the type of bed and breakfasts that West Cornwall has to offer.

There are a lot of dog friendly campsites in West Cornwall, which can offer you everything you need when holidaying. The prices range massively from £15 to £250 so whatever you need it can be catered for. Campsites are a great place to take your dog on holiday as there are a lot of open spaces to go on walks and the campsites are often placed in a good location for easy access to local tourist attractions and also hidden coves, if you want to get away from the busier spots.

Beaches are in no short supply in West Cornwall and in the height of summer are understandably very popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. They are a great way to get some fresh sea air and relax in the sun. Some beaches do restrict access for dogs, however the main beaches that do allow dogs on in West Cornwall are:

Long Rock beach
Prussia Cove
Cape Cornwall

Although there are some smaller, tucked away beaches that wouldn’t mind dogs on them, it is always best to make sure with the local authorities before taking your dog onto them.

Cafés, Pubs and Restaurants:
Finding somewhere to have a drink or a bite to eat is a key part of your holiday and can be a place where you have some of your best memories so to have to leave your dog outside while you do so is always a shame, as you have to check they’re ok and feel rushed when inside. Therefore, thankfully, West Cornwall has a lot to offer in accommodating man’s best friend; allowing all of you to go inside and have a fantastic time together.

A big part of taking your dog on holiday with you is trying to find walks that are interesting, fun and safe, and when looking for this West Cornwall is one of the best places. The beauty of walking in Cornwall is that while going on a seemingly normal walk you can come across some wondrous forms of nature, you can see sublime cliff edges, bright blue seas or find a great secluded walkway through fields and trees. Walking in Cornwall is a real place to get in touch with nature alongside your family and pets.


How Dogs Communicate


Hello all, in this blog we will take a look at how dogs communicate and hopefully give you some idea about how good (in their own way) they are at it.

Dogs communicate in four ways, those being Olfactory (smells), Auditory (hearing), Visual and Tactile (touch). I would not be able to cover all these in this one blog so we will have a look at arguably the most important (to a dog) of these, Olfactory communication. I will look at the other forms of canine communication in future blogs.

A dog has evolved to be an expert at Olfactory communication, the dogs nose is an incredible tool, lets have a few facts about that nose first.

A dogs nose can have a Olfactory epithelium (internal nose area) of between 20-200 sq cm depending on breed, we as humans have 2-4 sq cm.

They can have up to 250 Mio (million) scent receptor cells, we have 5 Mio.

Dogs noses are 1-100 Mio more sensitive to Butyric acid (in sweat), so good for tracking, it is estimated that the sweat left in a shoe print is 1 Mio more than threshold.

The area of a dogs brain used to analyse smells is 40 times larger than ours.

So with a nose like this it is somewhat obvious that olfactory communication is very important to the dog.

The dog also has several glands around its body that secrete scents and pheromone messages for others to find.

You will most probably have seen your dog stopping to sniff something when out and about followed closely by some salivating and then their behaviour becomes more intense sometimes to the extent of squealing and rushing around. What has just happened is your dog has found an interesting message, sometimes a long term message, left by another dog, on closer inspection they have licked the scent to transport it to the vomeronasal organ (or Jacobsons organ) found in the roof of your dogs mouth. This organ contains chemo receptors that are connected to the limbic system which is connected to emotional responses, hence the excited behaviour at what they have found. They will lick what they have found, salivate and then become excited about what they have found. What they did indeed find is a chemical message left by another dog from scent or pheromones excreted by that dog.

Hows dogs communicate

Glands that excrete these messages are found throughout your dog, on the side of the head (why they rub their head on smelly things), at the base of the tail called the Supracaudal or violet gland, on either side of the anus (anal glands), on the perineum (between the dogs legs) and between the toes which is why some dogs will scrape the ground after urinating to leave an additional pheromone message from these glands and a visual one from the scraped up ground too (a three fold message).

A dogs urine carries with in it a wealth of information for another dog to find. It can tell a dog the sex, age, status, health, breeding cycle (bitches), nutrition (proteins etc) and most importantly and very accurately how long ago another dog was there and if recently may well give the dog doing the smelling advance warning of something good (female in season) or bad (high status known aggressive dog) in the area, which will provoke a response be it disappearing over the horizon in search of the dog in season or being on guard in case of a meeting with the aggressive dog.

When your dog moves through the environment they are continually scenting the ground and air to pick up on these messages left by others, some are better at it than others (bloodhound for instance), but all are experts at it compared to us, we do not have the tools to do it but to a dog it is a major part of their makeup and way of life and you should allow your dog to carry out these behaviours as it is in my opinion intrinsically linked to a dogs well being, if they want to have a sniff and a pee then let them (if safe of course), olfactory and the other forms of canine communication and the need to carry it out will help with the socialisation of your dog as through experience they will be better at communicating with others.

I hope this has given you a brief but informative look at one of the forms of canine communication, it’s importance to your dog and hopefully a desire to find out more. For a more in depth look at all canine communication have a look at my website, it’s free, have a good day !

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dogways to help with dog behavioural problems