Woman walking a dog

Pup Talk: Benefits of socialisation walks

While lockdown is starting to seem like a thing of the past, its effects on your dog’s behaviour may not be gone just yet. Over the last 18 months, the isolation measures meant that many dogs were unable to interact with other dogs, host guests and visitors in the home, or get out to explore new surroundings. Unfortunately, these situations have created some problematic behaviours, antisocial tendencies, and a general hesitancy towards new stimuli!

Now, as we navigate finding our new ‘normal,’ it’s important to make sure that we’re reestablishing good habits and reintroducing our pups to the world around them. Our We Love Pets branches are offering socialisation walks to do just that, so check out what they’ll offer below:

What are socialisation walks?

Socialisation walks are designed to gradually introduce and expose your dog to new or unfamiliar stimuli. The goal is to make your dog comfortable in a variety of situations, so they can become a confident and well-behaved dog. Your dog will start out on solo walks, but once they become more relaxed (usually in week two), they’ll be matched with a dog that complements their size, age, and/or temperament for additional socialisation.

How can they benefit my dog?

These walks will educate and train dogs to react appropriately to everyday life in the UK. They will improve walking behaviour, enhance social skills, and increase your dog’s confidence when out and about!

What will a socialisation walk look like?

Each socialisation walk will be a one-hour, solo walk. Ideally, walks five days a week are best for long lasting results. In the second week or so, the dogs will be paired with an appropriately matched dog for enhanced socialisation.

Your dog will have a personalised checklist with different scenarios to experience, and progress will be monitored and recorded during each walk. The walker will create a plan with you to ensure that your dog achieves all of their targets.

Some of the stimuli or scenarios that will be addressed include: wheelie bins, busy roads and high trafficked areas, walking through towns, experiencing dog friendly cafes, and approaching other dogs or people from a distance – among others.

What dogs are ideal candidates?

All dogs are welcome! But an ideal candidate is any dog that may have suffered from isolation during lockdown. The skills and targets that the walks will teach may be especially helpful for puppies that were adopted in lockdown.

How do I get my dog started?

Contact your local We Love Pets branch and let them know you’re interested in the Socialisation Walk service. They’ll arrange a meet and greet to make introductions, establish a set of goals for your dog, and collaborate on a plan of action!