Battersea Q&A: How do I make sure my rescue dog is happy?
(Q) We’ve recently rehomed a pup who ended up in a rescue centre after being given as an unwanted Christmas present. How can we do our best to make Ben a happy, well-behaved young dog?
(A) Battersea canine welfare trainer Nathalie Ingham says: As dogs get older, they become more wary of new experiences and people, so their first few months are a really important stage of their lives. It will be impossible for you to expose Ben to everything he’ll encounter along the way through his life, but the more experiences he has while young, the more confident he’ll be.
Sounds, people, smells, vehicles, and movement are all things Ben should be able to take in his stride, so expose him (safely, of course) to all of these, by setting up your own socialisation programme. These are the type of experiences you should try to include:
Differing heights: tall and short; different age groups including babies, children, and elderly people; beards and moustaches; hats/motorcycle helmets; wheelchair users and other disabled people; people of different cultures.
Vacuum cleaner; telephone; doorbell; washing machine and tumble dryer; stereo; TV; lawn mower; umbrella.
Outside places and sounds
Car horns; parks and wide open spaces; different surfaces (gravel, plastic, grass, sand); aeroplanes; school grounds during breaks and lunchtime; children laughing/crying; fireworks; water; vet’s surgery.
The Underground; trains; buses; cars; trucks; lifts; busy roads.
Other dogs (all sizes, breeds, ages, sexes); cats; birds; rabbits; horses. If Ben is able to investigate something new in a safe and positive way, then let him. Always ensure you have control of the situation and are able to remove him from it if needed.