Why Puppy Socialisation is important


I ran into a really big dog the other day. And when I say big, I mean really HUGE. He was a twelve month old Great Dane and his human said he weighed in at 75 kg – that is three times my weight!

My humans have trained me to get along and play with dogs of all shapes and sizes since I was a little puppy. The dog trainer said it was part of my puppy socialisation, and I never really understood why its so important until last week when I met the giant.


Saying Hello

When puppies are allowed to socialise with other puppies and dogs we learn how to talk dog and play nice. This might sound like something you learn in a heartbeat, but its a really complicated process and you need to meet hundreds of other dogs before you’re fluent. For example, a light hearted play bow might not go down as well with an old grumpy bitch as with a playful puppy your own age. It might also be a good idea to look submissive if the neighborhood’s meanest dog trots by looking for trouble.

Also, when you play with other puppies your own age you learn to play nice, they tend to squeak if you bite too hard or  do something they don’t like. I had to learn to be very gentle with the smaller dogs in our local park for example because I’m one of the bigger dogs there. You pick it up quite quickly and its a lot of fun too.


I'm the blurry black dot chasing the big dog

A Game of Chase

When I met the Great Dane and invited him to a game of chase, I thought he’d been through the same training as me. He was friendly enough, don’t get me wrong, but he didn’t seem aware of his own strength. When he caught up with me and put his giant paw on my back I squeaked like a squirrel with his tail stuck in a car door. He  was a friendly but suddenly I realised how the Chihuahuas must feel when I chase after them in our local park.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I was relieved the humans broke up our game, especially after the big dog’s human told how he’d accidentally broken their other dog’s leg by simply sliding into him when they were playing a while back. Their other dog is apparently roughly my size and I’m guessing he’s learned to be very fast on his paws by now.


No Chihuahuas' were hurt during this photoshoot. Photo Ian Hutton

What do you think – should I have continued the game and taught him how to play nice, or did our humans do the right thing breaking up our play?







  1. Inga says

    I think they did the right thing Alfie, because it seems that the ‘Great Dane’ still has to learn a thing or two and that will probably take a little more time than just during your game. You would have been at risk, even though he didn’t mean to hurt you, so yes, better be safe than sorry!
    Lots of stuff to be learnt indeed, isn’t there…
    Meanwhile, have fun with your friends in the local park and maybe, by the time you meet the ‘Great Dane’ again, he understands better how to go about playing and you’ll become great friends!

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