A best-practice socialisation programme

If for whatever reason you find yourself caring for a litter of puppies in their first eight weeks, the aim of the Puppy Plan is to have a nationally-recognised socialisation programme that both provides a framework for socialisation and habituation, and also works as a diary that can be passed onto the new owner so that they can see their puppy’s own development, perhaps with photographs or even short videos if you wish. This recorded programme of development allows new owners to feel more involved with their puppy, gives them a record of their puppy’s socialisation, habituation and early lessons, and lets them see just how committed their chosen breeder is to ensuring the best future for their puppies and how much work goes into raising family dogs.

Reassuring new owners

The new owners can be confident that their puppy has encountered the things that they may to be expected to accept as part of their social group (socialisation) and also all the things they need to learn to accept and ignore – such as loud noises, cars, periods of separation etc (habituation). They will leave with a record of their puppy’s early weeks, and they are able to carry on the Puppy Plan exactly where the breeder left off.

Potential new owners can also use the Puppy Plan to try and choose a puppy form a breeder whose home life is similar to their own  (busy versus quiet household, city versus rural environment, with or without children, cats etc). By doing this, they are more likely to find a puppy who will fit into their new life easily, as they have already learned to be familiar with some of the challenges of their household.

Helping breeders from all walks of life

It doesn’t matter if you are a regular breeder, if you just have a one-off litter, or you are looking after a litter of puppies in a rescue centre - all dogs can follow the Puppy Plan. It is totally inclusive, and no matter your previous breeding experience, it is simple, not particularly time-consuming to complete, and enjoyable for both you and your litter.

For breeders, this means that your puppies are more likely to be successful in their new homes, are less likely to have problems in their new lives, and are less likely to be returned to you or end up in rehoming centres. The Puppy Plan is also consistent with the requirements of Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme – which will give owners even more confidence in both the physical and mental health of your puppies, and their fitness as perfect family dogs.

For many breeders it is what they do already – and for those breeders the Puppy Plan gives a formal way for others to recognise all the work they do to produce the very best puppies they can. For new, or one-off,breeders, the Puppy Plan will provide a framework for socialisation, habituation and early learning.

Preparing puppies for their new life

For rescue and rehoming centres, it is also vitally important that puppies get an education in these early weeks as the bad start they have had often leaves them ill-prepared for life as a family dog, and perhaps even destined to come back into rescue.
As you work through the plan try to record this process with photos (and/or videos) and diary entries, which you can pass onto the new owner when the puppy goes to his new home for them to continue the work you have started. This gives the new owner a record of socialisation which will in turn add value to your puppies – in the same way that health certificates give the owner a proven record of health testing.

A flexible online or offline resource

Whilst the Puppy Socialisation Plan has been designed to be completed online, if you would prefer to work on printed copies or would simply like to print out the tasks as a reference, then we have provided the flexibility for you to do so. Simply visit the “Resources” section, where under “Downloads” you can print off the tasks week by week. It is important, however, for you to log your updates on “My Puppy Plan” so that you can keep track of your litter’s progress.

Boost your website credentials!

Place the official Puppy Plan badge on your website to show your potential puppy buyers that you care about bringing happy, well-socialised puppies into this world! 

Simply right-click on the image below, choose "Save image as..." and save it onto your computer. You can then upload it onto your website and link back to www.thepuppyplan.com. The images below are respectively 300 and 600 pixels wide.