LOCKDOWN PUPPY SOCIALISING
Do you have a new puppy & worrying about not being able to socialise them during this crucial stage of their development? Scared they will not become well adjusted, friendly confident dogs?
Firstly, try not to worry! Instead of worrying about what things you cannot do for them, concentrate on those you can.
Family – build, focus, engagement, routines, confidence & trust with your puppy. This can be achieved by teaching simple easy manners, exercises/tricks & independence on their own. Do all these in different areas of your home &, if you have one, in the garden. When your puppy learns to trust & feel safe with you, this will help their confidence when you can take them out.
Puzzles - introducing canine enrichment, hiding food & toys for them to find will help, not only keep them happily busy & use up energy, but is great for their development.
Handling – it is crucial you puppy is happy & comfortable to be touched all over their body for future visits to the vet, groomers & even when the time comes to meet new people. Spend time moving your hands over their body, checking their ears, mouth, eyes, tail, paws etc. Introduce brushes, combs, hairdryers, & even nail clippers so they happily accept being handled & get used to being groomed.
Dress up – hats, umbrellas, glasses, masks, wigs, coats etc., anything you can find which they may come across outdoors. Puppies have no idea what these are so teach them they are nothing to worry about. When introducing, make them fun, happy & positive experiences.
Noises & smells – puppies can be wary of noises, such as thunderstorms, fire engines, police sirens, loud traffic, fireworks, dogs barking, groups of people laughing etc. On YouTube you can find lots of videos of many noises, so start playing them (quietly to begin with) so your puppy gets used to hearing them. Yet again, always make a positive experience for them. Simple things like changing your deodorant, body spray & perfume will help your puppy get used to other scents/smells.
Adventures – although these are limited, make the most of them, don’t just walk. Stop regularly letting them sniff, check out bins, gates, traffic, cyclists etc & allow them to investigate the outside world. Be fun, engaging & interesting with your puppy. Practice simple manners, exercises & focus. Vary your routes as much as you can. If your puppy is not fully vaccinated you can still take them out, just keep them safe by carrying them, letting them see & smell new things.
People & dogs – respecting the safe 2 metre distance, let you puppy be near to other people/dogs so they can see, smell & hear them (always making a great experience!). While they are at a distance, practice getting their focus & engagement & practice basic exercises. Doing this will help their manners, as allowing puppies to just run up to greet people & dogs can create future problems . Enjoy – treasure spending time with your puppy with play times, cuddles & teaching them, create an amazing bond between you which will last forever.
When life returns to normal & your puppy can go out & continue to build on all the amazing work you have already achieved with them, so they become happy, well behaved & confident.