???????? Puppy training during lockdown ????????
We had been seeing a lot of new puppies before coronavirus hit us and this period of confinement and self isolation is going to have a big impact on their critical period of developement. We worry that there is a risk they will become introverted and anxious adult dogs as they won’t have the opportunity to socialise. And we all know that anti-social, fearful adult dogs don’t make good pets.
So we’ve got a few suggestions to help.
???? wear different clothing such as hats and high viz jackets around them so they get used to ‘different people’
???? put them up on a work surface or table, as though they are at the vets or groomers, and get them used to you holding their paws, lifting their ears and lips and looking at their eyes. Practice snipping their claws with bathroom nail clippers and give them lots of fuss and treats whist you do all this
???? instead of feeding from a normal bowl, try making a snuffle mat (bit like a rag rug) and putting kibbles in that so they have to root around and feed more slowly. Stuffing (& even freezing) a Kong toy is also good fun for them
???? use technology to create sounds and images that they can’t be exposed to at present. For example, ask Alexa to play car noises, fireworks, dogs barking, engines backfiring, car or house alarms going off etc. Don’t play them at a terrifyingly loud volume! Just loud enough to get a response such as a pricked ear or tilted head and do it alongside something nice such as feeding time.
???? use the time to train them on the lead and with recall. And although you can’t go to a puppy class, they can come to you! Local trainer (& client of ours) Delders Dogs are offering virtual training classes on line and these would be an excellent idea.
???? remember that puppies need time to themselves every day. It’s important that they are comfortable being left alone if they aren’t to develop separation anxiety in future. Make sure they have their own space such a crate or cordoned off area with a comfy bed and water bowl where they can sleep without being disturbed by excited children or other pets. Give them 2 hours a day on their own and then in the future you won’t have to worry every time you go out shopping or to work that they will be distressed or destructive.
???? good luck, have fun and share with us any training tips you have. Breeders are now able to deliver the puppy to you, although collecting them yourself isn't currently under current travel restrictions. Make sure you have video chats with them beforehand so you still get to 'meet' Mum and see her with her puppies.