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Socialising Your Puppy During a Lockdown

by Julie Holmes

29 April 2020

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Since the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March, we like many businesses are learning to communicate with our customers in new ways. We introduced web chat to our website a few weeks ago, so that our customers can chat to our team of pet advisors directly. One of the questions that seems to be coming up quite frequently at the moment is about Puppy Socialisation during this time of social distancing and quarantine. We spoke with Dog Trainer Julie Holmes about what you can do to socialise your new furbaby during lockdown.

dalmatian dog in training red mills go native and leader treats

“Socialising your puppy during a lockdown shouldn’t be too different to how you would socialise him during under normal circumstances. Even before my puppy has had all his injections I take him out, in the safety of my arms, to see the world at large.  I sit on a park bench, low wall near shops etc., and gently chat away to him as he is watching what is going on.  I always have some tasty treats with me and I will give him one every now and again while he is relaxed. The treats should be small enough to be easily eaten (not crunchy like biscuits) and of a high quality.  I find the Leader and Go Native treats pawfect for the occasion and my puppies love them.”

Allowing your puppy to experience different noises and sights this way will make experiencing them on the ground less traumatic.  

“During this period I am working to ensure my puppy ‘bonds’ with me, thinks I am more safe as well as exciting and fun to be with than other people and dogs.  

The current ‘social distancing’ regulations allows people to talk to the puppy without getting too close and in the puppy’s ‘personal’ space.

Try to imagine how threatened you would feel if a stranger suddenly put his face close up to yours – it can be quite daunting for a 10 week old pup who’s just begun learning about the outside world. All this mental ‘exercise’ will tire the puppy out, and not stress him out.  If your puppy is worried about the distractions then step back, let him experience them from further away. Only moving closer as he learns there is nothing to be worried about.  You can download ‘noise distraction’ recordings from the internet and play the noises in the safety of your home. This can help to acclimatise him (following instructions re usage).

Nowadays people seem to think that socialising a puppy means ‘puppy play dates’, meet ups in the dog park for rough play etc. when in fact it is really a fundamental stage where the puppy learns to respond to his owner around distractions – remember you are more important than other dogs or people.”

Julie Holmes

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