Becoming a new puppy parent during Lockdown can have many advantages - you’re there for toilet training, teething, establishing habits and of course, getting to spend all this time at home curled up with a bundle of fluffy perfection.
There are, however, a plethora of difficult obstacles which failure to address or overcome can cause serious issues later down the line. Watch our PUPPY 101 LOCKDOWN TRAINING GUIDES for comprehensive advice on raising a puppy during COVID-19.
Spending time at home with your puppy can help to establish their toilet routine and teething habits, as you’re there to let them out when they need to and you can redirect their chewing and biting onto toys and games full time. This, however, isn’t and won’t be their regular routine once lockdown ends.
SOLUTION: You want to emulate your normal schedule as best as you can, even though you’re at home for now. Take your puppy to toilet, feed, walk and play with them at the same times you would when you are working full time or attending to your regular commitments. This way they are establishing the routine that will be theirs for life, and not becoming accustomed to whatever they want, whenever they want, all of the time!
Similarly to the above, our current circumstances leave most of us at home for most of the time. Puppies will quickly become used to having 24 hour company and attention, and this can be extremely difficult to unlearn. As a result, your return to work and leaving your puppy alone can become a maze of separation anxiety, stress and worry for both puppy and parent later down the line. SOLUTION: Teaching your dog independence and confidence is the key to learning that time alone isn’t worrying or stressful, but can be enjoyed and relaxing. A well established “Settle” cue, an effective and sustainable routine as well as a properly stimulated puppy pave the way for a calm and reliable adult dog.
As we’re spending our outdoor time dodging one another, zigzagging pavements and keeping our distance, new puppies are missing out on vital opportunities to see and meet other dogs and people when out and about. Socialisation doesn’t necessarily mean greeting and playing with other dogs directly - observing and watching from a distance are equally as formative. Remember, puppies also need socialising with different environments. Going on a train, in a car, to a cafe, a park, seeing traffic, crossing busy roads at the lights, hearing the doorbell, the vacuum cleaner, the hosepipe and so on and so forth to infinity!
SOLUTION: Though the world isn’t booming with life and activity as it normally is, give your puppy the experience of as many different noises, textures and surroundings as you safely can in and around your home. Use social distancing to your advantage - observe people and dogs passing at a distance with your puppy sitting calmly. This teaches them that not every single dog or human has to be interacted with, reduces lead pulling and builds resistance against distractions.
Doggy Daycare is a great way to get your pup started with their socialisation journey safely during Lockdown. With zero human - human contact, your puppy can get started learning how to greet, interact and play with other dogs of all ages and breeds in a purpose built, safe and secure environment with experienced and qualified staff.