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Posted: May 26, 2020Category: Uncategorized

The Affects of Covid-19 on Dog Behaviour by Kelly McFarlane

Covid-19 has changed our lifestyles over the past few weeks. Many people brought their new puppy home before lockdown and have not had the opportunity to attend puppy schools.
 

What is socialization?

 
When we bring our new puppy home we want to set them up for life by exposing them to many different things and experiences to help them to become a confident dog.
 
Puppies have missed out on puppy school, we can still help them feel comfortable with new places, noises, people, other dogs.
 

Visitors:

 
We can now have visitors coming to our home, look at how your puppy reacts to the doorbell as it may not have heard it during lockdown. Does your puppy become excited, worried or isn’t interested in the sound it has heard?
 
If your puppy is worried by the sound of the doorbell then you can have someone in the family press it and you can give your puppy a tasty treat. They will start to anticipate that the doorbell means great things will happen.
 
When introducing your dog to guests do not hold your puppy, let them choose if they want to say hello or move away from the person. If your puppy is a worried the guest can sit down quietly or crouch down on the floor, sit side on so that you look small to the puppy and toss the puppy treats but do not hand feed.
 
When meeting children make sure the puppy is not crowded by the children, ideally one child at a time to say hello.
 

Noises:

 
There are some great recordings on YouTube of many different noises to help your puppy become familiar with them, there is traffic, sirens, dogs barking and fireworks to name a few. When using these recordings to help your puppy feel comfortable you must start them on a low level and increase the sound gradually.
 

Surfaces:

 
Puppies need to be used to walking on different surfaces from carpet, concrete to floors where the puppy feels they may slip.
 
Encourage them to walk on the floor by using a toy to encourage play or tossing a treat. Do not pull your puppy to force them to walk on the surface or they may panic.
 

Dogs:

 
If your puppy is displaying fear of other dogs and is barking, cowering when they approach or trying to move away and are not wanting to sniff the other dog. I recommend to see a trainer to set up controlled meet and greets to help your puppy feel more comfortable in the presence of them. Do not keep taking your puppy to the dog park to try and help them get better as this can make them feel like they have no choice to get away from the dogs and can become more fearful.
 
Think if you're scared of a spider do you want someone to put you in a room full of them, will that make you overcome your fear?
 
Remember socialization isn’t just about dogs playing with dogs it is about setting your puppy up for life to cope in many different situations.
 
If you see that your puppy is displaying behaviours that they are fearful then contact Kelly our dog behaviourist. She will be doing behaviour consults in the clinic (dependent on covid-19) or can do home visits. 
Visit her website to learn more about Kelly's services and her contact details.
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