Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Raising a puppy in the time of social distancing is an interesting prospect so let's have a look at what this means and how you can do the best by your new puppy.
Puppies have a critical period of development in which we have to make sure they see as much of the world as they can. This allows them to generalise their learning far more easily. Things like children, people in hats, men, people of different races and builds, a variety of dogs are all things that fall into the category of 'the more the better' when it comes to exposure and learning.
The things a puppy sees, hears and smells during that critical period of 0-16weeks of age can be generalised much more easily then if they experience them after that time.
The saving grace is that your dog doesn't have to actually interact with these things.
If you're in a part of the world where you can still leave the house and get out with your dog, there are still ways you can have your pup experience what they need to.
The most important component of socialisation is that your dog sees a new thing or individual and has a positive experience in its presence.
The things that apply in my blog linked < here > still apply to this to protect your puppy from Parvovirus while still getting the social exposure they need. Keep everything clean, use common sense, stick to areas that are low risk.
So what can you consider doing?
You can take them to a carpark, park at the edge and sit in your boot with your puppy watching people go by, give them treats as they acknowledge them.
You can do the same parking near a dog park, or any other park dogs frequent, keep the puppy in your arms or sitting in the car with you and let them take in the dogs an people in front of them. You could even set up a pop up exercise pen with a built in floor so they can move around and watch things or play with you in the new environment.
Bring a puppy pad so your puppy can toilet if they need without being put on the ground.
Advocating for space for your puppy is now supported by social distancing laws so you can politely decline people and their dogs interacting with your puppy in the name of these laws, which prevents potential harmful or less then desired outcomes for your training.
Encourage confidence and engagement with you, the owner, during this time.
You can do heaps to bolster your p
uppy's confidence with environmental factors in this time that can only help them later on.
-Train with appliances, loud garden implements, noise apps for puppies that include thunder, motor noise, baby sounds.
- Train on a variety of surfaces and encourage climbing and range of movement, scatter their breakfast over a group of objects or into a plastic clam full of plastic bottles or cans.
-Train with engagement games and teach your puppy how to play with toys
- Use plenty of enrichment, check out my boredom busters blog for more on that
- Work on crate training and make sure that your puppy is comfortable being left alone for when you go back to work. They should spend periods of time apart from you.
- Start teaching your puppy new things like sit and down or little tricks
If you are unsure how to train your puppy, don't know where to start or what to do, get in touch! We are doing video consultations where we can coach you on everything puppy raising. Check out out services tab for more info!