Just like us, pets can be affected by changes in routine, including socialisation. Are you struggling to come up with ideas to keep your pup socialised at a time of social isolation? Read below for some tips.
- Use more “Lick Mats” and other treat distractions. A single traumatic event at 8-10 weeks of life can cause lifelong effects.
- Puppies over 18 weeks that have not had adequate socialisation can still be helped, they just require a lot more work.
- How you want your puppy to be as an adult dog needs to be started from the beginning. If you don’t want your puppy to be sleeping in your bed, don’t allow it from day one. If owners are going back to work after restrictions are lifted, they need to get used to that now.
- Continuing a “routine” even though you are working from home will help puppies get used to being by themselves and won’t freak out when everyone goes back to work. Allowing puppies to be alone for longer periods of time is vital during this period to avoid separation anxiety in the future. For example, start off the day normally – eat breakfast, have a shower and get ready. Then put them outside or in a playpen/crate during the day. Next “arrive home” as normal so the puppy learns you will come back home.
- For introducing puppies to new people/visitors, having someone dress up (hats, glasses, hi vis shirt etc) and have them go outside and knock or ring the doorbell to pretend to visit. Then, teach the puppy to sit and be calm when people visit.
- ALWAYS supervise children around dogs. Children need to learn how to be gentle and dogs should not be expected to “put up with it”
- A walk/exercise/play before alone time can help puppies feel relaxed and calm before being put outside. Always provide enrichment in the form of slow feeders, treat balls, toys etc to help entertain them whilst you are gone and so there is a positive association with being left alone.
- Allow puppies to meet neighbours at a safe distance (over a fence, across the driveway, etc)
- Take outside for new surroundings but keep off the ground.