How can I socialise my puppy during locakdown?
If you brought home your puppy before or during lockdown, you might have been doing everything you can to socialise them while staying at home and within your own garden. You might now have a puppy of four or five months old who knows all about the tumble dryer and is used to loud noises coming from the TV, but who has never met a child, or someone riding a bike or carrying a walking stick.
Without this important exposure to a wide range of early experiences, many dogs – and there is some variation, depending on an individual dog’s temperament – are fearful when they do encounter these things later on.
When you do start to venture out with a youngster who’s had incomplete socialisation, they’re likely to find it all a bit worrying and may bark at people, other dogs, or moving vehicles, which is no fun at all for either of you!
Depending on what you and the breeder have been able to manage so far, and on the age of your pet when you collect them, it’s likely that you’ll need to work that bit harder on socialisation to help them to cope with the world around them.
Here's some of our top tips:
Take time to allow your puppy to become comfortable with particular situations or experiences will help to ensure that those things really have gone from the puppy’s ‘scary’ list to their ‘trusted’ list.
Socialisation doesn’t have to mean formal or forced introductions to new sights and sounds. Introduce things slowly to them and gradually each day as they become more desensitised to certain situations, increase their exposure.
Always have valuable rewards, or even better still, have that ready when you know you’ll be passing someone or something that your dog isn’t yet happy about, and distract your puppy while keeping on moving.
You can make a positive difference to your puppy's wellbeing by keeping in mind that socialisation is an ongoing project for the first year of their life, so think about opportunities to continue their education even when they’re growing through adolescence and into an adult dog.