Social distancing and your puppy

Reward your puppy for watching the world go by with a a treat or praise.

Since my last blog, the scares about our pets potentially carrying Covid 19 have vastly reduced the opportunities to socialise our puppies with strangers in the traditional way. Many people will not want to interact with a puppy even if we maintain our own social distance. So we have to be a little bit more inventive.

In addition to the suggestions made previously, teach them to sit and wait as people maintain their social distance and pass by. In this way we can teach puppies to sit to greet strangers more easily when restrictions relax. Look for signs that your puppy may be nervous such as, hanging back, lip licking, yawning, scratching. If so move a little further away and sprinkle several, small, very tasty treats on the floor for your puppy to sniff and find.

Whichever technique we use we are teaching puppies that people approaching mean good things are coming from us. As pups mature they naturally become more fearful of new things in their world and we can counteract that by making sure they have lots of positive experiences when they are very young. For ideas of activities to help your puppy, see my previous blog Covid 19 and puppy socialisation.

Covid 19 and puppy socialisation

We all know that puppies need to get out and about to learn about the world.

We all want our puppy to grow into a friendly, confident dog

The current restrictions on social distancing are making this more difficult but not impossible

It is vital to give our puppies as much appropriate socialisation as we can in these early months

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Your puppy needs to learn about their new home and to trust their new family through gentle encouragement, handling and play
  • A houseline attached to your puppy’s collar can help you manage them easily when necessary. You can use it to prevent jumping up, chasing the cat, etc so you can reward them for doing the right thing
  • Your puppy doesn’t have to be vaccinated to go for ‘walks’, carry them along the street, take short car trips to new places where they can sit on your lap, watch the world go by and have some snacks
  • As your puppy becomes more confident, introduce changes in your appearance and new things at home using, for example, hats, rucksack, mask, wig, umbrella and so on. Give them safe packaging to explore and play with, put some of their food in as encouragment
  • When your puppy is able to walk away from home you can use the houseline or a 2m Double Ended lead (e.g. HaltiĀ®)to allow them a 3 second meeting with any safe dog you meet (if they want to) while maintaining social distancing recommendations. Make sure you reward them well for coming away with you
  • Let your puppy interact with as many people as possible using equipment which will allow you to maintain social distance. Some may be nervous of this, in which case sprinkle a few treats on the floor for your pup to find and eat as the person passes by