In our last blog we asked, “What is keeping you and your dog busy during this difficult time?“. Most people are finding walks and short play times easy to add to their routine. But don’t forget to try teaching your dog new tricks or just give them a relaxing brush.
These are certainly difficult times and we want to continue to let everyone know we are thinking of you and your fur-family. We mentioned in our April 5 weekly update that the health and welfare of your dogs is our main concern.
Some of our clients, particularly those with younger dogs, have been expressing concern about the lack of socialization opportunities they have, and the new behavioral issues that are starting to show during this time of social and physical distancing.
Research shows that socialization opportunities should continue to be provided for the first 9 to 12 months of life.
At this age young dogs are in a very important socialization and learning stage. Lack of socialization during this stage can lead to fear and aggressive behaviors. If they have no experience with different things or people they can end up being afraid of them.
So what can you do?
Introduce your Puppy to:
Different people – Put your puppy on a long lead and ask people you see on your walk if they would be ok with your pup saying a quick “Hi”. Remember to have treats ready to reinforce. Other social animals – If all parties agree, let your pup spend a few moments with another dog that is agreeable to a new friend.
- Different sounds – This is not the time to turn down the radio or tv. Try to figure out how many new sounds you can expose your dog to every day. (Don’t forget the doorbell!)
- Different environments – Let your dog explore (supervised) all rooms in your house, including the basement and garage, and also include all parts of your yard or sidewalks.
- Trips and different locations – While we all need to be socially and physically distancing that does not stop us from putting our pup in the car and exposing them to new sensations and smells.
Handle your Pup:
Handle your pup often so he gets used to having his toes, ears and other body parts touched. Dogs aren’t born used to being handled and we need to teach them it’s OK. Give treats after handling.
Meet and Greet with your vet:
This may be more difficult to do, but most veterinarians understand the need for proper socialization and may be open to spending a few minutes with your pup just giving them a few treats.
Playtime by Themselves:
Give your pup some toys and let him play by himself. As we’ve mentioned in previous communications we want to spend time with our fur-family but we have to also make sure that we do not create anxiety by any changes in our schedule. Most of us will be going back to work at some point and this will be particularly confusing for young dogs.
Crate or Confinement Training:
Puppies need crate or confinement training. Teach your pup he has a safe place to go sleep – or just to get away from things he doesn’t like. Give him choice. For example, if he doesn’t want to be in the room when the kids are playing or visitors are over, let him go to his crate. Forcing him to stay may make him anxious or afraid of the people you’re trying to socialize him with.
Your goal is to help your puppy experience as many new and different things as possible before they turn 3 months old, but to also keep this up until they are about 12 months.
We are thinking of all of you at this time and we do miss our furry friends – and yes you too paw parents!
We hope you are all keeping healthy. We are happy to say our daycare remains open and we are helping those that are still working plus making sure the young pups are getting socialized which is so important so when we can be social again. Our Grooming Salon is still temporarily closed and also all our classes and playdates are postponed.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 905-640-DOGS(3647). We thank you for your understanding and we look forward to your return when things are safe.
Take care and stay healthy,