Updated: Aug 6, 2020
So 2020 hasn't quite been the year most of us anticipated... however one positive that has come from this crazy year has been the number of people welcoming new puppies in to their families! And what a lovely opportunity - to get a fluffy, super cute ball of fur while you're working from home and have the time to devote to them.
But having a new puppy during lockdown has come along with a number of challenges. Everyone talks about how important it is to socialise your pup - well no-one considered the implications of Covid-19! We haven't been able to socialise ourselves, never mind our puppies! And what about the dreaded return to the office? How is the pup that has been used to your undivided attention going to cope when they have to be left alone for any period of time?
Well the good news is that you don't need to worry about the 'essential period of socialisation' you hear about. Not all is lost... you're not doomed to have to deal with an unsocialised puppy who is destined to turn in to a nightmare of a dog all because you weren't able to take them to a coveted puppy party!
In fact, socialisation can be overrated. Of course we think it's good for puppies to meet lots of other dogs and people, but they certainly don't have to play with other dogs all day every day. And they don't have to have a meet and greet opportunity with every other puppy, dog or person they see. In fact this can cause more problems for your dog in the long run. Everyone is super keen to meet and pet a cute little puppy - but what happens when that puppy grows in to a dog? Not everyone will rush to meet your pup then, nor will other dogs give them the leeway they were awarded when they were a puppy. This can often lead to a frustrated dog - a dog that became very used to being allowed to meet and greet everyone and everything on a walk, now been held back by their owner. A frustrated dog can exhibit the same behaviour issues as a reactive dog. Pulling on leash and barking and lunging at other dogs and people.
So all is not lost. Let's spin this on it's head and think about the issues we might have prevented by not over-socialising our new pups! But.. we really do need to think about how we now help our puppies to build their confidence and see the world with an optimistic outlook. By building optimism we help our dogs to take novelty in their stride. So when they see people they aren't used to - that's cool. When they see new dogs - that's fine! Turn a corner and come face to face with clown riding a unicycle - happy with that too! We also need to build their confidence and independence which is critical to helping them feel settled, calm and comfortable when you have to start leaving them home alone for any period of time.
At Transformation Dogs, we use concept training. A training approach that helps your dog to build the skills they need to deal with the world around them and behave in the way you want them to. And with a whole host of super fun, simple and quick games, we can help you to equip your dog with the self-control, optimism and confidence to deal with the world when you can't always be by their side (sad though that is!)
Check out the range of training solutions we have available, including classes, 121 sessions, and online training. If you're not sure of the best option for your pup don't hesitate to get in touch - we'll do our best to answer all of your puppy related questions!