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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

At this difficult time it is not possible to socialise a new puppy to a wide range of people, dogs and other animals due to social distancing measures. It is also not possible to habituate a new puppy to everything we would like either. However there are things we can do which may help.

When out with your puppy you are still likely to encounter other people and dogs following social distancing rules. A puppy can become over excited at these times wishing to say hello. As this is not able to happen a puppy can become frustrated and may start to pull on the lead and bark. This is something we want to try and reduce as a puppy behaving this way may start to suffer from stress and positive associations may not be made.

When encountering another person or a person with their dog try to keep your puppy calm. As soon as you and your puppy see another person or person with a dog give your puppy treats as you walk past them following social distancing rules. This will help keep your puppy calm and make positive associations with the person and the dog. Then praise your puppy calmly by taking to them calmly and a gentle stroke.

If a puppy can start to be calm in these situations now, when we can return to normality and when encountering other people and dogs a puppy will have made positive associations with people and dogs and maybe less likely to show any signs of fear in these situations.

If your puppy does start pulling or barking due to wanting to interact with people and other dogs try to distract them with treats and guide them into another behaviour such as a sit. If you canít calm your puppy down then walk them away from the situation then next time in the same situation get your puppy focused on you earlier.

After following this advice when your puppy sees a person or another dog on your walk and your puppy instantly looks at you for a reward. You will know a positive association has been made. Donít worry if this doesnít happen as not all puppyís will do this and it doesnít mean a positive association has not been made.

You can habituate your puppy to some everyday sounds at home, on your walks, and also through YouTube. If using sounds on YouTube start with the volume on low then play or feed your puppy treats when doing this. Overtime gradually increase the volume.

When life returns to normal and itís possible to socialise your puppy please donít overpower a puppy with greeting to many people and dogs at one time. Take things gradually so your puppy can adjust and doesnít become stressed. It is the same for habituation to different environments and sounds do this gradually as well. If you overpower your puppy with people, other dogs, environments and different sounds your puppy may suffer from stress and anxiety.

The recall is very important but at this time no matter how much you have practiced this at home giving you confidence your puppy will come back please keep your puppy on a lead and under control at all times while your on your walks. Walks offer a puppy new things to investigate and your puppy may not comeback.

Itís also important all of us with older dogs who are already socialised to remember socialisation is a life long process. Some dogs when isolated from other dogs for a period of time can show changes in behaviour in these situations. Be aware of your dogs body language and behaviour when social distancing rules are eased.

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Last edited by snowleopard on Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Jacquietwig
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:03 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Excellent advice Chris Very Happy As you say it is also a worry that our older dogs will become anti social after this period as we are turning away from people and they could make bad associations.

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks Jacquie xxx

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maxnick
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks Chris. Good advice.
I was wondering how older dogs would cope too. We still talk to people if we meet them (from a safe distance) & if they wish their dog to interact with mine, we let them, as he is so good with other dogs. We are trying to keep it as normal as possible for him.

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Heidiwuff
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Likewise, Max.

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Nina07
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:31 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you very much for your interesting post, Chris. At my dog club we have what we call "Puppy School", and of course since the beginning of lockdown, the club has been closed and the puppies stay at home with their owners... If the puppy is not the only dog at home, I suppose it will be better for its social life as it will still have contacts with other dogs, but if the puppy is on its own, I think it's going to be quite difficult to resume their socializing when things go back to normal, with puppies at least 2 months older and having had no training for that period of time... Here we are only allowed very short walks within 1 km of our houses, and as we live in rural areas, there are strong chances we do not meet anyone, let alone any dog, on these outings...

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you everyone Iím glad you like my advice.

Thanks Nina, yes I agree at least if someone has an older dog already the puppy is able to learn some social skills from the older dog. Sadly I my experience it doesnít help with socialisation as the puppy only gets used to the dog it lives with.

The impact on our pups and older dogs could be great as we move forward and eventually return to some normality. My family and I have had the virus and have had to isolate for 14 days, thankfully we are now all well. However our little dog Hovis has had to isolate with us and despite playing with him in the garden when we felt better he is very confused and now poos in the house due to stress. We can go out tomorrow and his walks can resume so this will help him. Sadly he canít play with his friends and itís just him and me.

From today now Iím better Iím offering free professional behaviour advice to anyone whoís dog is experiencing emotional and behaviour changes due to the current circumstances . It will be limited due to the form of communication this will have to take but sometimes itís good to talk and share a concern xxx

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Jacquietwig
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry to hear you have been poorly Chris, thank goodness you have all got over it safely. Take care and don't forget to keep resting for a while.

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you Jacquie xxx

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Heidiwuff
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Best wishes for a speedy recovery Chris, and that Hovis gets over his stress.

xx
Mary

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Nina07
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:08 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Oh Chris I had no idea you had been "attacked" by that virus! Best wishes to you and to your family for a full recovery.

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Sandownbeardie
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

So pleased to hear that you have all recovered Chris. Please keep safe everyone.
xxxx

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maxnick
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Glad you are all recovering Chris. Best wishes & I hope Hovis soon gets over this too.

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks so much for the kind words. We are doing really well and I went on our first walk this morning with Hovis.

Everyone keep safe and take care xxx

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judy g
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry to hear that you and your family have had the virus, Chris but very glad to hear that you are all on the mend and can go out soon - what a brilliant name, by the way - Hovis! Have a lovely walk Smile

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you Judy. Itís nice to get out again and get some fresh air xxx

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I bet, Chris, and it has been so lovely lately. Enjoy!

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