Some advice on helping your pet during lockdown
Living in lockdown is a learning curve for us all, even more so for people with pets as we all adapt to a change in routine. In these very unusual times having to socially distance and stay at home can have an impact on your pets so we have put together some useful information for our pet owners. We will be updating this page regularly sharing tips and advice to help you through these challenging times.
Worried about socialisation in lock down?
Please read below for some helpful tips on puppy socialisation from Kathryn Wellock.
Socialisation part one – Being Left Alone
It is important to expose our young puppies to a variety of things and situations they will likely encounter in day-to-day life. This can prevent problem behaviours developing. The current restrictions are going to have an impact on our puppies socialisation and development but we can still do lots so don’t panic!
Our puppies are going to get used to having us around all the time so it is important that we give them the skills to be able to cope when things return to normal. At some point they are going to be left on their own. Of course you need to play with your pup but also encourage them to do things independently. Fill a Kong and leave them for a few minutes. Close doors behind you and leave them alone briefly and then return. Throw your pups food around your yard or garden, walk back inside whilst they look for and eat the food. Set up items around a room for them to explore independently, hide treats in these things so they learn exploring and doing things on their own is fun and rewarding.
I’ll be covering more socialisation topics over the next few days.
Socialisation part two – Noise
It is important to introduce our pups to noise so they are not startled or frightened when they come across sudden loud noises. Noise inside and outside is a huge part of any dogs day-to-day life so it’s really important that when things are back to normal they can cope with this and are not fearful. We can’t get out as much with our pups at the moment but we can get our pups used to noise in the home –
- Play music
- Bang your cupboard doors
- Drop things on the floor
- Clap your hands
- Play a musical instrument
- Clang pans together
We want our pups to notice the sound but not to be frightened so it’s important to build up the level of noise gradually. Whilst you are making the noise, throw small treats on the floor to make a positive association to the noise.
Socialisation part three – Biting
Are you in lockdown with a baby dinosaur? – Biting is completely normal behaviour for puppies! What should you do?
Do not encourage your puppy to play with and bite your hands. It may seem like a great game but you are teaching your puppy it’s great fun to bite you! When playing with your puppy always make sure you have a toy, long toys are great as it keeps their mouth a good distance away from your hands. If your puppy is biting you hard, stop all play, walk away and become really boring. Don’t push your puppy away or squeak as this will excite your puppy more and biting may increase. If your puppy is biting your clothes, redirect them to something else by throwing or wiggling a toy for them to grab. Do not punish your puppy for biting as this can create problems later.