March 22, 2021
Puppy adoptions are booming thanks to more time spent at home with our families. This National Puppy Day we’re paying homage to our favourite furry sidekicks. To help you celebrate, the team at Mad Paws have been sharing some of their top training tips for your new puppy.
As lockdown restrictions start to lessen, many of us are heading back to the office. Unfortunately, our four-legged friends are finding the shift in our schedules a little daunting. Here are the top 3 most common issues expert trainers are tackling with lockdown puppies, and how you can avoid them!
It’s common for new puppy owners to get over-enthusiastic about socialising. Many people think that socialising their puppy means lots of interaction with everything. The truth is, socialising your dog is simply about habituating them to new stimuli. So, try to avoid having them climb over every other dog, person, cat, or guinea pig they meet!
Ideally, you want your puppy to learn that they are safe in the presence of new things. They also need to realize that unsolicited interactions often aren’t welcome. Using a sensible distance, have any treats, rewards or play come directly from the handler, not the stimuli. This way your puppy can learn to be calm and maintain focus in the presence of others.
New dog owners must keep the sensitivity period in mind. Typically, the sensitivity period varies between 3 – 14 weeks. Some dog breeds are ready to socialise at a much younger age as compared to others. For instance, Yorkshire Terriers and German Shepherds have a small sensitive period; they are ready for socialization as early as 39 – 44 days of age. On the other hand, We Love Doodles states that Goldendoodles, on average, take 4 – 6 weeks to become ready to meet and greet other dogs and people. It’s best to ask an expert about the sensitivity period of your dog before training your puppy to avoid any behavioural damage.
Once your puppy is a little older, try taking them out on walks with other dogs you know. Choose dogs who are calm and uninterested in your puppy. This will teach your puppy appropriate boundaries and body language. Enlisting the help of a professional dog walker or trainer can help to relieve some of the pressures of socialisation. Community Manager at Mad Paws, Thomas Derricott says “Mad Paws Pet Sitters can help to socialise your puppy whilst meeting their exercise needs. This way, Owners can take comfort in the knowledge that their dog’s behaviour and socialisation will evolve even when they’re at work.”
The first few nights with your new puppy can be tough. For both of you! But don’t worry, it’s a natural survival response for puppies to cry when separated from their groups. You and your family are this puppy’s group now, so you should expect a few troubling cries.
It’s not a bad thing to let your puppy sleep in bed with you. Just be consistent and think about the future. Try not to allow your puppy on the bed or sofa one day, and then change your mind the next. If you don’t want your Great Dane puppy sharing your bed with you their whole adult life, work now to get them used to their own bed. That means making their sleep area a fun and interesting place.
Whether you’re using a crate, a pen, or a bed, your puppy should feel safe here. Fill their space with lots of enriching toys, tasty treats, and familiar smells during the day. Try giving them their meals here too. You can start to close the pen/crate for just a few seconds each time once your puppy is accustomed to this new area. Gradually build up to longer periods as they become more comfortable. You can keep this area close to where you sleep at night, to begin with, then shift your pups’ bed steadily to its desired permanent location over a series of nights if you need to.
As we covered earlier, separating your new puppy from the rest of the family can be a distressing experience for them. Derricott says “As working conditions become more flexible, we’re quickly noticing a rise in separation anxiety. Puppies are now forced to adapt to less time with their owners – a real change from the previous 24/7 cuddles and attention.”
Spending lots of time hanging out with your new puppy and playing with them is vital bonding time. It allows them to get used to you and their new setup. Just be mindful not to pester your puppy when they want to snooze! And avoid giving them free rein over your entire home. Keeping their new environment relatively restricted helps to make things less overwhelming.
Inevitably though, we all have to leave our pets alone at some time or another. Sadly, even the most confident dogs can show signs of distress when separated from their humans. Having a trusted sitter can be a vital tool in helping you to tackle the issues of separation anxiety. Introducing someone to your pup early in their life will allow for a smoother handover later on.
“While having Dog Sitters accessible has always been beneficial, it’s quickly becoming a necessity. Hiring Dog Sitters for the afternoons when Owners aren’t at home will do wonders for helping with the transition into new living conditions for the pup. Before you make a booking, you can meet up with Sitters to ensure your dog gets to know them to help them feel at ease. A Sitter can help ease the separation anxiety and you can slowly start to leave your pet for longer periods as they become more comfortable.”
Things to remember
Dog training requires plenty of patience and pawsitivity. Take your time, work with your puppy, and make any changes slowly. Be aware that your puppy doesn’t speak the same language as you, so sometimes things could get a little frustrating.
For all the noisy nights, filthy floors and confounding craziness, adding a new puppy to your family brings unimaginable joy. Create a lasting bond by staying up to date on the latest training tips and tricks. And most importantly, enjoy each new moment as you watch your furbaby grow into the loving pet you always wanted.
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