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Sandyford
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When we get back to normal?

When we get back to normal?

Ok, hands up if you love puppies and got one over the last 10 months? If not, this post is not really for you though you are welcome to stay and have a read.

Puppies are seriously cute and sweet and funny and did I say cute? Puppies can cause the most serious of human beings to begin speaking in a baby voice, even more so sometimes than they would do to a human baby! When we see one we all want to pick it up and cuddle it, kiss its little button nose and find a corner to go snuggle with puppy in peace. Does this sound familiar at all? Since Covid 19 has come along there has been a huge upsurge in people getting pups, and to be fair for many it makes sense We are working from home more, so we can spend lots of time with the puppy, bonding, training, playing, and getting them used to our life.

However, I have begun to notice over the last few weeks there is a constant stream of “when things get back to normal” questions on the news, social media, newspapers & radio shows and while we humans may have a wish list as long as our supermarket shopping receipts of where we want to head off to, who we want to see and how we will begin living life to the full once we are released from lockdown, what about our puppy pals?

You see, lockdown has been brilliant for the pups, they get to spend all day and night in the company of their best friend, YOU! They have your attention when they want to play, you and those who you live with, have as a family built up a routine that is based on you being around the house. Regular walks and play time, feeding on a routine, smiles from you when they cuddle up at your feet while you work at the computer, so how will puppy feel when you go back to your “normal” life?

Now is the time to start prepping for returning to your normal lifestyle, not as an afterthought when your neighbour call you at the office on your first day back to say puppy has been howling his little head off since you left.

Confidence building

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One of the best things you can ever do for your puppy in my opinion is to help them to become a confident dog. A confident pup enjoys learning new things, loves new challenges and takes everyday challenges in their stride.

There are many ways to help build your dogs confidence and my top 3 are

1. Training – working on basic training exercises with your pup from a young age not only helps us humans get on with the joys of having a puppy but also gives your pup confidence that they are understanding what you are guiding them to do. In the reward-based training that we at Positive Dog Training advocate using, when your pup gets something right they get a treat or a toy or a game as a reward. When training your pup, remember you are both on the same team, not master and servant! Keep it fun, dogs are very like us in this way, when we enjoy doing something we are more likely to do it again!

Puppy biting pic

2. Socialisation - this has become such a buzzword around owning a pet dog but there is a lot more to socialisation than bringing your pup to a puppy party and letting them play a quick game of batter and flirt with a load of other puppies! Socialisation is so much more! Positive supervised interactions with humans and other dogs as well as experiencing different sights, sounds and smells are essential is setting your puppy up for success for the long road ahead of them. Using the same type of classical conditioning we do in training when they experience new things, will help them begin to understand that new experiences can be great experiences! Load up on some tasty treats and get your puppy out into the area around where you live and team each new encounter with something yummy. Look at our chart below and tick off how many of these everyday tings your pup have come across with you yet? What was their reaction?

IMG 20210124 WA0022 Use the table below as an example and tick off as many as you can truthfully say that your puppy has experienced.

SIGHTS

SOUND

TOUCH

SMELLS

A bicycle

Motor bike

Sand

The Sea

Man with beard

Bin Lorry

Tarmac

Fresh mown grass

Lady wearing a hat

Car Horn

Grass

Cats

Child in a buggy

People Cheering

Carpet

Other puppies

Joggers

Dogs Barking

Gravel

Adult Dogs

Other dogs

Telephone Ringing

Concrete

Plastic toys

A cat

Church Bells

Decking

Rope toys

 

Having your pup experience the busy environment that we live in, with positive outcomes will help them long term to face the world without undue fear. This combined with some general dog training will all help shape your puppy into the great adult dog that you want him to be.

3. Introducing enrichment – enrichment can improve and enhance your pups mental state by challenging and exercising their brains through the use of puzzles, feeders, scent work and foraging. These are all games that will help your pup to problem solve, and learn new skills and best of all some of these can be used at times when you are leaving pup alone for a short while. Thankfully, there is a huge range of puzzle feeders now available from your local pet shop, from K9 connectables (Irish designed) to Kong, snuffle mats to complex puzzles for your pup to work out. Puppies thrive when they are given the opportunity to use their senses and the best enrichment games allow the pup to think independently and thus build confidence. But don’t run off to the pet shop just yet, there are loads of homemade enrichment ideas you can do now with your pup, such as scatter feeding ( hiding food mixed with some yummy treats in your lawn and letting pup sniff them out). Here is a link to a great Facebook page that will give you lots of ideas to get you started -Canine enrichment facebook group/

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Home alone – a few steps to get you started

As with all training, you’ll need to take your time and be patient. Your pup has no idea what you are up to at the moment so make sure to start with a positive state of mind and not when you are under any pressure to take a call or run out the door.

    Start by walking a short distance away from your puppy. If they stay calm and settled, walk back to them and reward them with a nice treat, so they know you’re happy with them
    Move away from them again, but this time leave the room. Count to 5 and then walk back in and if your puppy is still calm and quiet, reward again.
    Keep repeating this and gradually increase the amount of time you are away from your puppy. If at any time your pup gets up and follows you, no problem. Just sit back down and once pup is settled and calm star again going back to step 1.
    When you’re successful at doing this inside, try leaving the house for a short time (mere minutes to begin with)and gradually build up to spending more time away from your puppy
    Keep the atmosphere calm and quiet when you leave and when you come back home. This will teach your puppy that you coming and going is normal and nothing to get excited or stressed about.
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Whats next?

None of us know yet how long this lockdown is going to go on. Social distancing, lockdown, different levels of restrictions have all meant that we have had to look at doing things differently from before. We would love to be there to offer support and guidance in person to all our puppy owners, for all dog training issues, to offer our usual dog grooming and day-care. We have all had to learn to do things in a different way and dog training and raising a happy healthy pup is no different.

The team at Positive Dog Training are still here to give you a hand and offer advice for you and your puppy/dog, we just have to focus on remote learning for now. We have put together some packages to help you along the way. Have a look at the remote training options available.

Remote training Options with Positive Dog Training

If you need any help or advice please do get in touch

Liz x

Due to the new Covid restrictions, Positive Dog Training is now closed until January 31st at the earliest. We will be taking no in person appointments except veterinary referred clients for dog grooming or 121 training.

We will still be offering online Zoom consultations which can be booked here - Zoom Consultations

If you would like to continue to support Positive Dog Training through this, our third lockdown, have a look at our range of gift boxes which are full of training tools, enrichment ideas, treats and toys to keep your dog entertained.

PDT Gift Boxes

Thanks to all our clients for their support and understanding. Please follow our social media accounts for all updates. Thanks, Liz, and all the PDT team.

info@positivedogtraining.ie

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Positive Dog Training is a progressive, force free dog training centre which also provides compassionate welfare friendly dog grooming and a fun cage free doggie daycare. Find out more

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