At a time when puppy enquiries are going through the roof and sales are at an all-time high, I started to wonder if puppy buyers really know what they’re letting themselves in for.
With the pandemic, so much of the population now finds themselves at home or able to work from home and with the daily exercise allowance our only source of escape even for a limited time is to go for a walk. Along with the beautiful weather we’re seeing, an unprecedented amount of people are enjoying the great outdoors.
Due to this many families have now decided it’s time to add a four legged family member to their homes.
In many ways it really is a lovely time to bring a puppy home, you’ve time at home as a family to adore your new baby and get them into toilet training and help them to socialise well with any other dogs you may already have BUT have you thought through the implications on the pup when we do all get back to the new kind of normal this virus will bring for us?
I’m worried that once that gate opens and the horses bolt as they inevitably will, we’re going to be left with soooo many puppies and even older dogs with major separation anxiety and other issues such as destruction of the home and mass toileting around the house that maybe wasn’t an issue while you we with them 24/7.
Before you make that call to a breeder to enquire about a new fluffy bundle, just look to what the future could possibly hold for you work wise. Might you have to change jobs? Might you have to work longer hours to increase your stability? Is there something you can put in place such as doggy day care or a dog walker to meet that time gap for your pooch or from having your attention 24/7 is the little fella now going to be expected to behave for increasingly long hours at home alone?
Once you’ve made the call that the pitter patter of four little feet is absolutely needed in your life its worth putting into plan a little routine more like your normal working life to help your pup settle into a life that won’t change dramatically when you return to your life of work.
I always say this to my new puppy owners whether they’re home all day or work, a pup that cries in the night really does need to be ignored. It’s the hardest thing to do when that tiny baby is yelping at 2 am but you really do make a rod for your own back if you start to go down through the night to comfort the dog, you’ll reassure the dog that such behaviour is acceptable and in turn make the dog believe that they can continue the behaviour long term. Provided the dog has comfy bed, maybe a soft toy or two, for me preferably in a crate or cage so you know they’re safe from household dangers- the pup should be left and they will soon cotton on that screaming in the night doesn’t gain anything but wohoo when I wake up in the morning the people will come with huge hugs and cuddles for me! The age old ethos of ignoring the bad behaviour and rewarding the good.
If you’re daily routine is to be out for a few hours during the day, try to stick to this sort of routine with pup from the off. Again this is much easier if you’re crate training. Put pup to bed for a few hours while you potter around upstairs maybe or leave the tv on in the room they’re in and keep out of that room as best you can for a while. You want to create a feeling of security for the dog that, although yes you’re leaving them alone, you will come back to them. When you do return, create lots of fuss and praise on the dog and take the pup straight outside for their toilet which again, will be full of praise and fuss for them when they toilet outdoors.
Pups aren’t being socialised as early as they might be due to the restrictions on getting vaccinations sorted and the obvious lock down and self-isolation restrictions. But that doesn’t stop us sitting in the garden with the pup or at the front door and while holding the pup in your arms you can expose the pup to the sounds and smells of the outside world. The sound of passing cars etc. You can even go online and download playlists of socialisation noises for pups. The Kennel Club website has a few recommendations on puppy socialisation too so that’s worth a look.
The key to raising a balanced dog is security and routine. If you can crack both of those before this lock down is over you’ll be laughing your way to the park with your happy pooch!!