WITH THE pandemic posing problems for puppies, a vets is offering to help young dogs with their development.
Clent Hills Vets says pups should be socialised between eight and 14 weeks but, with that not possible during the lockdown, it has produced a booklet and video to assist owners.
Puppies should be exposed to as many new people, other animals, different environments and experiences as possible so they grow up to be more friendly and comfortable around people and other animals.
Alun Edwards, head vet at Clent Hills, stresses the importance of taking action now if your puppy has missed out on full socialisation during this unusual time.
He advises people expose their puppies to many outdoor settings and sounds, keeping these training sessions short but frequent.
“Take walks in local parks, where they will hear children playing and see people wearing sunglasses and hats; allow them to hear the noise of busy traffic and passing trains; walk past the refuse collection van on the day your bin is emptied – this will also allow them to see people wearing hi-visibility clothing.
“In the home allow your puppy to hear common noises like the kettle boiling, the television and radio, the washing machine, hairdryer, phone ringing and the post coming through the letterbox.
“And remember that during your pets’ Covid-19 experience you may have been home with them all the time, so introduce short periods of time when your puppy is left home alone.
“Be strong and try not to cuddle and pick up your puppy if they become startled because this reinforces negative reactions.
He suggested owners reward calm behaviour towards new sounds and experiences with healthy treats and positive verbal praise.
“The process may take longer with older puppies so persevere and remain patient. Don’t forget to let your pet see you with a facemask and any other PPE you might regularly wear at the moment.”
At clenthillsvets.co.uk owners can get a free booklet on socialising and view ‘Settle Your Puppy in 24 Hours Lesson’ video.
Anyone particularly concerned about their pup should call 01527 889810.