One of the most common problems new pet parents struggle with is getting their young dog to focus, be calm and responsive around distractions. Particularly around other dogs and people. Samantha Jackson from Howlistic Help shares why now is a good time to train your puppy or dog.
Everyone has to keep to social distancing rules which includes keeping your dog in your bubble. This is an awesome opportunity to train your puppy or dog to listen to you around these everyday distractions. There are fewer distractions around. Less noise on the roads. People keep two metres away from you at all times. Sounds like an ideal, low distraction environment to do some training to me!
Teaching your puppy to be calm, confident and focus on you while out and about can be quite a challenging task.
Outside of lockdown people would normally be rushing towards your gorgeous puppy. Arms outstretched, without even asking before smothering your puppy in their love. Now that might sound cute and harmless. But there are a couple of very real problems with that.
No one asks for consent. When you want to approach or pet someone else's dog - first you must ask the owner, and then you must ask the dog.
How would you like it if a stranger rushed up to you and gave you a hug? Consent is such an important concept we need to teach. Ask the owner, don’t be offended if they say no. If they say yes, stand quietly and still and let the dog approach you. If she doesn't, that's ok too. Remember respecting that a dog's personal bubble is a very, very loving thing to do and the dog will thank you for it.
If a majority of people rush up to see your puppy she could learn that people always want to greet her with excitement - and she could start to get over excited every time she sees other people. Cute when she is tiny - probably annoying when she is fully grown and pulling your arm off trying to meet a stranger across the road.
Or she could become nervous and fearful of other people because they have rushed up and touched her without consent so many times. She might become scared, shy or defensive. Because everyone is respecting the social distancing rules you can focus on training your puppy and your puppy can focus on you much easier as well! Take this time to teach her what you want her to do around distractions.
If you would like your puppy to grow up to be calm, confident and responsive to you whilst out and about. This is the perfect time to start training. For example, practise walking your puppy on leash, reward her with a treat for following you, walking near you. Practise inside the house and around the garden before practising out and about.