COVID-19: Lockdown Puppies: Where do we go from here?
Updated: Jun 14
This is a question that has appeared in my inbox and communities a LOT recently, and rightly so! I have been avoiding speaking into for a few weeks as the word lockdown has become some sort of trigger word, however, it is SO important and I care more about people being heard than the backlash of using the word lockdown.
How were puppies affected during lockdown?
For CENTURIES (up until COVID) dog owners would take their puppies to puppy classes to socialise them with other dogs, people and depending on the class, they would learn some life skills too. However, when COVID striked, restrictions meant that dog training businesses all closed doors, I believe there was stat that stated only 50% of dog training facilities starting teaching virtually. This meant that for months, puppies were not able to soak in the fundamental learning they require between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. Classes stopped for the first time in HISTORY." I want to mention here that this was not the only impact had on the puppies, in my experiences of working with lots of lockdown puppies is that it had an impact on their owners. Here’s why… When puppies haven’t required the socialisation skills or life skills when they are aged between 8 and 16 weeks, when they turn 6 months to 12 months old, more challenging behaviours occur, which can feel like they have come out of nowhere if you are the owner. These behaviours include: - Lunging and pulling towards dog excessively - Relentless Jumping up - Zero recall, not listening to the owner - Pulling on lead and no common tips solve the problem - Dog not able to relax in the house, continuous biting and chewing furniture - Struggling to settle home alone The impact has been huge for both the owner and puppies during these lockdown and restrictions, and I also know that it has left lots of owners feeling hopeless and have no idea
what to do the best, if that’s you then WELCOME – I’ve got you <3
Whilst these impacts have been hard hitting and challenging, I want to reassure you that these are just challenges, and challenges can be overcome, it’s going to be slightly harder to overcome with an a teenager compared to a puppy.
BEFORE I walk you through the plan of action to overcome these, I want to clear a big fat lie that is spreading rapidly right now:
Your dog will not grow out of these behaviours.
I would love to say it’s that a hold and ride and it be okay, but sadly dog’s don’t operate that way, the only way to reach the light is to train your dog to do the behaviours you want them to do instead.
Now that’s cleared, here are your three steps to turn your reverse the impact of lockdown on your puppy:
1. Release the Pressure
Majority of clients I work with have a ‘lockdown puppy’ and reach out to me for help are often in state of urgency and feel there is a time they need to have this fixed by. I want to say that these is no end by date, you do not need to have your dog perfectly acceptable by 6, 8 or 12 months. Take the pressure off your shoulders and know that it will be solved and it everything will be okay.
2. Teach your dog a Marker Word
If you have not already, marker words are what we say or use to inform the dog’s they have made a good choice or completed a behaviour we want. This is one of the first things I teach ALWAYS to clients because it allows the dog to really understand what you are asking them to do. To learn how to teach your dog these words, to follow the step-by-step training for marking words click HERE.
3. Find a Community
A trap I see a lot of people fall into is the ‘YouTube Scroll’ whereby people spend hours, days or weeks scrolling and watching YouTube videos on how to fix x,y and z. Don’t get me wrong, YouTube is an amazing resource, and because of that is FLOODED with content, which can make it hard to know where to even start or what to do. My advice is to find a community that is guided by a professional and offers events to really support you.
Finally, I have a gift for you.
It breaks my heart to see so many people struggling to find answers or to get off the stress of training, and my mission in dog training is to make it fun, easy and simple so that you can actually go spend time with your dog without all the worries, stress and fear.
That being said, I am inviting you to have a FREE phone consultation with myself where we can talk about everything that has happened, where you want to get to and remove anything that is currently stopping you. You will leave with a personalised plan for you and your dog and I promise a relief knowing where to start.
To book your consultation, head to CONTACT, pop in your details and say ‘lockdown puppy’ so I know where you are at.