6:50 a.m. January 8, 2022
A dog trainer described the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the lives of man’s four-legged friends.
Holley Mayhew, of Ruff Dog Training and Welfare on the East Coast, specializes in puppy education and says dogs feel more anxious because they miss out on social interactions, like meeting other doggies and exploring new places.
Miss Mayhew, who lives in Somerton and covers the Great Yarmouth area, says the lack of opportunities to go out has led many dogs to display anxiety.
She said: “Anxiety is the big buzzword that we’ve noticed a lot.
“Fearful and reactive behaviors develop because dogs do not have access to socialization opportunities.”
“It could mean that they can’t go to certain places at certain times.
“A puppy has what we call a critical socialization window. So if your dog misses this window, that doesn’t mean your dog has failed to socialize, he’s more likely to develop frightening anxiety tendencies. .
“A puppy might come out of the developmental stage a little more fearful, anxious, and worried about things like meeting new people, getting in the car, meeting other dogs, and going to the vet.”
She said: “Socialization creates positive and useful experiences for your puppy, to prepare him for life in the human world.
“During the first few months of life, puppies go through a developmental phase known as the critical window of socialization.
“During this time, puppies discover the world around them and are generally curious and resilient.
“What happens to your puppy during this most important developmental stage will have a direct and lasting impact on his behavioral well-being as an adult.
“Under-socialized puppies will almost always develop some sort of behavior problem, such as poor impulse control, protection of resources, anxiety, or even aggression.”
The best tips for training your puppy
Don’t let your puppy cry. Letting a puppy cry causes panic and can lead to severe separation anxiety, copraphagia, and destructive behavior.
Try to limit the opportunities your puppy has to wash in unwanted places. This is best done with crate training.
When your puppy is not in his crate, you should actively monitor him for signs that he is about to go to the bathroom, such as sniffing and walking in circles.
Reward your puppy for grooming in the right place. Do not let your puppy go into the whole house until he has been trained and supervised.
Teach your puppy that biting or nibbling on a person’s skin or clothing immediately stops play and attention. When your puppy nibbles, get up and walk out of the room for a short time, then come back and resume play and attention. Avoid berating your puppy. Provide appropriate items that your puppy can put their teeth on, such as a yak bar or deer antler.
For a free socialization checklist to help re-socialize your puppy, email [email protected] with the subject “CHECKLIST”