“We’re working from home, stuck at home, now’s the perfect time to get a dog” Said everyone who doesn’t already own a dog. However, I am very concerned about people getting puppies in quarantine.
I love the thought of it really, I do. Dogs in rescue are being saved left and right, and if its’ a family that has owned a dog, or a puppy in the past, I’m literally so happy for you!
If you don’t have this experience, I’m a bit scared for you.
Such a huge part of puppy ownership is socialization. Puppies need to see other puppies, other dogs, other humans, people coming and going from your home, etc.
Quarantine isn’t allowing any of this. You MAYYY bring your dog outside and see other dogs passing by, etc, but it’s still not giving your puppy the socialization that it actually needs with other puppies to read dog behavior.
Puppy classes are closed, you can’t go to dog parks without shots, doggy daycares are closed, once they open back up they might not let your dog in if they aren’t spayed/neutered by six months so now you have to wait a whole other window before getting that socialization.
I’ll tell you right now, if that is a dane puppy you brought home, you are going to have some serious work to do down the line.
Most people are prepared to do training with a new puppy, and with a new rescue dog. Guess what- trainers aren’t able to come into your home, aren’t holding group classes, and can’t open facilities.
That means it’s all up to you.
There are tutorials online, and trainers doing online courses but does that really do that trick?
All of this is done best with distractions, and a trainer to watch for behavioral queues that you might not see/read/ or understand yet. Can you dog hold a sit, great! Can it hold a sit with other dogs around? You have no idea because your new puppy has never seen another dog since you’ve brought it home.
Can you do training on your own at home? Yes, absolutely. Is professional training super important? Not when it comes to actually how your dog performs at the training clinic to be honest. 99% of training is working on the dog to human bond. The other 1% is telling the dog what to do. That can be done at home, if you actually do it. Again, the important piece here are the distractions that are around when your dog is learning how to respect and respond to you.
What happens when you go back to work?
Start working on that plan ASAP.
Do you typically work 8-10 hours out of the home? Start crate training for 8-10 hours. If you don’t do this, you’re going to be seriously kicking yourself in the butt once you go back to work and you have a dog with separation anxiety.
You can crate in the same room as you for a couple hours a day, then move the crate to another room but maybe he/she can still see you, then move the crate to a whole different room or dog room, etc. Finally getting to the point where your dog is kenneled for 8-10 hours EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE HOME. I know it’s going to be hard to listen to the dog cry, but seriously, you’ll thank me later.
Dogs need their own time, and their own space. If you’re not up to crating, then you should at least separate them in another room.
Do the best you can.
Take your new puppy to a local dog park, sit on the outskirts to not cause a distraction but to allow your dog to watch other dogs play, and be around the other dogs.
Go to a busy walking path, sit on a bench, let others walk by so your new pup can see and be with other people.
Start working on “sit, stay, place, heal” in the comfort of your home, but then bring it outside the home, back to those parks. Work with distractions wherever you can find them
Keep your puppy busy!
Make sure that you keep a strict routine and structure so that when you go back to work, nothing much changes. They still get fed at the same times, they still get their walks at the same times, they still get kenneled the same times, etc.
Once you’re ready to introduce your dog to new dogs, do so carefully since your new pup may not be sure how to react and you want to make it as positive of an experience as you can.