We have had lots of enquires this week with concerned new puppy owners during lockdown so have some advice to help.

As it currently stands (08-04-2020), following government guidelines The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons clarification on treatments is that veterinary practices are currently not permitted to do puppy, kitten, or rabbit vaccinations. Only Urgent and Emergency treatment should be carried with no routine procedures during this time. They state that “as an owner you must put into place measures for [your pets] safety”

⬇️ Here is some advice to help with that…

Do not take your puppy to public places until it is fully vaccinated – you could still carry your puppy but do so with caution – Please do not put them down or allow them to have contact with the environment, if other animals also have access to that area.

You may include use of your garden if it is private however please be aware if any other animals may also have access.

Leptospirosis is one of the diseases we vaccinate against. It is predominantly spread in rat urine so any puddles or any water or moist ground outside must be avoided.

Do not wear outdoor footwear indoors and do not allow your puppy access to these. We can carry things into the home, contamination risk by things being carried on the soles of shoes.

Ensure washing hands before and after interaction with puppy (this is a standard recommendation normally!)

Ensure your puppy gets a lot of sleep – they need a lot of sleep to ensure their brain development! Ensure you have a quiet place for your puppy to be able to relax, they should be encouraged to.

⚠️If you do not have anytime away from pup you may encounter issues later on with separation anxiety so time away, so even just being in a different room is good for them! Start leaving your puppy in a quiet room for short time periods.

⚠️Risk assessment of your home is vital! Puppy’s use their mouths to explore the world before they can see and will be active chewers (of anything) so take care to ensure they do not chew on something which is dangerous. Know what food and other items are toxic, educate others at home of these.

🚸We understand with school closures the above points may be more challenging so educate the household with safety precautions and put measures in place such as baby gates or use of a puppy pen.

Crates are fantastic however they should never be used as a punishment. If you use a crate as ‘puppy jail’ this is no longer a place your puppy will want to go to for quiet time or sleeping so keep using it as a safe positive place.

Make a list of your ideas and have it up in the house – perhaps a routine to ensure puppy gets the required amount of rest, if you are training have everyone understand what you are doing as this makes it much clearer to your puppy.

🦮Collar, harness and lead work should always be started indoors! Get your puppy used to wearing items and the lead so when they are ready to explore the world outside with you they are confident and comfortable.

You can also repeat all training but in different rooms. Start from the beginning again as your pup may understand doing something on a wooden floor but not on different types of flooring!

Hide’n’Seek (or Search & Rescue) games can help both build bonds with pups as well as work on recall. It involves scent work and mental stimulation so can be as tiring as it is fun for your pup! Make sure you use the same words for commands and reward puppy when finds you!

🎶Getting your puppy used to sounds – for example we find that fireworks can be a big issue so why not use this time to build their confidence with these sounds. You can download mp3 files or even find Youtube videos of these background noises – click here for an example. Dogs trusts – Sounds scary also offers many tips on this subject – click here for the link. Remember to start very quietly (you may not even be able to hear it well at a low volume but normally your puppies hearing is better than yours), taking your time to increase the noise slowly and ensure rewards (food or play) are happening when the sounds are playing.

We recommend puppy classes to help set you up for the best success with training. Lothlorien Dog Services are currently running these online – what better way to make the most of the time we during lockdown. See their video HERE via facebook page.

There are many other tips out there in regards to Puppy socialisation, below are some links to external sources which we think you may find useful;

  1. The Puppy plan – This link will help you plan out your puppies socialisation strategy.
  2. Bluecross: Socialising your puppy – This link give lots of nice general information including how to avoid overwhelming shy puppies.
  3. Avidog: Socialising your puppy with the coronavirus – This article discusses creative ways to socialise puppies during the Covid-19 (despite being a bit Americanised)