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Lockdown 2 might seem like the ideal time to buy a puppy because you can spend lots of time with them, but actually going through the buying process itself in lockdown while remaining both within the remit of the law and avoiding unnecessary contact with other people is more or less impossible for starters.
Even if you get that far, or if you’d already agreed to purchase a puppy before lockdown and can arrange the hand-off as arranged, there are a number of challenges and complications you’re almost certainly going to run into when you bring a puppy home for the first time during a lockdown.
These challenges might not be insurmountable, but it is important to recognise what they are, and why they might be a problem, before you bring your puppy home and not after.
This article will highlight five challenges and complications you’re likely to face if you buy a puppy during lockdown 2.
One of the first things you need to do when you get a new puppy is have their first vaccinations and get them health-checked by your vet. This is important for several reasons, including that they need their vaccinations before they can begin to go outside safely, and to make sure that your puppy has a clean bill of health.
Additionally, under your consumer rights that apply to the sale of all goods (including, rightly or wrongly, living animals, which are classed a good and property) you have some remedies in law in terms of the breeder’s responsibilities to you if the puppy was found to be ill or suffering from a health condition within a certain window of time after the sale.
To exercise your rights in this respect you’d need to be aware of the issue and have it verified or certified by a vet, which is another reason why the pup’s first health check is so important and should be performed as soon as possible after you take possession of the puppy.
However, vets are offering a limited range of services during lockdown due to the logistics of providing the most important types of care they offer safely and responsibly, and as you can imagine, this means prioritising emergencies, urgent health and welfare concerns, and issues that cannot wait.
Routine care falls further down the list, and this means you may have problems getting a routine first health check and vaccination appointment with your vet.
Socialisation is vital for dogs of all ages, and especially important for puppies. Delaying the socialisation of puppies can cause a wide range of problems down the line; they won’t know how to behave around others, won’t have learned the etiquette of polite canine communication, might find other dogs threatening or come off as threatening themselves, and a huge range of other things too.
Undoing these types of problems is very difficult, and yet they’re easy to avoid in the first place with proper early socialisation.
Adult dogs also tend to be very forgiving of puppies, and won’t snap or put them in their place in the same way they would another adult dog when they make a mistake, but this only holds true for a short window of time.
When your puppy is older than a few months and approaching their adult size, older dogs will expect them to meet them on equal terms accordingly.
The need to maintain social distance from people and our limited opportunities to meet and interact with other people also means the same for our dogs. While dogs can meet and socialise with each other without restriction, in reality, this tends to involve close contact between people, which is currently off the table.
Two dogs greeting on the lead require their two owners to be in close proximity to each other, and dogs playing off the lead regularly need human intervention to part them and get them back if they don’t come when called.
All of this means that maintaining social distancing and enabling canine socialisation at a vital stage in puppy development might not be easy.
If you can’t get their vaccinations and health checks until later, socialising them during their first month or two with you might not be possible at all
Lockdown 2 is currently projected to last a month, with the assumption that restrictions will lift to a degree at the end of it. If you find that your vet asks you to wait for your pup’s first vaccinations until lockdown is over, this means you won’t be able to take your puppy outside safely to socialise with others at all for a while.
Not only do you have to factor in the duration of lockdown 2 itself, but also the waiting period between when a puppy vaccine course begins and when the puppy is protected enough to go outside.
Training puppies is important, and this needs to begin from their very first days with you. Many dog owners train their dogs themselves without help; both experienced dog owners and those prepared to put the work into researching and learning how to do this and how to solve issues that might arise along the way.
Most puppy buyers however take their pups to training classes to give them a head start and get help with any problems, and these involve reasonably close quarters proximity to other dog owners and the trainer, usually in an indoors environment.
This means such classes will be suspended during lockdown, and it may be hard to get a place on a course when lockdown ends too, due to the higher demand for them and the limited class numbers that can be enabled while maintaining social distance between participants.
Your pup will just have started to get used to the routine of their life with you by the time lockdown ends; at which point you will presumably go back to work outside of the home (if not, this section doesn’t apply to you!) and their whole life will be turned upside down.
Spending lots of time at home with your new puppy is important, but you also have to get them used to spending time away from you from the get-go to avoid separation anxiety in them later when everything changes again. You must be proactive about this and not just put it off, assume your pup is young enough to adapt easily, or think of it as something you’ll worry about nearer the time.
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