Puppies bought or adopted in 2020 have a different frame of reference and life experiences than those born in any other year due to Covid-19 and the pandemic restrictions; and this has a great many implications for them that can potentially have an impact on the whole rest of their lives too.
If you got a puppy in 2020, it is important to bear this in mind. As we approach 2021 and things begin to be at least starting to get back to some version of normal, it is a good idea for people who bought puppies in 2020 to think about how to bring their pups up to speed in areas they might be behind in, due to the knock-on effects of life during a pandemic.
This article will suggest some new year’s resolutions for pandemic puppy buyers to make and action from January 2021 onwards. Read on to learn more.
Not all pandemic puppies got the best possible start to training, and having rules put into place for their lives. As our own rules and norms were suspended and kept changing due to Covid, so too did many of us fail to consider and address the impact this would have on our dogs.
Training a puppy and setting their rules should begin from when you first get them, but for various reasons, this didn’t happen effectively (if at all) for all pandemic puppies.
Whether this came down to a lack of dog training classes during lockdown or illness on the part of their owners, get your dog back on track; make 2021 the time you commit to getting your pandemic puppy up to speed with their training, whatever their age and whether you’ve made any kind of start on things already.
Many pandemic puppies also missed out on a lot of their earliest chances to socialise and get used to other dogs; particularly those bought and adopted early on in the pandemic. A number of factors contribute to this, including the suspension of things like puppy parties and training classes in the stricter lockdowns, less dogs and owners out and about, and dog owners needing to keep apart from each other, and so, keep their dogs apart too.
Properly socialising a dog or puppy means finding and providing many opportunities for them to meet and interact with others. However, this can be challenging to achieve if you’re now dealing with an adult or almost-adult dog that has never learned how to play or interact properly with others, as they don’t get the same leeway from adult dogs that puppies do.
If your dog is reactive with other dogs or seems to always be in the middle of flashpoints between dogs, or gets a bad reaction from other dogs and you can’t tell why this is, call in a canine behaviourist or higher-level trainer to help you to resolve the issue before it becomes an acute problem for the rest of the dog’s life.
If your dog is just a bit behind and/or not fully grown, get them exposed to as many different other dogs and environments as you can now, to catch them up.
One thing that many of us really found weird in the various lockdowns we’ve had so far is seeing areas we’re used to being busy and bustling with people at all times virtually deserted. This goes for the centres of capital cities and the local dog park alike!
Where dogs are concerned, one thing this means is that many pandemic puppies have never really been exposed to a lot of stimulus and busy places, and if you live in an area where in normal times, these are a fact of life, your dog is going to find this pretty daunting.
Try to expose your dog to progressively busier places as much as possible, to once more ensure they’re not disadvantaged and don’t run into problems down the line as they’re experiencing these things for the first time later in life.
Something else that many of us didn’t think of when it comes to how the experiences the puppies born in 2020 may have missed out on or been behind with compared to pups born in regular years, is the experience of being visited at their own homes by other people and dogs, and visiting other homes in turn.
As we’ve been hugely restricted for much of the year to who we can visit and who we can have visit us in turn, getting used to people coming over or being taken to another home (especially one that may have their own dog) is going to be something of a learning curve for pandemic puppies.
If the first time a dog has another dog come into their home is when they’re an adult who has never experienced this can result in a strongly territorial reaction from the dog; and they may not know good manners when going to someone else’s home in turn.
Try to get your dog used to visiting other homes and have other people and dogs visit them in a controlled and positive manner as soon as possible.
Finally, many of us spent long periods of time at home in lockdown and restrictions training for the competitive biscuit eating Olympics but not much else, and a lot of lockdown puppies have gotten used to this way of life too.
Determine the sort of fitness level dogs of the same age and breed as yours should be at, and work to get them fit in 2021, and keep them fit for life.