FARMING: Lockdown is making puppies more timid

Covid 19 has undoubtedly changed the way we live and myself, along with many, have found ourselves missing things we used to take for granted.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 12:00 am
Puppies, like these young Rottweilers, can be affected by lockdown.

Working from home and having spare time means a lot of people have found this the perfect time to make a new addition to the family.

Many families have bought puppies and kittens as they now have the time to train and look after them.

Normally during the first year of a puppy’s life they are taken to the vets for a primary course of vaccinations (at 8 and 12 weeks old) including monthly weighing and worming.

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They then normally would come for health checks around 6 months of age. This means that by the time the puppy was around 1 year old they have been to the vets several times (not always for something bad) and met lots of people and other dogs on their adventures.

Unfortunately, we vaccinate puppies within their ‘socialisation’ period which is between the ages of 3 weeks to around 3 months, therefore reducing their ability to go out and meet other dogs. As a practice we normally provide puppy parties for pups between their first and second vaccines to allow them to socialise and learn normal behaviours. Due to Covid this ‘socialisation’ is proving even more difficult and restrictions have meant puppies have not been able to meet other dogs and people.

Normal things like car journeys, walking along a busy street, going to dog friendly cafés or pubs are all unknown to the lockdown puppy as well as being alone in the house as most people have been working from home.

Recently we have seen many young dogs from the first lockdown who have proved to be more timid than would normally be expected as they are not used to strangers.

As well as being at an unusual place with lots of unusual smells, they also have to get used to strangers with masks on which means they cannot rely on our facial expressions as part of their communications.

Playing with pups and getting them used to you touching their paws, ears, mouth and teeth would be beneficial to us when we see them. As many owners are working from home it may be worth getting your puppy used to you ‘leaving’ the house.

This can be something as simple as going for a quick walk round the block or playing in the garden for five minutes without them so they learn to cope without you and know you will always come back.

We look forward to meeting your puppies soon.