North East dog trainer and author Dom Hodgson, who owns Pack Leader Dog Adventures, said: “Pet websites are filled with listings of dogs aged 6-12 months. Typically the time they lose their cute puppyness and enter the doggy 'terrible teens' phase, when they require more exercise, training and structure.
"The Dogs Trust has received more than 1800 calls in the last three months, on December 27th and 28th alone 114 such call came through, including for 19 puppies aged under nine months.”
In a bid to encourage people to keep their dogs, Dom has released some top tips to help owners fit a new dog into their busy work and life schedules.
Dom has released a book called The Perfect Puppy Project in which he lays out simple advice for inexperienced owners, including a Play, Eat, Sleep, Repeat formula that allows the owners to get into a routine where the puppy learns to adapt to a busy family home.
Dom’s top tips for lockdown dog training
1::Get into a routine with your puppy from day one using the play, eat, sleep formula.
Invest in a crate which if you fill with a comfy blankets and some suitable chew toys your puppy will see as his 'safe place'. Then spend some time playing with your puppy, let him out for toilet break then pop him in his crate with some food or even better a food dispensing toy. Your puppy will sleep for an hour or two then you can repeat the formula. As he grows you can gradually increase the amount of time he spends in the crate.
2:: Get out and about with your puppy straight away.
Many vets will recommend you shouldn't walk your puppy until after his second inoculation, but that prevents you from giving him the crucial socialisation he needs. Instead carry your puppy in your coat and introduce him to all the sights, sounds and smells in your neighbourhood. Your puppy will grow into a confident fear-free dog.
3::Never scold your puppy for toileting indoors.
If you use a crate and follow the Play, Eat, Sleep, Repeat formula then you'll experience way less mess indoors as your puppy won't want to mess in his crate. As long as you remember to let him outside to toilet often, go outside with him (use a brolly if need be) and praise him every time, you'll crack housetraining him in a couple of weeks.
4::To prevent separation anxiety get your puppy used to being alone from the first week you get him.
Many owners make the mistake of spending every second of the first couple of weeks with their puppy (Or as happened in lockdown, every second of the first six months) then when they go back to work the puppy is distressed and anxious which can lead to whining, howling and destructive behaviour. Use the time your puppy is sleeping in his crate to leave the room he's in.
5:: Most major puppy problems occur when you start exercising your puppy outdoors.
The trick to having a dog that sticks to you like velcro (and never runs away) is to play with your puppy often, and everywhere you take him. Teach your puppy that the best thing to do at the park, beach or woods is to play with you. Simple games like fetch and find it, using his favourite toy will do. Ignore clueless but good intentioned dog owners who see your puppy as a potential plaything for their dog.