Socialising A Puppy In Isolation
When Ripley the chihuahua came along in February I was determined to take every opportunity to socialise him really well. He came everywhere with me, visiting friends and family and meeting dogs of all shapes and sizes. When his vaccinations were completed we started taking him for short walks, and everyone wanted to chat and give him a gentle stroke. Ripley met lots of other dogs and I was really proud of my friendly, confident puppy.
The Reason Why Socialising Was So Important To Me.
I have a very anxious Dachshund who we adopted at around two years old. He has fear aggression so I have to be really careful because he can be unpredictable. Many rescue dogs who have stayed with me have problems meeting other dogs, with strangers, fireworks, thunderstorms and being left alone.
Darcy was kept in a kennel environment before he was rescued. As a result of this, he is scared of the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine, and many other normal household implements. The problem is that he was never introduced to these things in the vitally important puppy stage of his life.
I wanted to take every opportunity to introduce Ripley to as many experiences as possible during his first weeks of life. It was extra important to me because I desperately wanted Darcy to have a confident, happy companion to give him extra security.
Then came Lockdown!
So my plans have been diminished significantly due to the Lockdown which has been put into place by the government. Ripley has only seen me, my husband and my two other dogs for the last three weeks. We go for walks but have to avoid passing other dog walkers, we haven’t taken him on car journeys or to visit friends and family. He hasn’t experienced heavy traffic, the beach, cats, young children…all things I had planned to do, but is now impossible.
He still seems extremely happy and his antics and cuddles have kept me going in these worrying times. To him, and all other dogs, life continues on as normal and that gives me great comfort.
So, I have questions, which are playing on my mind and I hope someone with more experience than me, can give me some answers.
Can any experienced dog owners, trainers or behaviorists tell me
Will the work I put into socialising Ripley between the ages of 13 – 20 weeks still be beneficial?
Will he recognise my extended family and their dogs and not be fearful when we meet again?
Is there anything I can do during isolation to keep his confidence levels high?
(I was hesitant about posting this because it is trivial in comparison to problems which people are facing. However, it might be helpful to other people who have puppies and can’t socialise them properly in present times)
I hope everyone is safe, well and enjoying your fur babies more than ever.
If you are feeling isolated, hop along to our Facebook page ‘Waggy Tales’ for a chat. I would love to see photos of your dogs.
Of course, I can’t leave without saying a huge thank you to all our wonderful and brave NHS staff and keyworkers.
Keep safe everyone and thank you for reading.