Acquiring A Puppy In Lockdown
What You Need To Know
Since the UK government has introduced social distancing it has become almost impossible to acquire a puppy in lockdown. People who have made arrangements to collect puppies from a breeder or go to a rescue centre have had their plans shelved for the time being.
Travelling to collect a puppy is not classed as ‘essential travel’ and at this time it is not permitted to visit different households.
Breeders are keeping puppies which would normally have left for new homes and rescue centres have to keep their doors firmly shut.
Here, we will take a look at why acquiring a puppy in lockdown is a very bad idea, despite all good intentions.
For once, families are spending time together at home. They feel that this might be the ideal opportunity to introduce a puppy when there is plenty of time for training and some lovely weather for long walks.
Unfortunately, social distancing prevents responsible breeders from selling puppies at this time.
There are also worries about the health and wellbeing of these ‘lockdown puppies’ and what help they may need, in the future.
Social distancing does not allow different households to meet, therefore new puppy owners can’t see the puppy in a home environment. They can’t observe the puppy’s parents or have an in-depth, face to face, conversation with breeders.
Lack of Veterinary Treatment
Vets are not open for routine cases and it may be difficult to arrange vaccinations and essential worming and flea treatment. Initial puppy checks cannot go ahead and sick pets are being passed to the vet at the door, so a thorough consultation is difficult.
Of course, the vets are working to save sick animals in very difficult circumstances and thank goodness we still have that safety blanket. However, they don’t need to see puppies who should have been kept by the breeder.
Pet Shops Are Closed
Every puppy needs basic essentials including food, a bed, puppy pads, toys, and a lead and collar. With travel restricted and many shops closed it might be difficult to buy everything your puppy needs.
Puppy Socialisation Problems
Another worrying aspect is the subject of puppy socialisation.
I know from experience that with lockdown in place it is impossible to properly socialise a puppy in those vital first weeks of life. I bought my puppy five weeks before lockdown came into force and I have spoken before about my worries regarding his socialisation. Although my Chihuahua was doing great, it all had to stop suddenly and he has only seen immediate family since then. I hope that the training I did with him previously will stay with him, but a puppy sold in lockdown could not even begin socialisation training.
Here is my own personal struggle with puppy training in isolation.
When Social Distancing is Lifted.
Breeders normally sell puppies at around nine weeks or later. With lockdown in place, these puppies should stay with the breeder. Therefore when restrictions are lifted there will be a surplus of puppies up for sale and many will be much older than usual.
New owners need to have conversations with the breeders about what conditions the puppies were kept in during lockdown and if training was started. They need to know if vaccinations, chipping, and other treatments were delayed due to the restrictions or if they haven’t been implemented at all.
When we are allowed to go back into the outside world and puppies are sold again, please have an in-depth conversation with your breeder about how much socialisation the puppy has experienced.
I worry that pups will be sold cheaply or even sent to rescue because the puppies won’t be tiny, and sadly less desirable.
In addition, bad breeders might encourage buyers to take more than one puppy.
Well-meaning buyers might think that they are providing a lifelong companion and giving two pups a good home, instead of one. However, in some cases (not all) unwanted behaviour can come about when dogs from the same litter are raised together
Some puppy buyers may not be aware of “Littermate Syndrome” and its implications.
What Is Littermate Syndrome?
Many experts advise against acquiring puppy littermates. They believe that the puppies form a primal, unbreakable bond which makes it difficult for them to communicate with humans and other dogs. This is not true in every case, but research shows that it can cause significant problems which include:-
- High levels of anxiety if the puppies are separated even for a short time.
- Training problems due to the pups not listening or getting distracted by their sibling.
- Fear of strangers and other dogs.
- The dogs may fight to determine the pack structure.
Breeding Puppies During Lockdown.
It is to be hoped that breeders stopped letting their dogs breed as soon as they heard about lockdown measures. It only takes approximately nine weeks from conception until the pups are born. This means that as well as puppies that can’t be sold due to social distancing, pregnant bitches may be delivering even more in the coming weeks.
I can only imagine what is happening in puppy farms at present.
For more information about puppy farming and Lucy’s Law, please read;-
It is more important than ever that people are not being persuaded to take puppy ownership from the side of the road or in a deserted car park.
Don’t answer online adverts for puppies, especially at this time!
If you are thinking of buying a puppy….please wait until lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The UK Kennel Club have reported a record number of queries regarding new puppy ownership since the beginning of the lockdown.
It may seem like the ideal time to acquire a puppy because many people are spending time at home and have the time needed to train a new dog. People are feeling isolated and lonely and they want the companionship that a dog would bring.
However, it is essential to wait.
When social distancing is lifted, you will be able to:-
- Go to the home of your breeder and spend time there.
- You will be able to ask questions and observe how the puppy interacts with his siblings and mother.
- Puppy vaccinations and treatment will be available from all vets.
- You will be able to socialise the puppy properly, attend training sessions, and provide your puppy with those vital social skills which cannot be achieved whilst in lockdown.
Consider Rescue When Restrictions Are Lifted
Another worrying aspect is the number of dogs being handed into rescue.
Some owners have handed their dogs over because they incorrectly believe that dogs carry the Coronavirus.
Now, unscrupulous breeders will be doing the same thing, because under lockdown they cannot sell the puppies.
It is a good idea to contact a reputable rescue if you are thinking of welcoming another dog.
They will have a surplus of puppies and will have been implementing socialisation training through volunteers and foster care. Most rescues won’t allow a dog to leave until all vaccinations are given, they will be chipped and neutered where possible. If the puppy has been in a foster home the rescue will have valuable information about the puppy’s temperament and any behavioural issues which may be present.
So, in conclusion, it’s not a good time to acquire a puppy in lockdown!
However, they say that good things come to those who wait!
Thank you for reading and keep safe everyone.