Welcome to the “norm” for 2021. Training our puppies is not quite the same but not impossible…we all just need to be a little creative.
Your puppy needs to be able to trust you and members of their immediate Family. Teach your puppy house manners, fun tricks, the meaning of your hand signals and have them do some fitness exercises such as training on a simple agility course you can put in the backyard. We are all sticking closer to home these days, why not make a homemade backyard obstacle course that will keep your dog physically active and mentally challenging?
Put on some of your Halloween costumes, a wig, a coat or maybe a mask to change your appearance and have some fun with your puppy. Don’t try to scare your puppy…surprise your puppy. Add a spritz to camouflage your odor as well.
Challenge your puppy’s brain and body. Keep them busy…hide some nutritional treats in a few indoor and/or outdoor obstacle courses and let them use their nose to find.
Go on family adventures or wilderness walks at the local beaches, parks and hiking trails. We enjoy as humans and so will your puppy while doing some sniffing and problem solving along the way. I can just hear their little brains.
Family members, neighbors and close friends are “safe” people…invite them to interact with your puppy.
The first eight weeks of your puppy’s life we introduced them to thunderstorms, fireworks, sirens, city sounds and much more. Now is the time to take your puppy for a walk and meet the world. Practice good behavior. Stop and watch the garbage truck, a passing by rescue squad, other animals (deer, turkey, bunnies and squirrels to name a few) or maybe find a bench and just watch the world pass by. Dogs like humans love to people watch.
Help your puppy to be comfortable in new surroundings. Continue adding new places to introduce your puppy to with indirect contact (no interaction). Possibly a hardware store where carts are wiped down or a garden center and let your puppy enjoy the endless sights, smells and people.
Comb your puppy often. Touch their ears, legs, feet, paws, face and don’t forget to brush their teeth….all of these simply things will help your puppy be comfortable when at vet and grooming appointments.