Bringing a puppy home is an exciting and challenging time, for both the new dog and their human; especially during COVID-19! In normal circumstances, with so many new sights, smells, sounds and people to get used to, it can be daunting for a new addition; unfortunately, the pandemic has made things even more difficult.
Read our useful tips to help your new dog to settle in…
Establish a routine:
It is important that your puppy gets used to being alone. Particularly in times like the present where many of us are working from home, it can be easy to spend a lot more time with them than you would be able to in the normal way. Set times throughout the day where they are left alone, this will help them to adjust when they may have to be left whilst you are out.
Prepare and establish a routine to help your new dog ease into a new normal after the pandemic. Get into a habit of going for walks at a similar time each day. Once you start to return to normality, it’s likely you will have a time that will work best for you to walk your Puppy. Start getting into this routine now so that things don’t suddenly change for them. Similarly, with mealtimes, bedtimes and toilet times; make sure you try to keep to similar timings of what you would in a normal day. This should help to make the transition to normal life slightly less stressful for your four-legged friend.
If you’d like to learn more about helping your dog adjust to life after coronavirus, read our helpful blog “The new normal for dogs” here.
Give them space:
We know, it can be hard to leave your new addition alone. You want to watch their every move, hear their little snuffles and stroke their soft fur; who wouldn’t? However, it’s important to give them time to themselves. All that interaction, learning and exploring is tiring stuff!
Crates can be a great for creating a “safe” environment. It can be good to put an item from your puppy’s last home in here to give your young dog a sense of familiarity. This should be a place that they know they can go when they need comfort. It is important that when they are in their crate, they are left alone. It can be tempting for children to curl up with their new family member, but they need to know that this is where their puppy goes when they need time out.
Skinner’s team of Canine Nutritionists are here to support and advise you with your dog’s nutritional requirements. We have a range of three different puppy foods, all of which provide the nutrients that they need for the support of their growth and development. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced nutrition team!
Alternatively, we have an online Puppy Feeding Guide. This helpful tool contains advice on which diet to feed, how much and how often.
In recent times, social distancing has made socialisation difficult and resulted in many lockdown puppies missing out on key socialisation time. This process is important as this gets them used to new people and dogs and helps them to learn how they should behave in new situations.
Puppy training classes are a brilliant way to get your new addition to meet new people and other puppies. Unfortunately these have had to be put on hold, however a few are beginning to reopen but with social distancing rules in place. These provide the perfect opportunity for you to grow and strengthen the bond that you two have, whilst introducing them to dogs of different breeds and sizes to themselves, along with meeting new people. Once they start to get older, not only will it teach them basic commands but will often introduce them to unfamiliar items that they might come across; therefore, desensitising them. It’s a good idea to get in touch with your local training class now to find out when they will be back up and running and to get booked in.
Many vets will offer puppy parties, which again encourages socialisation with other young dogs and families. Similarly to puppy training classes, these have has to be stopped during the pandemic; however it’s a good idea to contact your vet to see if they hold them and to register your interest in future events once lockdown rules are relaxed.
Exercise and walks:
Whilst it is important to exercise a puppy, it is equally important not to over exercise! The recommended amount of exercise for a young dog is no more than 5 minutes for every month of their age. Too much exercise can do more harm than good to their growth and development.
It’s more than likely that they will also want to say hello to everyone, which can be a bit of a challenge with social distancing measures in play. It’s not a bad thing that they want to meet new people, so make these encounters positive experiences. If you’re out on a walk and they see someone else walking by or another dog, praise them. Not only will this turn it into a positive and happy experience, it’ll also help to train them to focus on you when there are other distractions about.
Puppy proof your home:
Make sure that there’s nothing lying around for your new little friend to consume. Puppies are known for eating anything in their way (edible or non-edible), which doesn’t always do their tummies much good; therefore we advise only letting them eat Skinner’s food!
Young dogs have a reputation for chewing, so make sure you remove anything that you don’t want to risk having nibble marks in; shoes are often a popular option! It’s a good idea to get them some chew toys instead, just be sure to give them ones appropriate for their size.
Introducing other pets:
You should be careful when introducing your puppy to other pets. It can be a stressful time for both them and their new acquaintance. It’s a good idea to introduce them to each other on ‘neutral’ ground, such as the garden. Some pets hit it off instantly, others can take a little longer. It may be a gradual process of getting them to know each other. Remember not to force anything, and let the friendship slowly blossom.
Experience life through the eyes of a lockdown puppy:
Why not check out our Ambassadogs ‘Willa’ and ‘Mona’ on our Instagram page.
Willa is a 9-week-old Working Cocker Spaniel who is adjusting to life in her new home. Follow her journey with Field & Trial as she trains for life in the field. She is currently fed on Field & Trial Puppy.
Mona is a 6-month-old Springer Spaniel. Fed on Field & Trial Puppy Duck & Rice, most of Mona’s life has been spent in the pandemic. Follow her adventures as she trains to become a gundog and continues to thrive on Field & Trial.
Finally, don’t forget to make the most of this time together. They are only small for a short space of time, enjoy it and keep us up to date with their adventures! Tag us in your photos on social media and use the hashtags #fedonskinners and #fieldandtrial.