One good news this year is this: dogs are finding their forever homes. During the lockdown period, pet adoption increased in many countries. With their employees staying home, shelters asked for volunteers to foster dogs, but many people decided to adopt instead. This transaction works both ways: the dogs give back just as much. They help humans get through the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
If you’re one of those who recently brought a dog home, we’ve got some tips for you on how to train it. There are a few pet training issues that may come up with this pandemic, such as how to teach it to deal with separation anxiety once you go back to work or how to help it socialise when dog parks are closed.
What to Do
- Do crate training. Every dog needs a secure space, especially when you can’t supervise it. So, get a create and train your pup to get comfortable in it. Even if you stay home all day, train your dog to stay in the crate for a few minutes or hours a day. This way, it will be easier for your pooch to deal with separation anxiety once you go back to the office. You won’t find your sofa unstuffed or the custom promotional pens you bought for your next trade show all chewed up.
- Take your pup for a walk. Even if the parks are closed, make sure your dog sees different people and pets. Take it for a walk around the neighbourhood at least once a day. Doing so helps you keep a routine, which likely went out of the window because of the lockdown.
- Keep your pooch on a regular feeding schedule. Since it comes from a shelter, your dog will need time to start being more comfortable in your house. One way to make housebreaking easier is to feed it on a regular schedule.
What Not to Do
- Do not change the rules. From crate training to feeding and watering schedule, do not change the rules. Dogs need consistency to feel more comfortable in a new environment. Make sure your kids or other members of the household understand and follow this rule.
- Do not give too many treats. Since you’re spending all day practically with your new dog, you may be tempted to provide many treats, especially when training or playing with it. But too much of anything isn’t healthy. Use a half portion of your pup’s regular meal for reward, instead.
- Do not entertain your dog all the time. While it’s relaxing to play with your pooch or cuddle with it, dogs, especially puppies, need to learn to settle and be comfortable on their own. Again, you don’t want to raise a dog that feels stressed whenever you walk out the door. Give it some toys and let it discover its go-to toy, so it can have a good time even if you’re not around.
The initial training period can be a lot of work for new pet owners. But during a pandemic, pet training is a good distraction. You have the time and energy to train your new dog and welcome it to its forever home.