Sit happens is happy to recommend the following:
Group training classes:
Local dog walking and day care:
Local dog photographer:
Local day care (Kirknewton/Livingston area):
Excellent book for 1st time puppy owners:
(Also available on Audible, read by author)
Puppy Socialisation & Social Distancing
You've got a new puppy.... Congratulations! It's a very exciting time. You probably know that you should be socialising your puppy throughout these 'sensitive' weeks. After about 12-16 weeks (depending on breed) dogs start perceiving threat and can experience fear. During the preceding weeks we try to expose our dogs to various situations, places, things, sounds, smells, surfaces, animals & people and create a neutral or good association with these things. The more of these situations we expose our dogs to, the more 'bounce back' we create and this can help them learn to deal with previously not experienced stressful situations as adults. But how can we do this during the global pandemic.
Puppy Culture Stories has written a nice article on what you can do..... and there is so much!
The most important thing to remember is that your puppy does not need to interact with everything. Puppies can make nice associations with situations from distance (in fact this may even be better!). You can expose your puppy to a lot of different things at home: smells; surfaces (shower mats, wood, carpet, concrete, dirt, grass, oven grills); noises (play sounds from Youtube, make noises with household items); and changing human form (wear hats, masks, jackets, shorts, bags, umbrellas). We can drive to some locations and crack the window open so that puppy can hear, see and smell new environments, like the supermarket, the sea, the sheep in Lauriston castle, road works, etc. We can take our puppies (in our arms if they are not fully vaccinated) on our daily exercise, so they can see and smell other people and dogs from a distance.
Just be sure to give the puppy time to absorb the situation, give treats (small pieces of cooked meat) to create positive situations and listen to when your puppy is uncomfortable.
Training Basics: The marker
We need a way to communicate with our dogs that they did something we like. A marker bridges the gap between the behaviour and treat, and makes training very clear for the dog.
1. One syllable so that you can sharply mark the exact time the behaviour happened
2. Different to general praise
3. ALWAYS followed by positive reinforcement
Scatter feeding is a great way to feed dogs:
You can use their own food to entertain them for half an hour while you are busy doing somthing else.
Sniffing has been proven to produce seritonin in the brain, which has a calming effect on your dog
Scattering food, particularly in places where the dog cannot see the food e.g. grass, snuffle mats, behind cushions or in deep pile/shag carpets, promotes sniffing and thus can provide calming entertainment.
Here is a video explaining how to start scatter feeding: