The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an uptick in pet adoptions as families spend more time at home and people find companionship to ease social distancing loneliness. The rise in adoptions has been seen in a positive light as so many animals enter shelters yearly who need homes and this year many of those shelters were emptied!
Some of the things new pet owners may have had to work on as they brought an older dog into their home was training them. They say it is far easier to condition a dog to learn patterns from a young puppy age and that older dogs don’t easily adapt to changes in their routines, but there are ways you can train an adult dog. The same goes for socializing. Even while social distancing is in order there is still a need to help dogs feel comfortable out in public, while on walks and if you have visitors. Encounters with other dogs and humans should not create tension or an issue.
With some extra patience and care, anything is possible!
Here are 3 things to do now to start training and socializing your adult dog.
Find Root of Bad Behavior
Some of the most common problems with dogs that will not listen aren’t just a bad attitude, a lot of times this is a sign of another issue – like anxiety or distress. Simply taking your dog to a crowded park with other dogs doesn’t mean you can let him run around and play with his mates. Most dogs are territorial and some would rather keep their distance. Other training issues like bathroom accidents and chewing through shoes and furniture may also lead back to this issue of anxiety or boredom. To find a solution it’s best to get to the root reason why.
Believe it or not, part of how your dog acts has to do with how you act. They usually will follow the lead of their owner so if you are quiet, withdrawn or angry and keep a distance, they will do the same. It’s important as you’re teaching them new things and taking them around other dogs that you show it’s okay that you’re overly excited when they do a good job and that this experience is new, but an okay one to reassure them.
Take it Slow
As your pet adapts to a new home and living space and any other family members they first meet, it’s important to take it slow and allow them to sniff it out and get comfortable. The same is true for easing into training and socialization – it’s not an overnight thing. Try first taking your dog out with another pet owner you know and see how they do. There will be less action going on and it might be easier to warm up to the idea of sharing you and your space with another dog. If you’re trying to train them to sit, go, come and any other command and you feel like giving up, maybe it’s time to take a break. Give it some time and come back to a daily schedule of trying until they get it – sometimes they do!
There are also professional dog obedience training options and things like wireless containment systems that can help tremendously.
DogWatch of Western Mass proudly serves the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas providing committed, trained professionals with years of experience in installation, training and customer service!