Do you have a COVID dog? It’s time to drop the excuse and start training – the Durango Herald

Recently I saw a dog walk away from a woman who was trying to say hello. The dog’s owner apologized and said the dog was a COVID puppy. This is a new sentence implying that the dog is having behavioral problems. These problems can range from fear and anxiety to dogs who act aggressively or to those who simply don’t have good manners. But just because you ended up with a dog during the pandemic doesn’t mean that dog must have behavioral issues their entire life.

We have always faced the same animal welfare issues. Two-thirds of dogs that enter the system are under-socialized and lack the skills to deal with the world. Fortunately, we have a formula to help them.

While the formula will change depending on the dog and the particular issues present, there are three common things everyone with a COVID dog can do to help their puppy. The first is exposure. It is essential to expose your puppy to the world in a safe and non-chaotic environment where he can watch without having to react or participate.

It can be indoors or outdoors, but the dog should feel secure enough to eat a delicious treat (if he doesn’t, he needs more space). This step involves a lot of downtime for the human, but it is crucial for the dog to understand and understand that he does not need to react or even get involved in the things that are going on around him. . It is imperative to protect your puppy from everything and everyone during this step.

The second thing to do is to equip your dog with a coping mechanism. Then teach them to use this strategy whenever things get uncomfortable for them. Fetching a ball works great for barking dogs. Dogs who bite should be taught to go to the leg of their people or to lie down nearby. Try attaching a toy to your dog’s collar so that it is always within reach.

The last is to encourage curiosity. I like to see a curious dog. This means that they are comfortable enough to explore and enjoy their surroundings. Let your dog smell anything and everything. Don’t let them be rude, but let them engage without being worried or getting yelled at. No dog has ever died smelling the smell of a litter box, toilet or garbage can. Relax and let them engage in their world in their own way.

Dogs who have missed their socialization period can have behavioral issues and challenges. It can shrink the dog world – we don’t bring rude dogs to places or let them explore if we don’t trust them. It also requires you to supervise your puppy at all times. Instead, equip yourself and your dog with the skills to be successful and maybe even excel in life so there is no need for excuses.

Marcy Eckhardt is Director of the PranaDOGS Behavior & Rehab Center and Canine Behavior Coach at La Plata County Humane Society. Contact her at [email protected]

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