Never have there been more puppies about and never have so few had any training, or formalised socialisation.
We are headed straight into a huge pile of trouble in the next 18 months. Already, after first lockdown, a high volume of human directed aggression cases have been streaming into behaviourists.
Covid is here to stay awhile. Even with vaccinations, with a mutating virus, we should anticipate periods of lockdown for at least the next year to two years. So, we all have to accept this and adapt.
I want to say firstly, that I am blessed to work with many clients who want to receive training in any format and we have received very positive feedback about the online classes,especially the unit dedicated to socialisation. Most clients who attended our first lockdown live coached online classes did well and I later met their pups in outdoor classes. These pups did BETTER with the social exposure than puppies we used to see pre Covid. Why? That’s another article.
Even now, in the worst phase of this pandemic, some people are saying online training isn’t for them and they want to do in person classes; they are prepared to wait. You can’t afford to wait! We are not allowed to offer in person classes, so these clients are doing without any formal guidance rather than make adaptations. Sadly, many of these owners believe they know how to go it alone and resort to scanning the internet for advice where they will be barraged by a heap of information; some good, some outdated, some downright dangerous. The Dunning Kruger effect is a known effect in which a small amount of knowledge makes a person think they know much more. We don't know what we don't know until we DO know it. These ppuppy owners will socialise their puppy in the big wild, often oblivious of what socialisation should look like. A lack of knowledge prevents these owners from being able to know which information they should follow and what good quality socialisation looks like. They are oblivious of the permanent damage that can occur when poor socialisation experiences are gained during sensitive stages of development. They are also unaware of the long lasting physical damage that can be done when young pups get bashed about by older dogs.
When clients book a course with an accredited dog trainer, the trainer will have received education that enables them to give the puppy owner targeted training so that the owner doesn’t have to play Russian Roulette with their puppy’s future. This is ESPECIALLY important during Covid lockdown. Many behaviour problems are arising due to Covid lockdown and owners will not be aware of the risks until it is too late.
I do worry about the dog world over the coming 18 months to 2 years. There will be many dangerous dogs around that will have been passed on via internet pet sites rather than placed into an official rescue centre who have the skills and resources to help damaged dogs to overcome serious behaviour problems.
So, if you have declined live coached online puppy classes because it’s not for you, please think again. The costs of not getting the right start for your puppy are high. Although I am at capacity, online live coached classes can be delivered from anywhere! Just look for accredited professionals listed on the ABTC (unofficial regulator for the dog training and behaviour industry) or other non ABTC professional organisations' websites.