Puppy Socialisation in Isolation

Puppy Socialisation in Isolation

Puppy Socialisation in Isolation

Written by Eryn Martyn-Godfrey

In the past week since the UK was asked to Stay Home, I have had so many people get in touch panicked about how they will socialise their new puppy. My response has taken them all by surprise.

In my opinion, and only time will tell, this is the BEST thing that could happen for puppies in regards to the vastly misunderstood and sadly poorly implemented way to ‘socialise’ a young puppy.

Now before anyone tries to lynch me, COVID-19 is serious, VERY serious, we need to be helping each other by staying home. In the UK so far we have been asked to only leave the house for short times for essential trips. Asked to have one exercise trip a day per person and this can be used to exercise your dog.

Here is the bit which is fantastic for new puppy guardians, those with dogs already will tell you how overwhelmed their puppy, and in many cases, they themselves were too, within the first few months of bringing their pup home. How a walk with their puppy would result in a vast number of people stopping to stroke and pet their puppy. How many puppies learnt that all people and dogs ‘should’ pay them attention? And, if any dog or person dared to walk past them without even a backwards glance, then their pup would sit on the street refusing to move. Others will remember when their puppy became so overwhelmed. They knew their pup wasn’t enjoying the interaction, but being truly British they didn’t speak up for their scared puppy, for fear of hurting the person’s feelings.

Guess what? No one should be touching your puppy unsolicited anyway, and now if they do go to do it, you are all meant to be social distancing!!!

So what is ‘Socialisation’? 

    Life as we know it has changed

    Our society has changed, and what was acceptable is no longer, this doesn’t mean your pup won’t adapt in the future. Dog’s are learning all the time. But it does mean you have the perfect opportunity to teach skills many weren’t able to before.

    For your puppy, this means they can learn without being flooded (forcefully exposing them to new things), they can instead observe unusual things, let’s be honest people in masks will not phase this generation of pups, from a safe distance. You can reward your puppy for remaining calm around HUGE distractions, again people in masks.

    You can teach your pup that paying attention to you even when there is an offer to meet another person or dog pays off hugely for them. You can also teach them impeccable social skills from a distance. Dogs and puppies aren’t stupid, they learn most of what they learn from sniffing, listening and watching.


    Success is more likely

    So this couldn’t be a better time to set a puppy up for success. By teaching them their foundation skills in situations where they aren’t supposed to be distracted by strangers touching them uninvited and learning the poor behaviours of rushing at every dog without taking time to make observations first.

    Instead of worrying, embrace socialisation in isolation, have fun exposing your pup gradually and supported to new things, watching for their body language. In fact, in light of COVID-19, you can access our Intro to Body Language Course for free when you join our Group online Puppy Classes.

    Here are our top tips for making it easy for you and your pup to create a confident puppy for the future.


    Whether it is just you or an entire family at home with your pup, break out the fancy dress. Or improvise, put items on your head, hands or feet, wearing clothing where it wouldn’t usually be, socks on hands, gloves on feet, jackets over your head etc, the sillier, the better.

    If your pup stiffens at the sight of you, take off the item, talk to them calmly, then let them see you put it back on and off again. Don’t laugh and make fun, this is supposed to be enjoyable for your pup, not for your entertainment.

    Sit on the floor, let them approach you, move smoothly without sudden movements, as this could startle them.


    Novel Surfaces & Noises

    Use ACE Free Work to build confidence in walking over novel surfaces.

    We use ACE Free Work in both our 1-2-1 consultations online and within our Group Online classes too. It is an invaluable tool for observations and building confidence for life. 

    Introduce noises of the hairdryer, vacuum, drill in their regular spaces, then in unusual areas of the home or garden too

    If you would like to learn more about our online courses or join one of our group classes, click here

    The Big Wide World

    When you go out, especially if your pup is one of the many likely to remain unvaccinated through this time, carry them. Let your puppy see people, take in the noises and smells, above all else take food with you. Pay your dog (this means give them a piece of food or many pieces) for remaining calm around the new things. Don’t wait for them to get restless, reward them for the moments of calm first. 

    If your pup is vaccinated focus on rewarding them for paying attention to you when they see children, motorbikes, big lorries (although fewer around). You could teach amazing lead walking, sit’s with distractions, drops, these are all things which will be needed in the future too. You can use a long line of 5m to teach recall, do some searching together. The list is endless. 

    It may feel daunting, but you and your pup will get through this. If you want extra help, all our services are online. You can book a one-to-one New Puppy Consult or Group Classes. You are not alone. We even have our Facebook Creating Calm Canine Group so you can meet others, like you, who are also raising a puppy during times of social distancing and isolation. 

    Creating Calm Canines is not only possible, but easy to do, using our little tips

    you can Hocus-Pocus your Crazy Pup too. 

    Stay Home, Stay Safe and Keep in Touch. 

    Car Travel With Your Dog

    Car Travel With Your Dog

    Car Travel With Your Dog

    Written by Eryn Martyn-Godfrey

    With a new study revealing that nearly two thirds (64%) of UK motorists are unaware that driving with an unrestrained pet could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and invalidation of their insurance. It is about time we all take more care of our dogs when they travel in a car. The number of rear-end car crashes recorded in the UK has increased over the past three years despite advances in safety technology, figures revealed, according to research by Accident Exchange. This is despite improvements in collision avoidance systems, more powerful brakes and ABS. Boot floors can be damaged and cause the boot to open, so dogs traveling unrestrained in the boot are then loose within accident scenes. Being loose in a boot, front or back seat is not a safe travel choice. Even if you aren’t in an accident, breaking sharply can cause your to slip in to the footwell or fly around your boot causing them significant damage to muscles and in some cases much worse injuries. 

    Know the Law

    With a new study revealing that nearly two thirds (64%) of UK motorists are unaware that driving with an unrestrained pet could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and invalidates their insurance. It is about time we all take more care of our dogs when they travel in a car.

    Are you in breach of Rule 57 of the Highway Code?

    “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.” Read more here


    Invalidates Insurance

    “Most insurance policies will not cover a motorist who is found driving with a pet if it is unrestrained, meaning pay-outs can be withheld if there is an accident” Read More HERE

    Whether it is a quick trip to the shops, driving to your local park or a day trip out, your dogs safety needs to be addressed. If you leave them loose you not only face fines if caught but if you are in an accident and found with a loose animal your insurance is very likely to not pay anything out at all. Is it really worth the risk?

    Choose a restraint which works for you, your car & your dog. Whether it is a harness, crate, or dog guard with tail gate. There are plenty of options around. No one but you can speak up to keep your dog safe, if your dog struggles in a crate, either build positive associations or use a harness instead. You can even section off part of your boot with dividers, dog guards and tail gates to prevent them from being thrown about in day to day driving. 


    Is it Crash Tested?

    Many items sold are NOT crash tested and many are unsafe. Check your items and make informed choices. Accidents happen. The most common seat belt attachments or car harness are sold by RAC in the uk and these have not been crash-tested! The seat belt plug is not designed by car manufacturers to withstand force alone. Seat belts work by spreading the stopping force needed to decelerate the passenger across their body with the seatbelt retractor’s lock bar when force is applied.  They do NOT work by attaching a harness to you and plugging it into the socket alone.

    Invest for life and to save life

    Your dog deserves to be kept safe when traveling, here are some you can look at for harnesses Sleepypod Click it Sport or Kurgo,  for crates Trans K9Variocage Safe Dog Crates, or Pet Ego EB Jet Set Isofix. If you transport your dogs in your boot, then there are three factors you MUST consider. First do you have a dog guard to prevent them from getting in to the back seat? Second do you have a tail-guard to prevent them from being loose if someone rear-ends you? And thirdly, how big is your dog and how big is your boot? If you stop suddenly are the flying about in a space far to big for them, pulling muscles daily bracing when you drive around corners or stop suddenly. 

    Sleepypod Clickit Sport

    Kurgo Impact

    Trans K9

    VarioCage Safe Dog

    Pet Ego Jet Set


    All on Board

    This information goes for everyone who transports your dog! Whether it is a friend, family member or professional Dog Walker or Daycare it is down to you to make sure your dog is being transported safely. For Professionals it is NEVER ok to put more than one dog in a crate, all dogs should be able to travel in their own space. If the walker / daycare doesn’t have a vehicle big enough for this, choose a walker who can provide this level of basic safety. 

    Parents who ask friends or family to pick up or travel with their child either give them the car seat they use in their car or, if it is a regular set up, many opt to buy a second seat to be used by them. It really shouldn’t be any different for your dog.