The global pandemic has provided many unique challenges when it comes to raising dogs.

Dog Training During a Pandemic

By Ronnie Smith Kennels

The global pandemic has provided many unique challenges when it comes to raising dogs. The past year has had a strong impact on our canines because we have spent more time at home, and new pet owners have to learn how to properly socialize puppies in this new world.

This just means that we have to get creative and figure out how to give our dogs proper socialization and development opportunities. Just like with kids, we have to design a lifestyle that provides stimulation and learning experiences.

Puppy behaviors and experiences shape how dogs behave when grown. It’s always a good idea to continually take honest evaluations of your puppy’s behaviors as he grows. Watch for things that may hamper his success in training and hunting later on.

Things to evaluate include:

Looking objectively at these behaviors will tell you where your dog needs the most help and where to focus your efforts in terms of development.

What can you do to help?

Think outside the box for what might fit in your life. Make time for more hiking trips, canoeing, time at the dog park, obedience work, challenges on agility courses, crate training, rides in the vehicle, trips to the bird field and even just walks in different neighborhoods with different noises. Get creative!

Having more time to spend with your dog is always a good thing. Yet, it is easy to fall into a routine/habit. Take a proactive stance and catalog your dog’s experiences and compare that with what your goals are for your dog. Make sure you are developing your dog in a way that will help him reach your goals.

No matter your dog’s age, you can find creative ways to help further his experiences and education:

Teaching a dog to heel on a loose lead is a great way to help dogs learn to control their impulses. A dog that is able to make the choice to walk calmly beside you on a loose lead and stand in a composed manner when you stand still is also a dog that that will be more likely to encounter new people and new situations with success. Working with your dog by setting boundaries so he can develop a composed mindset is probably the single most helpful thing you can do for him. Start building behavior at home and when the opportunity for new adventure knocks on your door, both you and your dog will be ready to enjoy it!

If you’d like to learn more about training, call Ronnie Smith Kennels or purchase their new book Training Bird Dogs with Ronnie Smith Kennels.