K9s after COVID


Colin Spence runs dog training classes in Snaresbrook and has been working with man’s best friend for over 20 years. Here, he explains the importance of training puppies bought during the pandemic

COVID-19 has had an awful impact on us all since March 2020, and we are still feeling the after-effects moving forward. Many dogs have also felt the effects of covid, including puppies that were bought during the pandemic and were not able to have the right socialisation and habituation period that they so need.

Many dogs are continuing to feel the stresses and are now experiencing anxiety-related behaviours. Some carers may have noticed these behaviours, but many others may have not yet realised their puppy is showing signs of early anxiety.

My fellow trainers and I have been helping dog owners address this by showing them how to help their puppies gain confidence and start to learn how to exist and learn around other animals and humans in a safe environment. Experienced trainers will have a good understating of all puppy-related behaviours, and how best to deal with them humanely by using science-based, positive reinforcement methods.

Whether it’s a training need or a behavioural need, a good trainer is equipped to deal with and support you through the process. If the dog’s anxiety is so severe that classroom training is not a viable option, the process can be completed in your home setting, where the puppy is more likely to have good associations with their familiar surroundings and is more likely to succeed.

Dog training classes should be filled with fun and, of course, lots of learning, not only for your puppy, but for you too. The owner needs to learn how to work as a team to fill their puppy with much-needed confidence.

The lessons learnt will be invaluable as these new skills can set your puppy up for the rest of their life. You need to be committed to learning and committed to being consistent. Equally important is for puppy and owner to both have fun together, as without fun, puppies can become very bored. Fun helps them learn and keeps them focused.

Trainers will teach you how to make a connection and to get your puppy to look to you for guidance.

Teaching recall is, in my opinion, the most important thing. A good and reliable recall could save your dog’s life by preventing them from running into a difficult situation. You’ll also need to learn how to relax your dog by teaching them to rest on their settle mat.

Classes are an invaluable place to start learning the basics of puppy training and using positive reinforcement to get good, solid training results. But that’s not to say older dogs can’t take part as well.

Colin’s K9 Training Services holds classes on Wednesday evenings at the Scout Hut, 72 Hollybush Hill, Snaresbrook. For more information, visit wnstd.com/colinsk9