As new owners admit lockdown has hampered the teaching of vital skills
Early training of puppies can be critical to their development
Pandemic pups can now be signed up for a Battersea Dogs & Cats Home virtual training programme especially designed for dogs born during lockdown, after new owners expressed concerns that their new furry friends are missing out on vital socialisation and skills.
The Nine Elms-based animal charity recently surveyed 2,000 dog and cat owners – most of whom had got their new pet during lockdown – and found that almost half said they ‘sometimes regret’ their decision, with 73 per cent of them saying their misgivings were due to training problems.
With various restrictions in place during lockdown, it has been difficult for owners to ensure that their puppy gets the same start in life as their pre-pandemic peers. Face-to-face classes have been far less frequent and social distancing has made socialising with other dogs far trickier.
To help the lockdown generation of puppies develop a solid behavioural foundation and avoid picking up bad habits, Battersea’s behaviour experts have just started on a six-week virtual puppy training programme.
The Puppy Programme is a six-week course of weekly classes held by Battersea’s trainers over Zoom. Topics include obedience basics such as learning to come when called, to settle, and to walk on a lead sensibly. There is a limit of five puppies per class to ensure the trainer can focus on the needs of each dog and all dogs should be aged five months or under, as this is a foundation level programme.
The next available courses are scheduled to start on 8 October, 26 October and 10 November, with both a morning and afternoon class on each day. Classes are limited to five puppies per session and spaces are expected to book up fast. The cost is £80.
Any owners considering taking part in the programme can find out more, book a place or register their interest for future classes on the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home website.
Battersea’s Canine Behaviour and Training Manager, Nathalie Ingham, said: “Thousands of people across the UK have welcomed new puppies during lockdown and we want them to know Battersea is here to support them. Training virtually is a great option for many people as lockdown continues - our classes are designed for complete beginners and we’ll go at the pace of each individual dog so every pup gets the most from their training.”
“One of the great things about training virtually is that anyone can take part no matter where in the world they are. We’re encouraging everyone living with their puppy to join in with the training, including children. It’s such a great way to bond with your dog and hopefully a fun group activity, not just during our classes, but for the weeks and months ahead when you can continue teaching your dog new tricks and skills.”
September 30, 2020