Whilst walking with Sonic and Logi today we met a man walking a small terrier. I put Logi on the lead as he at an age where he just wants to jump on people and dogs and play… actually, my little extrovert seems to have been at that age for the last 9 months!
Sonic and the other dog were off lead and ignored each other, but the man made huge eye contact with Logi, stepped into my 2 metres and stroked my dog on the head. He then proceeded to do the same to Sonic.
The behaviourist in me is delighted that my puppy is getting a lovely, positive social interaction. He kept all four paws on the floor and was beautifully behaved throughout. The part of me with a husband with COPD and asthma was screaming “NO” and pulling my dog away. By then it was too late the “damage” had been done.
Two days before someone had asked me if my dogs were nervous as I put them on the lead when she approached me with her dog. When I explained that, although we don’t think that dogs can catch this virus, they can pass it on through coat contact. She laughed and I could see she thought I was being alarmist, but just think about the incident above. If the man had any infection that wasn’t yet showing he could just have put that into my house. Or if I now let 3 more people on that walk stroke my dogs…
But back to my other point, what do we do to socialise our young dogs in this strange new world? I think we must expose them to as many people and situations as possible within the restrictions we have. Take them to the supermarket and let them people watch while another family member goes in. Be creative in what you do – play loud music and bangs in the house. Walk near busy roads (if you can find any). Do lots of brain training and play, play, play. This is how we all learn, and you can have so much fun with your dog that it will keep you happily amused for hours too.
And finally – my poor dogs were sprayed with dog safe anti-viral solution when we got home which poor Logi hates!