Since the onset of the health crisis, the number of dog adoptions in Montreal has skyrocketed. Demands containment, these “Covid generation” dogs are lagging behind in socialization. Delay that comes with risk.
“I have never seen such a dramatic increase in the number of dogs in Montreal since I started practicing the dog trainer profession,” said Anne-Catherine Hugo, founder of Can’idée from the beginning.
The latter participates in seminars organized by the City of Montreal. Metro went to meet him on June 9 at Arthur-Peloken dog park.
“These are puppies or adolescent dogs that were adopted around March or April 2020, at the start of the pandemic. They have not yet been properly socialized. “
“Frequently asked questions are about puppies or young dogs: biting, jumping to get attention, yapping and other attention-getting behavior.”
Anne-Catherine Hugo, dog trainer and founder of Can’idée
The socialization period for dogs lasts up to about four months.
“Before 16 weeks you have to show your dog what life is. It absorbs the maximum amount of information: noises, textures, strange things for him like a can or children, for example. During the pandemic, these dogs did not see many of these things. “
After this critical period, changing the dog’s behavior is called desensitization. “Done, but the process is more complex and difficult,” warns Ms Hugo.
Learn to recognize signals of discomfort
Thus, due to deconfinement and gradual resumption of activity, these young animals lag behind in socialization compared to older dogs. A factor that can change their behavior.
“These dogs are more likely to bark, growl, or more likely to bark or try to bite other dogs or things they find strange.”
If the number of seizures remains rare, Ann-Catherine explains that reprimanding or ignoring your dog when these signs of discomfort appear can increase this risk.
“When a dog learns not to growl or bark, he understands that he should not be given warnings. This increases the risk of an unexpected bite because the dog knows it will not count in the messages it wants to convey and is more likely to be impulsive. “
Other, more subtle signals can also represent inconvenience messages, such as a raised paw, repeated licking of the nose, a yawn, upturned lips, and especially prominent whites of the eyes. If your dog is giving more than one of these signals, it is best to leave and wait for it to calm down.
Meanwhile, the best way to properly train your dog is to take courses with a certified dog trainer, which is a rarity in Quebec where this practice is not available.
“If a dog trainer has good basic training, if he is constantly trained, if he is based on scientific facts from research and not on anecdotes, then he can be considered a good choice.”