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Out of lockdown

As I write this, regional Victoria is emerging from lockdown and stumbling outdoors, blinking in the sunlight (or rain). Many dogs, puppies and adult, have had months of little or no social interactions and you may find they have difficulty coping on walks or with visitors.

Treat all your dog's interactions as "new experiences" at first. Let them take their time exploring or re-exploring their environment. Try not to force them into situations where they may be uncomfortable. If someone wants you to let their dog interact with yours, be very careful to observe your dog's response. If you think they are having a nervous day, or if they back away or bark, politely refuse and explain that your dog is nervous. If the other person is annoyed or offended....tough. You are your dog's advocate and your job is to keep them safe.

Start off with shorter, localised walks to re-acquaint the dog with your local neighbourhood and let them catch up on the sniffing. Work them through their obedience exercises and praise them for every good behaviour and response. Please don't just take your dog to an off lead park and throw them into the scrum. This will end poorly.

Meanwhile, now that people and dogs can go outdoors, enjoy your time with your dogs and make the most of it.

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