Socialisation is a key part of your puppy's development, and includes several elements, including introductions to different environments, noises, textures, objects, as well as meeting people and other dogs.
During the first lockdown, when many people were welcoming home new puppies, it became a huge concern that with social distancing in place and limited outings, that many of these puppies would be missing out on a huge part of their socialisation. For that reason, what was initial known as Covid Canines - now Puppy Play, began.
These weekly half hour sessions cater for pups at all stages of confidence. With use of fantastic facilities, I have the option of seperating into smaller groups where the new and less confident puppies can observe and learn from calmer, more confident puppies, and the super confident and sociable pups can have a good play and burn off some energy!
Supervised by myself, my team of dog loving volunteers and the most important staff member - my dog Willow, we support the pups to build their confidence, to learn appropriate play and to interact and have fun. We introduce various puppy friendly pieces of equipment such as ball pools, sand pit, soft toys for them to explore.
I have puppies of all different breeds and sizes attending, which helps the pups learn to adapt their play, and to make friends no matter what the size difference!
These sessions have been extremely successful in supporting nervous pups to gain their confidence by giving them space to observe, ensuring they are not flooded or overwhelmed by confident pups, giving them time, reassurance and support to learn what play is in a safe and secure environment. This is not a free for all and has very much been set up in mind of ensuring pups gain their confidence, not lose it!
Due to the Covid restrictions in place when the sessions began, the sessions were set up to allow puppies to socialise at a time when humans couldn't. As restrictions eased, I decided to continue with the original set up of the sessions for several reasons.
The half hour sessions are a drop of session. In allowing owners to remain present, often the less confident pups will remain with their humans rather than explore and interact. This impedes on the puppies progress and additonally in having several owners present, it impacts on my ability to observe, to interrupt play when needed, and adds a safety issue in terms of people coming and going with pups off lead. For these reasons, the sessions are for puppies only. Owners are welcome to enjoy half an hour of peace and quiet sat in their cars, chatting to other owners outside or popping home if you are close by.