Socializing Your Dog When Socially Isolating

These are unprecedented times, and every aspect of our lives has been affected.
While humans deal with their loss of freedom, financial stress, and health issues, our
companion animals feel these changes in different ways.
Our pets are happy to suddenly have their people around so much, but there are
challenges for them that need to be addressed. Your dog’s current age has an impact
on how these new isolation experiences will affect them.
Young Puppies
Puppies under 16 weeks are in a highly sensitive social learning stage, during which
they learn critical skills and acceptance. While they will benefit from the extra
attention from family being home with them, this doesn’t necessarily translate to
real-world experiences.
Some skills, such as house-training, may be improved through this family
involvement. Other skills, such as acceptance of strangers, can become more of a
challenge. We saw this when parvovirus first hit back in the 1980s and puppies
were not being socialized at all. A year down the road, data showed that there was a
large spike in behavioural issues.
Creative solutions will need to be designed to help address the very real lack of new
interactions. It is recommended that pups meet and interact with 50 new people in
their first 16 weeks, in order to build a comfort level with a wide range of types.
After 16 weeks, pups are far less accepting of new people, so we’ve got to help them
now as much as possible. Walks in the neighborhood with your puppy on a 6- to 8-
foot leash can let them say hi while you both still keep the appropriate distance.

There is significant evidence that dogs often see men as being scarier than women,
and research suggests that the difference in a man’s stride may be a cause, while
their lower voices may also be perceived as more threatening. Whatever the reason,
it is a real factor and needs to be addressed accordingly. While out on a walk, ask a
man to stand sideways and toss your pup a treat, or ask them to crouch down and
allow your pup to approach them while ensuring your dog stays at least 2 metres
Kids also have a different way of moving that can be scary for pups, so going outside
to parks once they’re open again and staying at a good distance can help a lot.
Find safe opportunities where you can help your puppy observe a lot of different
types of people from a safe distance. If it is safe for you to do so, stationing yourself
in a parking lot of a grocery store or hardware store can provide some great
experiences, including rattling carts, sliding glass doors, and people moving toward
and away from you.

Trash day is an excellent opportunity to practise having your pup watch something
novel – from the safety of your front step! The trucks are loud and big; the people
wear bright vests and create a lot of commotion, picking up and throwing things.
Calmly watching with a loose leash and treats can help condition your puppy to this
experience. Start while the truck is a few doors away, as the noise is quite loud and
Learning bite inhibition – the proper use of pressure in contact with others – must
be learned before 16 weeks of age. While it is ideally taught from interactions with
other pups in play, it is still possible to build what is known as a soft mouth with just
human interaction. Work on creating a “gentle” or “soft” cue when engaging with
your puppy.
Teaching them the cue “gentle” when licking soft food from the palm of your hand is
a great place to start. Tug-of-war is a really excellent game, but at this stage, with no
other pups to interact with, I do recommend refraining from it until after 16 weeks
of age. For now, we want to teach puppies to engage with toys, hands, and other
dogs softly.
You’ll have a lifetime to teach tug fun, but only up to 16 weeks to get a soft mouth!
Playing doorbell games is a great thing to practise with dogs of all ages! We want to
help them learn to not get overly excited every time they hear them, including on TV
shows! Start with a soft knock from a family member and then toss a treat toward
your dog’s bed to teach them to move away from the door. You can play this game
with a recorded round of doorbells, slowly increasing the volume, so that it stops
being such an exciting cue.
Once you are able to interact and be in public in a more normal manner, don’t rush
new experiences. Let your puppy choose their own pace when approaching a novel
thing and the distance to observe it from. Be aware that just because you know
something isn’t a threat doesn’t mean that it isn’t scary for them. Fear is an
emotional response, not a rational one, and the goal is to slowly change your dog’s
perspective about an experience.
You should pay careful attention to your puppy’s body language during any greeting
or new experience. If they are crouched down, have their tail down or tucked under,
have their head lowered, or are putting the brakes on before approaching, then you
need to stop! Giving your pup a chance to observe while remaining stationary will
often help them be willing to approach. If they continue to resist, move fully away
from the situation and note that you need to start from a greater distance next time!
Mature Dogs

Is your dog happy to have you home but bored? If you notice that they are getting
into trouble more often, it may be because they don’t have enough stimulation.
Being a couch potato may be nice for you, but most dogs need more to engage them.
Get creative!
Balance boards, kids’ tunnels, toddler play structures, balls in a plastic pool, and
jumping through hula hoops are all easy ways to keep dogs of any age engaged!
Some great owner-oriented games include hide-and-seek and recall games where
you call your dog back and forth between family members. Not only does this
increase their love of hearing the cue “come” by practising it in such a fun manner,
you’ll tire them out as well!
Teaching new tricks rather than obedience skills tends to keep things light and
happy. While a solid “stay” cue is highly desirable, a happy pop up in the air or fast
spin is so much more fun! Smiles for us, which trigger our endorphins, and physical
exercise and release for them. A true win-win!
Try to maintain a similar routine to when you are away at work, to avoid the stress
of a big change to the schedule. The departure-to-work time is often the most
stressful part of the day for dogs, so try to practise separating yourself from them
every day at the same time. Even just an hour or two alone each day will help to
keep your dog on a regular schedule. Do some yard work or take a walk on your
own, so that your dog isn’t becoming too dependent on having you in the home at all
times. Avoid allowing them to follow you everywhere in the home with the use of
gates or by closing doors.
When we do return to our regular schedules, it will likely result in an adjustment
period for everyone. We are likely to be more tired and have less time for our pets.
Ease your pets back into your usual schedule as the day of return to work
approaches by increasing their alone time.
Good luck, stay safe, and try to enjoy your time with your dog!

Video Puppy classes!


The sensitive social learning stage in puppies only lasts from 7-16 weeks and there is so much that we need to teach them in this period!  Bite inhibition and how to use their mouths;  how to redirect grabbing and biting; approaching and accepting new things; greetings with families and friends!  So much to learn and we can help!  905-477-8092 or info@caninecampus.ca


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NEW – Scent detection classes!

Are you looking for a fun date night with your dog this winter?  We’re adding a new sport at Canine Campus – Introduction to sport detection. This is suitable for all dogs of all ages. The class covers introduction to competition scents, building hunt drive, reading your dog and handling basics.  This can be just for fun, or looking to move into competition.  Taught by a leading expert in the field, Karin Apfel

PPG Summit 2016 in Tampa Florida

ppg-logoThe Pet Professional Guild features…

Lucinda Glenny at the PPG 2016 Educational Summit Nov 10, 2016 at The Sheraton Tampa East in Florida USA.

Lucinda will be presenting her lecture Thursday, November 10 at 11 am in the Cypress Room.  The subject of her lecture will be “Roots of aggression. Temperament is not an empty slate; the effects of early learning on adult canine disposition”. See the poster below.

The 2016 Pet Professional Guild Summit is being held at the Sheraton Tampa East in Florida USA. The summit spans 5 days from Nov. 7th through 11th, and features 3.5 Days of Education, Networking & Force-Free Fun!

Visit their site for details on The location, presenter schedule, presenters packages, pricing, evening entertainment,  summit registration and more.


Puppy research by Lucinda featured on OVC website!

The research conducted for my MSc degree on the importance of puppy socialization and its effect on long term behaviour is now featured on the Ontario Veterinary College website!  This is such an honor, I am truly grateful!

The research highlights the positive impact that proper socialization can have for puppies and the significant effect that can be seen on minimizing aggressive behaviours.  It is an important topic for owners, breeders and those in the veterinary business to become familiar with, as the current beliefs still predominantly lean towards waiting until 16 weeks and all sets of shots before beginning socialization.  The sensitive stage is over at that point, and there are so many safe methods of socializing pups earlier.  The OVC itself now clearly states and trains new Veterinarians to encourage animals to be socialized 10 days after the first set of shots.  I am so proud that my research helped to accomplish this!

“The Importance of Puppy Socialization” on the OVC site.

Lucinda’s Thesis on Early Enrichment wins top award at US Annual Conference!

Puppies have a highly sensitive learning stage between 7 and 14 weeks of age – at a time when veterinarians in Canada are often recommending keeping them home.  Lucinda completed her Thesis on the positive impact of starting socialization as early as 10 weeks of age.  This is the recommended age by the US Veterinarian Board since 2008; Canine Campus has been following this protocol since 2009 and has had zero incidents of disease.  This Thesis was done for her BSc. in Psychology at York and followed 5 litters and measuring the different levels of reactivity at 5 months.  Lucinda is now pursuing her MSc. at University of Guelph and doing further research on behaviour and learning stages in dogs.  The Ontario Veterinarian College at Guelph is now also teaching their vets to start classes at this age.

At the American Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) annual conference in October, the work was judged against many other scientific studies and awarded first place!

Bring your puppy to Canine Campus and take advantage of our excellent curriculum and methods to help you create a wonderfully socialized animal that will be able to reach their full potential!

Canine Campus Voted #1!

Canine Campus win’s Readers’ Choice Award

We are very proud and grateful to our clients to announce that we were voted the number one facility in the Markham-Stouffville area for 2011!  All the staff at Canine Campus is dedicated to offering dogs and their owners a positive experience and we made a lot of changes in the past year to enhance our offerings.

We renovated and expanded, so that there’s much more room for training clients and offer the ability for the little ones to socialize in their own area, safely separated by a glass wall.  This allows all the dogs to get used to the sight of different sizes, without incurring safety issues of having them together off leash.

We are committed to keeping the size of our classes to a safe group – no more than 6 in training.  This ensures proper socialization and safety.

Thanks to all who voted for us!  Please come out and try our award winning services!

Winter Dog Training Classes!

  When the weather gets so cold that we don’t want to go out, it’s the perfect time to work inside with your dogs!  We offer classes at all levels, using positive reinforcement which result in a dog that  wants to work with you!  We have everything from Puppy Kindergarten to Agility for Fun – including Manners and Advanced/Canine Good Neighbor Courses.

We believe in the power of positive reinforcement methods and appropriate/non physical corrections.  We focus on teaching canine manners to help you achieve the dog that is a pleasure to have in your home and in the park. We use voice, toy play and the randomized treat to motivate and correct pups – no harsh methods. Classes at Canine Campus are recommended and attended by area vets, rescue organizations and breeders who all know that we provide small, quality training classes. Check out the training page for more info, or give us a call! 905-477-8092

In-home behavioural consultations


Many dogs find the world outside their home to be entirely too stimulating and therefore overwhelming. Maybe they react with inappropriate aggressive signals, or are just too excited and drag their owners to every person and dog passing by. Either way, it translates to a very uncomfortable walk for the owners and the more it happens, the more ingrained the behaviour becomes. The walk turns into a dreaded outing, instead of pleasurable time together.

Lucinda has been successfully working with these types of dogs for years now and is pursuing her Masters in the area of animal behaviour.   We start off with in home consultations, to determine the exact triggers for your dog and the methods most suited to assist them in adapting to the world effectively.  The course High Anxiety was developed specifically to address these issues and help owners learn to manage their dogs more effectively. It is so important to understand what your dog is feeling, anticipate their reaction and find a proper way to channel it.

Let us help you get that wonderful dog back that you brought home and make walking a pleasure again!

Vet recommended and backed up by exultant owners – we can help turn things around for you!

Contact Lucinda to set up your consultation today!

Puppy Kindergarten


Puppies don’t get their full set of shots until they’re over 20 weeks of age – so they aren’t supposed to go to any public place or interact with other puppies. The problem is that the ages form 8 weeks to 16 are the most formitive time in a puppy’s life.

One place that they can come safely is Puppy Kindergarten. We always freshly disinfect before the class and never allow any interaction with older dogs or their toys. This offers a fun, safe and positive environment to learn in with puppies their own age.

The kindergarten is geared for the 10 – 20 week old puppy who needs to learn some very important lessons. Some of these they can only learn from other puppies; bite inhibition in play, reading body language and proper play.

The families learn lots too, including proper handling, motivational training and how to manage all those puppy issues. Your puppy will be socialized with men, women and kids too – which is so important while they’re forming their opinion of the world.

Come prepared to get on the floor and play with some incredibly cute puppies – and take away a better socialized and trained member of your family!