Published: 16:00, 21 April 2021
| Updated: 09:12, 22 April 2021
The world-leading animal welfare charity Battersea has launched a series of virtual training classes for puppies bought during the pandemic.
There has been an explosion of pet owning in the last year, with many of us spending more time at home, but animal welfare experts are concerned about how animals not used to being left will react when restrictions ease.
To help this lockdown generation and their owners prepare for new-found freedom, the charity, which has a branch at Brands Hatch near Dartford, as well as in London, has launched a new range of one-off virtual classes for dogs aged five to 18 months, tackling key training areas including separation anxiety and meeting new people.
Battersea’s canine behaviour and training manager, Rob Bays, said: “As many of us prepare to start spending more time outside our home, whether it be to go into the office, visit friends or head to the pub, it’s vital we ensure our pets are also prepared for this big lifestyle change.
“There’s a whole generation of new dogs that don’t yet understand that lockdown life isn’t the norm so we’re encouraging owners to do everything they can to get their young pets ready for the big changes that lie ahead.
"With the right training in place this potentially overwhelming transition can turn in to an exciting time for them, as they learn to make new friends and enjoy their own company.”
Other online classes available include learning to walk with a loose lead, ways to prevent resource guarding, the benefits and types of constructive play, and how to make sure every pet is happy in a multi-animal household.
Owners are encouraged to mix and match which classes they would like to attend.
While the classes are currently restricted to dogs aged 18 months and under, Battersea also has a dedicated pet behaviour advice line as well as offering a variety of training advice online. Last year more than 1,000 owners called the behaviour team.
Rob added: “Rescues like Battersea are here to help owners long before they may need to make the difficult decision to give up their pet and we’d urge anyone struggling to care for their dog to get in touch.
"Whatever the problem Battersea is always here to help, whether that be offering simple advice, walking an owner through different techniques or taking a dog in to our care and finding them a new home.”
Classes are currently available this month and in May. For specific dates and availability, check the website as classes are restricted to six dogs at a time.
Owners can find out more, book a place on a class or register their interest for future classes on the Battersea website here.