SOCIALISATION during Isolation!

SOCIALISATION during Isolation!


For decades dog owners have been told that socialising their puppy in the early months of life is essential.

New puppy owners are often given lists to check off every type of eventuality the dog might one day encounter and they work their way through the list diligently... Faithfully believing that these early puppy encounters will set them up for a lifetime of good encounters.

BUT in reality - it doesn’t quite work like that. And typical socialisation of puppies in this way does not always accomplish what the owner hopes. What can go wrong with this method?

1.     You could meet every type of human, animal, vehicle and dog in your puppy’s early development, tick off the whole list. But then one day, out of the blue, a man with a beard and sunglasses wearing a high viz vest and a wizards hat comes by riding a scooter and tooting a horn. Your dog goes bonkers... Why? - Because you never trained for that!

2.      Whilst good experiences of other humans and dogs can be very valuable BAD experiences of other humans and dogs can be detrimental to the puppy’s development. With the best will in the world you cannot control every situation and you cannot guarantee that a meet up with a friend and their (usually lovely) dog will produce the results you hope for. A bad experience teaches the dog way more than a good experience does and sadly a dog that has several bad socialisation experiences can end up with a fear or reactive problem that needs even more training to solve.

3.     Puppies love to play and mouth each-other, they grab tails and roll around with each other they chase and jump on one another. This is lovely to watch... but not all dogs like to be mouthed, grabbed, chased etc... Some puppies who are “socialised” a lot and given free reign to play boisterously whilst young with other puppies might not be learning nice social skills. (socialising with some adult dogs MIGHT help the puppy learn what’s ok and what’s going too far but that will only be to that particular adult dog’s tastes).

So – if traditional socialisation isn’t the best approach – what is?

Course curriculum

Some sample sections from this 3 week course

  • 01

    Welcome to the course!

    • A message from your intructor Lydia

    • How to use this course

    • Introduction to Socialisation in Isolation

  • 02

    Socialisation in Isolation - Week 1

    • Optimism - week 1

    • Scatter Feeding - day 1

    • Boundary games - day 2

    • Going Commando - day 3

    • Nose Touch - day 4

    • Orientation Game - day 5

    • Funder - day 6

    • Inspiration - day 7

  • 03

    Socialisation in Isolation - Week 2

  • 04

    Socialisation in Isolation - Week 3

    • Cavaletti - day 15

    • Mouse - day 16

    • Twist & Twirl - day 17

    • Wanger - day 18

    • Disengage - day 19

    • A to B - day 20

    • DMT - day 21

  • 05

    Next Steps...

    • Well done! What next?

A better approach

Dogs, like humans, all have personalities. And like humans their personalities are not set in stone and they can be changed. A human will “work” on their anger and become a more pleasant person. Or a pessimistic person may take hold of their thinking and literally train their brain to start to think differently – learning to see the positive rather than defaulting to the negative thought processes in new situations. In the same way an owner can help their dog “work” on the things that will develop the best personality traits for the dog to cope well with everything life might throw at it. 

It takes at least 3 weeks (21 days) to make a change like this in both humans and dogs.


At this time of isolation and social distancing it has become very difficult to “socialise” our puppies in the above usual way. Personally, I think that this could actually be beneficial for your puppy. No encounters, means, no BAD encounters! Dogs do not need to be running and rolling about with each other to learn to live alongside each other. Instead of lots of experiences of lots of society we can give our dogs a much more valuable gift... we can grow concepts in their puppy brains that will keep them happy and comfortable in ALL situations that they may one day encounter.

So - Let’s do this!

Firstly: Let’s decide what concepts are needed for a whole, mentally and socially healthy puppy: 

The main concepts that will shape the puppy’s brain to cope with life outside and alongside other humans and animals are:


Definitions of these:

Optimism is a mental attitude reflecting a belief that the outcome of some specific endeavour will be positive, favourable, and desirable.

Confidence is a state of being certain that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. The word confidence comes from the Latin word for “to trust”.

Disengagement is the ability to switch off from a distraction. To be able to go away, switch your thinking from something that could otherwise keep your attention.


In a dog - developing these concepts strong in their personality will allow the dog to...

  • Meet new people and dogs with a good attitude (calm, happy, unafraid)
  • See and experience new things without fear
  • Trust the owner as they are led into new or strange environments
  • Walk past other dogs and animals without feeling the need to investigate further
  • Be calm and happy in all sorts of environments.

And much more... The more you start thinking in concepts in dog training the more you realise how important they are.


So Rather than looking at the problem of not being able to “socialise” our puppies at this time – Lets start a training program of preparing our puppies for life after lockdown and let’s begin growing each of these concepts.... By playing simple, (3 minute) games at home we can grow these puppies’ brains to develop these essential concepts and get them life after lockdown ready!


Join me for a 3-week programme of games to play with your puppy at home.

Short video examples and written instructions for each game, 6 days a week.

Play little and OFTEN – (so play the same games several times a day).

I will give you at least 6 games a week (2 for training each concept) with occasional bonuses.

If you have signed up for the program you will have full access to my Faithful Friends Tribe Coaching page – there you can ask questions and get advice for ANY dog training struggles.

Why only 6 days of games? - On the 7th day = REST!... It’s really good to have no rules play with your puppy... to keep things light and fun and to develop all parts of your relationship together. Some puppies lack confidence coming into training and they can feel under pressure to get things right. It’s good for you both to take a bit of a break once in a while J

Your course leader

Meet your instructors

Lydia Faithfull is a certified PDT (Pro Dog Trainer) and an Approved Instructor with the Dog Training College. She has been trained through the fantastic, comprehensive Absolute Dogs PDT Course. Lydia has raised 15 puppies from birth and bred 12 cockapoos. She is an approved Cockapoo Club of Great Britain Breeder.

Lydia Faithfull

Pro Dog Trainer