As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, many dogs and puppies will have experienced a drastic change in the amount of time spent indoors.

Busier parks, beaches and high streets may have come as a surprise to our four-legged friends, especially those who were welcomed over lockdown restrictions.

Jim Furlong, 51, co-owner of Petpals Wirral West has shared his tips that dog-owners can follow, to prevent their dogs from becoming nervous as they grow older.

Jim said: “You’ve probably seen on the news that dog ownership has gone through the roof over lockdown, particularly puppies.

Wirral Globe: Black pub PheobeBlack pub Pheobe

“But at exactly the same time, places where puppies would socialise, like their puppy classes, have been shut down.

“Equally, people have been shielding and have spent a lot of time at home, so dogs have not been seeing many people at all.”

Experts suggest that lockdown restrictions will cause a generation of dogs that are not properly socialised.

Jim believes that there are simple things that every dog owner can do.

Jim said: “Once puppies have had all their jabs, and are not going to catch anything anymore, we take them out on 15-to-20-minute walks, on a lead.

“So, they can gradually get used to all of the sounds and smells.

“Then, they can meet other dogs on a lead and get to know them.

“After a few months of gradually doing that, as are the owners, we will introduce them to group walks where they can play, off lead, with other dogs.”

Jim has also recommended:

  • Speaking to other dog-owners and slowly allow your dogs to mix.
  • Arrange to meet up in parks with family and friends.
  • Make use of local dog walkers, who can provide group walks.

A love for animals led Jim and his wife, Jayne Furlong, to set up Petpals Wirral West in 2010. 

Wirral Globe: 10-year-old Westie Louis10-year-old Westie Louis

The business offers dog walking, puppy care visits and pet sitting services for animal owners.

He added: “A lot of our lovely customers have kept us going [over lockdown]. Even though they were working from home, they still wanted their dogs taken out.

“A lot of it is for socialisation, dogs enjoy going out and seeing their friends. A lot of our dogs have known each other for years.”