I thought it would be helpful to share this video of Pumpkin doing FREEWORK.
We do freework in our puppy socialisation class.
Freework should be brought into your pups daily routine or be done at least 4 or 5 times a week.
The purpose of Freework is it can lower your puppy’s arousal level.
Puppies and dogs can get into a heightened state of arousal very quickly and it can take up to 72 hours for them to come back to a state of calm again.
This can be from:
- Exciting interactions with people, visitors can be the worst at getting dogs excited especially if they are dog people and squealy children.
- Experiences – seeing new things. Visiting new places
- Excessive play with other puppies or dogs. Play should be managed it’s essential it is balanced and controlled. Puppies should mirror each other. If you attend a socialisation class the pups should be matched by temperament. If they are allowed to play excessively they will get over-aroused.
If one of the pups is too boisterous and rude and the other is fearful this can be really damaging to both pups. It teaches the boisterous pup its fine to barge into other puppies or dogs. The fearful pup will continue to be fearful and it could shut down and lose the ability to learn.
Play should last for about 10 seconds at a time and it’s a great opportunity it to work on recall.
- Excessive play with owners – too much play can lead to over-arousal.
You will know when your puppy is in a heightened state of arousal:
- Excessive biting
- Destructive chewing
- Chewing at paws or their tail
- Not being able to settle, switch off and sleep
Set up an area like I’ve done below with Pumpkin. I’ve used snuffle mats and vet bed for the the areas to sniff and plastic and silicone items for her to lick the cream cheese from.
Place a few high value treats in the snuffle mats or towels you can even use small cardboard boxes.
Allow your pup to explore the items independently don’t tell them what to do just let them find the food. They will then be much calmer and rest.