How You Can Socialize Your Puppy During COVID-19

As a puppy parent, one of your most important responsibilities is to socialize your pet.  But with social distancing in place, how can you?

We have some great tips that will help you socialize your puppy during these trying times. 

  

Interacting with Other People

Teaching your puppy how to interact with other people is the most challenging aspect of socialization during COVID-19.  But with some creativity, it can still be done.First, provide your puppy with an outdoor view through one of your windows.  Whenever someone walks by, act cheerful about seeing that person.  Make sure your puppy notices your behavior.  This will show your pet that people are good and shouldn’t be feared.  And don’t hesitate to let others pet your puppy during your walks.  There is no reason to keep your pet six feet away from people.  Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH, says, “being outside is a great thing for people to doI would have no issue with someone petting my puppy if they’re also healthy and have no symptoms.” And the World Health Organization says, “there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to humans and spread COVID-19.”  That means you don’t have to worry about your puppy spreading the disease to others.  Even those who don’t pay attention to your puppy can still be used to develop positive associations.  You can do that by giving your puppy treats whenever you see another person walking towards you.  

Socializing with Other Dogs

Due to COVID-19, many puppy classes have been canceled and dog parks have been closed.  However, your puppy can still interact with other dogs.  For starters, give your puppy treats and praise whenever you see another dog on your walks.  This will teach your puppy that other animals are good, not bad.  You could also get together with a friend who owns a dog.  The two of you can maintain social distancing requirements while your pets interact with each other.   And if any of your neighbors own a dog, become acquainted with one of them. Invite that person and the dog over for a visit.  This will give your pooch an additional opportunity to socialize with another canine.    Just remember to keep initial interactions brief.  You can begin to increase the duration as your puppy learns how to properly socialize with other dogs. 

Additionally one of our Purrferred Partners, Techpawology owner Heather Fox, positive reinforcement dog trainer and behavioralist is hosting, training, and socializing dogs(as well as puppies) at Puppy Dreams Pet Boarding on Saturdays under her supervision. Message on Facebook: Puppy Drams Pet Boarding to book your spot and more information.

Familiarize Your Puppy with Different Situations

Socializing your pet is not just about interacting with other people and animals.  It also includes introducing your puppy to different situations.  This will help your pet feel comfortable in various settings.   Here are some examples.

Varied Surfaces

You never know what types of surfaces your dog might have to cross one day, which is why your puppy needs to get used to walking on grass, leaves, concrete, carpet, sand, and more.

All Sorts of Sounds

You might not flinch when a vacuum starts up or a car drives by, but your puppy probably isn’t used to those everyday sounds.  In fact, those noises can make your dog feel stressed and anxious.  Familiarize your pup with the normal sounds of life so that your dog can just relax.

New Experiences

We go through the day unfazed by experiences we are used to.  But your puppy isn’t used to those occurrences.  For example, if you drop something and it falls to the ground, it could startle your furry friend. Think about all the situations your puppy might face, then act them out.  This will give your pet the opportunity to get used to them.

Vet’s Office 

Prepare your pet for the veterinarian by pretending to visit the vet’s office.  You can use a washing machine or another surface as an examination table. Just be sure to place a non-skid mat on the surface you choose. Put your puppy on that mat and touch different parts of your pet’s body. Provide praise and treats when your puppy stands still and allows you to carry out this pretend examination.   

Car Rides

Start taking your puppy for short car rides.  You don’t have to go anywhere.  A quick drive around the block is a good starting point. Gradually lengthen the amount of time you spend on those rides as your puppy gets used to being in the car. Although it’s more difficult than it used to be, you can still socialize your puppy.  Once your puppy has been properly socialized, your pet will be prepared to navigate the world and enjoy the journey. 

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