The COVID-19 outbreak has changed life for most Americans. People are being advised to stay home and limit exposure to others. Parks are closing and everyone is being told to stay six feet away while out in public. It’s not just people who are affected by social distancing; it affects our pets, too. So how are you supposed to socialize your puppy during a time of social distancing?
The first three months are crucial
There’s a narrow window of opportunity to properly socialize your puppy. The first three months of a puppy’s life are crucial for proper socialization.
This is where self-quarantine, isolation, and social distancing make things a little tricky. What started as 14 days of recommended isolation has become a 30 day recommendation to slow the spread, and that recommendation could be extended, as well.
One month of isolation takes up a big chunk of that three-month socialization period.
While socialization starts with the breeder, it’s important for the owner to continue that socialization. However, with parks closing, farmer’s markets being canceled, and everyone being told to stay home, it seems like you won’t have the option to get your new puppy accustomed to new people, places, and things.
You can still socialize your puppy while practicing social distancing
Socializing your puppy isn’t all about taking your puppy to loud, crowded places and meeting lots of other dogs or new people. The first three months of your puppy’s life shape how he or she responds to situations in the future.
This means that you must introduce your puppy to as many new things and new environments as you can (within your state’s recommendations for COVID-19, of course).
You want to make sure that your puppy feels happy and safe in these new settings. Positive experiences at a young age lead to positive experiences when your dog gets older.
Here are things that you can introduce your puppy to during a time of social distancing.
- Take your puppy on a car ride. Roll the windows down so he can enjoy all of the smells!
- Now is a great time to do some crate training. Make sure that your puppy views his crate as a safe, comfortable place.
- You and your dog still need exercise even during a quarantine. Practice social distancing (stay six feet away from others) and go for a walk around your neighborhood. This gives your puppy the chance to learn his surroundings and experience new things. Take different routes each day.
- Expose your puppy to different sounds. This includes anything that makes noise in your home like a dishwasher, phone, vacuum, fans, hairdryers, and your doorbell. Turn up the volume on different movies or shows so that your puppy can get used to voices or other people. You can even play recorded sounds of sirens, fireworks, thunder, and other dogs.
- Introduce your puppy to as many different textures as you possibly can. Think grass, concrete, gravel, water, dirt, sand, leaves, carpets, wood floors, laminate floors, etc.
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Socializing your puppy is about teaching him new things. Social distancing is inconvenient, but it’s important in slowing the spread of COVID-19. You can continue socializing your dog around other dogs and people once everything is back to normal.
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