It’s important for puppies to have socialization, especially early on in their lives, to help them adjust to things, such as a new home, situations, places, surfaces and people. However, with Covid restrictions in place, it can be more difficult to get your puppy out and exposed.
What is the goal of socialization? We socialize puppies and dogs so that they are comfortable when exposed to new situations, environments and people. We want puppies to be willing to try new things or be around new things without fear. Socialization doesn’t mean that the puppy needs to play with 100’s of other dogs or be petted by a ton of new people. In fact, those things can create way more excitement than we want, when out with our puppies…and this leads to our puppy being more interested in other dogs or people than us, the owners.
So here are some suggestions for how to socialize your puppy:
- Take your puppy to a public park and walk him or her around. Get the puppy to walk or climb on new objects like big rocks, children’s playground equipment and different surfaces like grass, concrete and gravel. Use the puppy’s daily kibble to reward the effort. If the puppy is fearful, use the kibble to create a positive association with the “scary” object.
- Next, use some social distancing and take a pack walk with other owners and their dogs. Maintain your 6 foot distance, even for the dogs. This way, they have a positive experience around other dogs and people. They are around those other dogs and people, but are still engaged with you. And, we don’t build up extreme levels of excitement which can lead to issues of pulling and lunging on the leash.
- Take your puppy to the home improvement store where he or she can experience new sounds, sights and smells. Have the puppy climb onto the flat carts or bags of potting soil. Again, use your social distancing and have your puppy around other people but not petted by them. Having a dog who is used to being around other people, but not actually engaging with them creates a much calmer dog who is able to work with you, the owner, instead of pining for pets from a stranger.
The goal of socializing your puppy is to expose him or her to as many different surfaces, sounds, environments, people and dogs as possible. Fortunately, we don’t have to do “up close and personal” interactions to achieve success! We can make it work with our puppy and achieve good things even with Covid restrictions and social distancing.
Take Things A Step Further, With A Trainer
When it comes to getting your new puppy acclimated to its new home, it can be a bit stressful – especially if patience isn’t your thing (or your puppy’s). No worries! There are many socially distanced safe ways to work with a trainer – including online dog training. Contact our team online, or call (919) 307-1888 for your dog training needs today!