Socialization is critical during puppy hood in order for our pups to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. The critical socialization period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, during which time puppies are like little sponges, taking in what in the world around them is safe versus unsafe. It is absolutely essential that your puppy interact with new things, places, animals and people during this time in order for them to avoid developing fear issues (which can often lead to aggression) down the road.
With humans being forced to socially distance what does a responsible puppy owner do? Check out the tips below.
– Recruit friends, family and neighbors to help socialize your pup at the recommended distance. Using a standard leash the humans can remain 6 feet apart while your pup explores and interacts with the new human or dog
– Take your puppy to places you (and they) are allowed to go to watch the world go by at a distance. Try a pet store, set up a blanket or on a bench in the park in areas this is allowed (be sure to consult your vet on where you pup is with her shots before allowing her to sniff grassy areas other dogs frequent). Bring your pup a favorite chew and blanket so she associates new experiences with good things.
– Plan car rides to new places and hang out in the parking lot in your car so he can see a variety of new people, experience new noises etc.
– Introduce your puppy to novel objects at home. Think skateboards, balloons, loud noises (the vacuum, pots and pans clanking together, power tools), rolling suitcases, humans wearing hats, glasses and backpacks etc. Start with these items at a distance if your pup is wary and reward with meals, favorite treats and toys to create a positive association.
Remember to never force your puppy to interact with things she is wary of (this could make the problem worse). Instead be patient and keep it positive!
Struggling with socializing your puppy during these tough times? We can help! Bark to Basics offers drop in training where we can pick up your pup in a safe manner and take him out into the world. Contact us today for details!