Updated: Jul 22
Proper Puppy Socialization During Social Distancing
The Primary AND most important time for puppy socialization starts at 8-11 weeks old. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new things as possible. Poorly socialized dogs are more likely to react with fear or aggression to unfamiliar people, dogs, and experiences. Dogs who are relaxed about honking horns, cats, cyclists, veterinary examinations, crowds, and long stairwells are easier and safer to live with than dogs who find these situations threatening.
Why should you do this?
Dogs have the same five senses as us: smell, hearing, taste, touch, and sight. Their senses are heightened and have far more sensitivity than humans. Dogs' senses are utilized in different ways as well. The first three months are crucial in the development of the puppy brain. It grows into its scenes and becomes more and more aware of its surroundings. This is the optimal time when socialization can outweigh fear. This time frame for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences is easy to take advantage of. Improper or incomplete socialization during this time can lead to issues down the road or increase the risk of behavioral problems.
Social Distancing - Adaptable Training
We know that social distancing makes puppy socialization hard, but we are in this together. If we are creative and determined, we can still be successful with your puppy's development. You have the time to devote to them during COVID-19 and social distancing, you also have all sorts of resources at your disposal along with the following tips and tricks to help your puppy grow into a well-rounded and socialized dog.
Training is still available, you can contact us to do virtual training and on nice days we can all go outside and train in-person (minding our social distance)! But in the meantime follow the below steps to start the socialization in isolation training.
Top 5 tips for Socializing your Puppy while Social Distancing:
Sounds: play, and create new and different sounds. Play loud music, soft music, run the vacuum cleaner, your hairdryer, high pitch noises, and loud thunderous noises like rearranging the furniture.
Scent: allow your puppy to stop and smell the roses if you will. You can hide treats and toys for them to discover. Make it challenging so they have to explore new areas to get to the reward. If you are outside taking a walk, stay downwind from other dogs and people so that your puppy can take in new smells all while minding social distancing.
Surfaces: create fun obstacles and adventures for your puppy to experience. Hard surfaces, soft surfaces, loud surfaces, high surfaces, and low surfaces. Grass, sand, water, etc.
Sight: dogs use sight to learn many visual cues and to watch their surroundings. Play dress up and expose them to lots of different scenarios hats, canes, walkers, skateboards, scooters, bicycles, cars, other animals, and son. Have fun with this. But remember if your dog shows fear be ready with a treat or toy to help pull them through the new situation.
FUN: remember puppies want to play games and have fun, so make your socializations positive and provide lots of rewards.
Socializing Rescues/Older Dogs
All of the above information can also be done for new dogs that you welcome into your home that are above the age of 2. The biggest thing is helping them through fearful situations with positive experiences. Slowly introduce these dogs to new sights, sounds, and smells all while utilizing positivity. Positivity can be in the form of praise or treats. If you are unsure which method your dog responds the best to contact our Master Trainers for an assessment, they can evaluate your dog and help guide you through the steps need to socialize your dog.
Black Paw Canine
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