Like many people, you may have a adopted a new puppy recently!
Your sweet pup has probably been doing a fantastic job of keeping you company, but maybe you wonder about how to properly socialize her during a time when everyone is social distancing.
Dog training can be difficult – especially when you want to be a good pet parent and it seems like everyone has a thousand opinions! Take a deep breath and relax – the Barkery and Bath only wants to support you in making the best possible decisions for your furry little friend. Beyond tips and tricks, the key is to have a good relationship with your pet and to set clear expectations.
Socialize with Structure
The first key to your pup’s socialization – and training in general – is to set clear expectations.
Structure and socialization go hand in hand; it’s truly about clear expectations and confidence building.
One way to create structure is start with a schedule; your pup will need regular potty breaks even while being house-trained. Secondly, crate training during this time is crucial; to avoid developing separation anxiety, it’s good for pups to spend time alone in their crates knowing that they are perfectly safe and not forgotten. Start with smaller increments of time like a quick nap, or have them play with a chew toy in their crate while you do some housecleaning.
Another good activity for structure is having a daily walk – morning, afternoon, or evening, if your pup is up-to-date on his vaccines and shots, take him for a daily; this will also be a great segue into his socialization. Please be careful not to over-exercise your four-pawed companion.
Socialize with Fresh Air
Taking walks is a great way to socialize your puppy – the fresh air is good for you too! COVID-19 cannot be transmitted by dogs so your pup will be safe and healthy on walks; just be sure that you keep your distance from other people and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.
Play dates are another great way to socialize your furry little friend. Maybe you have a friend with a sweet dog and you can go on walks together. Use discretion which friends and dogs your pup meets first; avoid meeting aggressive or misbehaved dogs right away obviously – this includes territorial or possessive dogs. It’s always good to meet in a neutral environment first. It’s important to remember the goal of socialization.
Socialize with a Goal
Socialization is not a way to expose your pup to as many things as soon as possible; the goal of socialization is to stimulate your pup’s mind, to build their experiences, and to grow their confidence.
The best and simplest way to do this is to make sure that your pup encounters new things in an appropriate time and in a calm manner; remember, your dog takes her cues from you! Don’t over-react to any situation; be calm and firm and kind with your pup – and have patience, it’s all a bit overwhelming sometimes!
Here’s a quick list of everyday things your pup should be exposed to:
1. Surfaces: carpet and linoleum, wood floors, concrete, grass, and leaves – there are all kinds of flooring or outside surfaces and your pup should be confident on all of them!
2. Sounds: accustom your pup to hearing the vacuum and hairdryers run, the microwave, your phone ringing, even thunder. Any household noise is great but be sensitive to their sharp hearing; the intent is for them to feel comfortable, not scared.
3. Other dogs and people: this is where the daily walks and the puppy play dates can help a lot! Beyond the parks and walks, you should also consider a socially distancing café patio. Take a good book and a fun chew toy and teach your dog to relax in public while being safe.
It’s also a good idea to take rides in the car and to spend time looking out the window or playing in the backyard. Don’t overwhelm her with stressful situations or with too much at once, and treats are your best friend. Reassuring words and a treat can show your dog that the trash can is not a threat, that squirrels are perfectly normal, and that other dogs barking shouldn’t bother them. Always remember: your dog takes her cues from you; react calmly and patiently.
Barkery and Bath is here to support you in making the best possible choices for your new family member! Check out quick tips on caring for your puppy in his first year; don’t forget to peek at our online store to have those treats, toys, and training items shipped conveniently to your front door! For any questions at all, please drop by one of our locations or contact us today! We’d love nothing more than to see you and your pup safe, healthy, and happy!