It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we first published our tips for raising new puppies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the pros and cons of growing your family by four furry feet during stay-at-home orders.
Today we’re revisiting our advice and also sharing new guidelines to ensure your new puppy is adequately socialized even in the age of social distancing.
Why Socializing Your New Puppy is Important
Socializing your puppy is about teaching them to be well-behaved and well-adjusted around other animals and humans. The overall goal is to help your puppy feel comfortable and confident in their new environment. The first three months of a puppy’s life are a critical time to work on socialization – during this time, their desire to be social outweighs their fear or caution about new things they haven’t experienced before.
Experts believe that well-socialized puppies become more behaved and relaxed dogs who are less likely to turn to aggressive behaviour during moments of fear.
Key Exposures to Introduce to Your New Puppy
There are many different methods of puppy socialization, but there are a few key exposures that experts recommend introducing to your pup in their early weeks. The good news is that most of these exposures can be introduced safely in and around your own home.
Take the time to introduce your puppy to a variety of surfaces (grass, leaves, concrete, sand, wood, and carpet to name a few) and sounds (vacuum cleaners, cars, hairdryers, radios, etc). You can even play recordings of other sounds for your pup that are a little harder to catch in the moment, such as thunder or other dogs barking.
Safety First: How to Socialize Your New Puppy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If it can be done safely, puppies should also be introduced to other animals and people during this time to help with socialization.
Experts have emphasized that dogs cannot transmit COVID-19 to humans. This means that you can be confident that playdates can be safely arranged as long as you follow all COVID-19 protocols. Choose to introduce your puppy to others that you trust and be sure to take all proper precautions to prevent COVID-19 during these events.
Keeping these socialization activities outdoors will help to lower related risks, especially when paired with good hand hygiene. Thankfully, there are lots of fun you can do with your pup outside safely, especially with the warmer weather just around the corner!
If you’re ever in doubt about safe socialization and outdoor activities like walks or puppy playdates during the COVID-19 pandemic, seek the advice of your veterinary professional.