If you own a young puppy, you’ve likely become concerned over recent months about how to socialise a puppy during COVID effectively. With the current lockdowns and social distancing rules in place, normal methods of socialisation are no longer safe for you or your precious pup.
However, thorough puppy socialisation is still possible – you just need to go about it in a slightly different way! In this article, we’re going to cover how you can socialise your puppy thoroughly while still following social distancing rules. Read on to find out how to socialise a puppy during COVID.
What is Puppy Socialisation and Why is it Important?
If you’re completely new to raising a puppy, you may not be aware of what socialisation is. However, it’s a very important process that should never be skipped, even in the midst of a pandemic!
Puppy socialisation refers to the process of getting your puppy used to living in society. This means letting them experience all the common sights, smells, and sounds of our way of life, helping them to form positive associations with these new experiences. This also includes gently exposing them to other people and dogs!
This lets them mature without developing fear or aggression towards any of the common aspects of society. If socialisation isn’t performed properly, you may run into some behavioural issues in the future.
Puppies are best socialised straight from when you receive them (which is commonly 8 weeks old) up until about 12 weeks old. In this period, they are eager and curious, willing to accept new experiences with ease. If you’ve missed this early socialisation window, you can still socialise your pup, but it will be more difficult. Read this guide to find out how!
How to Socialise a Puppy During COVID
While it may seem at first that there isn’t really a way to fully socialise your puppy with the current restrictions, it’s definitely possible to achieve that! You just need to be a little more careful.
Firstly, you want to be taking your puppy for as many walks as you can. You can check with the current lockdown rules to see how many times this is allowed and plan accordingly. When you’re on your walks, obey social distancing rules, but still allow your pet to experience all the sights and sounds of being outside. Carry some high-value treats with you and reward calm behaviour! It can also help to get your pup used to the sight of facemasks first, as you and everyone else should be wearing them while outside. You can find out how in our article here!
As for getting your puppy used to strangers and other dogs, you can do this from a safe distance. Let the person or dog be seen by your pup, then redirect their attention to your treats. If they remain calm and focused on the treat despite the other presence, give them a reward!
Socialisation doesn’t always have to take place outside too. Using a garden can be a great way to safely expose your pup to many of the sounds and smells of the outside world. You will also need your pet to get used to the usual household sounds. This can include the noise of the hoover, doorbell, and more.
You should also take the time at home to get your puppy used to being touched throughout their body and picked up and down. Reward your puppy when they accept this. This teaches them to accept handling via vets and groomers at an early age.
Puppy Socialisation: Keep at It!
By providing your puppy with proper socialisation during this time, you’ll be thanking yourself later! A well-socialised pup is a well-behaved pup, especially around strangers, vets, and even our own dog boarders!
We hope the tips above have helped you learn how to socialise a puppy during COVID. Above all else, remember to stay safe and never break social distancing rules! If your pooch is pulling to meet a stranger, take them somewhere quieter.
We at PetStay wish you and your pups a happy new year and we hope to see your puppy soon!