It is no secret that adoptions of new pets have sky rocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The excitement of getting a new puppy in your home is a great one, but there is something extremely important to consider when welcoming a new pet into your home during these times: how will you socialize them?
New puppies must be exposed to new things, including other dogs, people, places, etc., in order to build your pup’s confidence! How can this be achieved while social distancing from others? Here are some tips:
- Sit outside: Sitting outside with your pup and letting them watch as people, pets, cars, etc., go by is a great way to expose your new puppy to new things, while also staying a safe distance away.
- Explore your surroundings: Try to have your puppy experience new things every day. Taking them to different parts of your neighborhood, your yard, or just different surfaces throughout your home, will help to vary their routine.
- Car Rides: Like sitting outside, bringing your pup for a car ride will allow them to see different places and things, and experience something besides their home.
- Prepare them for when you are not home: The excitement of having a new puppy and wanting to be with them all the time is understandable, but new puppies need to be prepared for when you ultimately are not in the house. Keeping them away from you for a few hours a day will help prepare them so they do not develop separation anxiety in the future. Practice crate training while you work or do an errand.
- Social walk: if you have friends or family with a dog, ask them to go for a walk outside. Remember to wear a mask and distance yourself, but your new pup will get the chance to interact with another dog and human while learning to leash walk.
- Expose them to new restraints: touch their paws and flip them on their backs. These types of exercises will prepare them for their veterinary visits. If you can, attempt to trim their nails just one at a time. Lift their leg, hold their ear up, and remember to reward them after these new restraints.
- Think hard about getting a new pup: We know that getting a new dog during this time adds happiness and excitement to an otherwise boring routine, but before taking that step, make sure to think about whether you will be able to successfully socialize the pup, as well as handling the responsibility in the future.
If you have taken the step to get a new puppy recently, we hope you are enjoying your new friend, and taking the necessary steps to make sure they gain confidence as they grow!