CO-VID 19 How to socialize your dog during un-social times?
You and your dog get to spend a lot of quality time together lately. You are self distancing to keep your loved ones, medical fragile family members and neighbours safe. You are doing your best to “flatten the curve”. It would be great if, We all had access to a ventilator, if we need one, right?
You just got your puppy a few days ago. Perhaps you have not slept much because he is not used to being separated from his mom and siblings; housetraining is literally hit or miss.
Your puppy is not yet fully vaccinated to take him out and about. Wait, you are not able to take your dog on outings because you are socially distancing yourself due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Fact is, your puppy needs to be socialized to prevent behaviour issues down the road. From the day your new companion enters your house, till about 4 month of age. Getting him use to the world is very important. At about the end of 4 months, your window of opportunity will get smaller (Most research will tell you 12 weeks, which in my personal opinion will extend to 16 weeks).
What is socializing and how do you do it?
Socializing does not mean, to throw a party for your dog. I know you can’t wait to show your friend ....the time will come.
A good and easy way to “socialize“ your dog is:
-Walk him over 12 different surfaces. Wood, carpet, tile, grass, snow (hurry up...it will be gone soon), grates, a ladder on the floor, uneven surfaces etc
- Get him to retrieve and play with 12 different objects and textures (plastic, wood, metal, fuzzy toys etc).
-Let him eat in 12 different locations. (Kitchen, bedroom, crate, bath tub, car, front and back yard and so on).
-Expose your dog to 12 different noises, increase noise level slowly or keep getting closer by judging your dogs comfort level. Play some thunderstorm sounds, car honking, metal banging, motorcycle engine, vacuum....be creative.
-Introduce him to 12 objects, allow to investigate but not chase. (Bikes, skateboards, snow shovel) ( yes, I live in Canada), balls, garbage cans (the monster that comes out of the garage once a week, can be very scary at first). Look at all the wonderful things hiding in your garage that you knew you will put to good use one day. Today is the day.
-Get him to meet 12 people and puppies or “safe” dogs. Your leash should be 6-8 feet long or longer. While I personally do not allow my dogs to socialize on leash; leash means, I am working. The reason is, If you do not let your dog drag you to meet puppies and people at a young age, he will not do it later on in life. The CO-VID19 epidemic would be an exemption to my personal rule. Medical research at this point does not believe that dogs are carriers for the CO-VID 19 virus.
Have fun, be creative, a well socialized dog will make an awesome companion to you and your family.