Puppy Socialization Tips While Social Distancing

If you’ve just brought a puppy home, you may be stressing out about how to socialize them right now with our current social distancing requirements.

Watching people outside the grocery store.

The good news is your pup doesn’t need to meet hundreds of people and dogs to be well socialized. In fact, for some dogs meeting all of those dogs and people every time they go out can overwhelm them and also teach them bad habits like pulling on the leash, ignoring commands and getting over excited every time they see someone on the street.

So I put together a short video talking about how to go about making sure you socialize your puppy well without having to worry about getting into anyone’s space. Click here to see it. The comments below this video are where you will find the ideas I mention.

If you don’t have Facebook, click here to watch the video on Youtube. 

Some of those ideas I mentioned in the video are:

Take your puppy shopping with you to one of Greater Victoria’s many dog friendly stores. Bonus points if you push them in a shopping cart! (Pro Tip: Put their bed on the bottom for comfort.)
  • Play Youtube videos of kids playing at the park, thunderstorms, fireworks, traffic noise, construction, etc.
  • Dress your puppy up! You can use dog Halloween costumes or your kids or your own shorts and shirts
  • Dress yourself up. Wear crazy outfits, wigs, sunglasses, big hats, hoodies or a Halloween costume to get your pup used to unusual looking people.
  • Go for a walk at a shopping plaza or outside a grocery store. Exposure to people is an excellent way to socialize them that doesn’t involve touching or people in your personal space. 
  • If your pup hasn’t had their second set of vaccines yet, take them for a walk carrying them in your jacket with their head sticking out or pushing them in a kids stroller. This allows them to see and experience the world without risking illness.
  • Take them to Canadian Tire or other dog friendly stores to explore new sights, smells, objects and sounds. This will also provide exposure to people. Bonus points if you take your pup for a ride in a shopping cart!
  • Get them to walk over unusual surfaces and objects. We use a tire pile among other unusual objects at our Puppy SuperStart class. 
  • Put treats on the bottom of a cardboard box or kids wading pool, cover them with empty bottles or tetra packs and let your puppy root around the noisy containers for the food.

Feel free to share your puppy socialization ideas with us either by email or comment on one of our videos. We’re still available to help guide you by one-on-one video coaching so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help. 

Until next time,
Darcie Jennings
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