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How to meet socialization goals despite the current restrictions

How to meet socialization goals despite the current restrictions

The current restrictions resulting from COVID-19 have many puppy owners looking for recommendations on how to socialize their puppies adequately these days. Good socialization sets puppies up to become confident, friendly, sociable adult dogs.
Luckily, there are many things a puppy owner can do to meet socialization goals despite the current restrictions.
All interactions should be positive for the puppy, and novel items introduced at the puppy’s pace. Overwhelming a puppy is counterproductive and can leave a puppy feeling fearful and anxious. Owners who familiarize themselves with dog body language can more easily read how their dog is feeling and, by understanding what their pup is communicating and responding appropriately, owners build up the very important “safety history” with their puppy.
Here are some ideas to socialize your pup and stay within our restrictions. If your puppy has not completed his vaccinations, check with your vet about what is safe for him to do.
Take your puppy for car rides and let him observe people and other dogs from the vehicle. Some businesses are offering curbside pick-up, so bring your pup along both for the ride, and so he can see new people. If you choose to enter stores and the business is dog-friendly, take your pup in. They do not need to have close interactions with people, but they can observe from the trolley/ cart at a distance while receiving some treats from you. In all these exercises, be sure you are happy and positive with the new people and situations and with your pup as they need to see you are comfortable with things.
Now is a great time to enlist the help of your friends and neighbours. Place your puppy in a pen where you can easily and closely supervise and keep them safe. Your front yard might be a good place to put the pen and ask the helpers to walk by your puppy. The helpers can push strollers, bikes, skateboards, walkers and other similar pieces of equipment, so your puppy is exposed to novel items. Do this over several sessions at a distance to avoid overwhelming the
Ask family members to dress up at home and expose the puppy to people wearing wigs, hats and different clothing at home.
Set up different surfaces for the puppy to comfortably walk on. Provide positive reward training for your pup, so he enjoys training sessions and learning in general.
Provide a variety of noises for the puppy to get used to – the vacuum, power tools, mowers etc. All can be frightening, so take advantage of the puppy’s natural ability to accept new things at an early age and slowly introduce and gently introduce the pup to these noises.
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