Got a new puppy right before quarantine? If you had an elaborate plan laid out to begin socialization training with your cute babe, but now that’s out the window, don’t get down.
Sure, social distancing is the exact opposite of socialization, but you CAN get creative at home too and still make it happen! Plus, we’ve all got the time now, right?
Sure, being stuck at home has its pros and cons, but for your new puppy the biggest pro is that she gets to spend quality time with her pawrent(s). That alone is a big socialization plus. Other than that, training doesn’t need to be crazy technical.
Instead, aim to do at least one different activity each day with the goal of giving your puppy a new experience (sounds, sights, interactions) to get used to.
Here are some ways you can do this:
You get the general idea, right?
Whether you play with your puppy in the yard or go for walks, plan accordingly to incorporate some form of socialization.
If the trash truck rumbles by in the morning, take your puppy outside at that time so she can get accustomed to seeing a large object with moving parts that makes strange noises.
Walk to a part of your neighborhood that gets a lot of car traffic for again, a chance to let her get used to movement and sound.
Even if you can’t meet people, you’ll probably pass them (from a safe distance) on the street. Whenever you do, praise your puppy loudly to let her know that meeting a stranger is a happy moment, not a scary one.
Turn your time at home into a game by acting out real life scenarios that she can get accustomed to.
For example, have a family member go outside and ring the doorbell. Then, answer the door and have the family member come inside and execute a formal greeting. This may sound kind of silly, but your puppy will learn that having visitors over is normal.
She will eventually learn to stay calm instead of erupting into a frenzy whenever the mailman shows up at the front door.
It’s crucial to let your puppy know that the experiences above are good- not something to fear.
After completing one of the activities or exposing your puppy to a new sight or sound, make sure to praise her. She will begin to accept strange new sounds, sights and people as normal, and proceed calmly.
That way, when life goes back to normal, she’ll be ready to head out to doggie daycare or the local dog park prepared to meet new friends with confidence!