Socializing the Puppy (Covid-19 Edition) This episode was published on April 9th, 2020 during the long term shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous socialization episode recommended a lot of socialization tactics that were not conducive to social distancing or shutdowns. So this episode will supplement that episode. Covid-19 is uncharted territory for dog owners. Covid-19 is causing puppy parents to miss that socialization window. What can we be doing different or at home to help with those issues:
What can people be doing at home during Covid to help work on socialization? Puppies aren’t being left alone. So they get used to seeing parents. It’s gonna be difficult for the dogs once the people go back to work...so…
Practice being away from the puppy for short periods of time using a treat in the crate, or practice crating them while you leave the room.Use a mat behavior with a stay to reinforce them for being calm while you are walking away, even if it’s only for a few seconds or a few steps.Start as early as possible, positive associations with crates and slow increments of alone time.Always reinforce alone time no matter how short or long it isGet or stay creative at home to introduce your puppy to new things, sights, sounds, surfaces, and experiences.Agility coursesBubble wrapAmazon box tunnelsSprinklersEtc etcUse YouTube to put on sounds like fireworks or thunder on a low volume and play with the dog. Slowly increase the volume each play session. And go slowly!
Once again, socialization is about quality and not quantity. So make sure you are making positive associations to things even if you cannot do it as frequently as you can. (See episode 3)
It’s important to think about what dogs are not doing that they normally would beKeep taking your dog on socially distanced walks in safe places.Help your dog get used to wearing gear and being on a leash.Take your dog to places that don’t have people and let them explore and take in the world.Take your dog on a car ride and build positive associations. Take other family members to treat calm behavior in the car while you go into the store.
Don’t forget to utilize enrichment exercises to keep your dog's mind working and learning. Make sure your puppy is going at his or her own pace. Let them make choices and reinforce the choices they are making.
If your dog gets reactive to people outside the window, practice treating your dog for being quiet while people go by. Visit whatsupdogpod.com for ways to interact with us, or visit us on Facebook, What’s Updog Podcast