How to socialize your dog during a pandemic

Social distancing provides many challenges for everyone, including dogs. Family pets quickly become accustomed to their unique routines and environments, and social distancing makes it difficult to expose pets to new people, places, activities, and experiences.

Whether a dog is new to the family or a loyal friend, a puppy, or an adult dog, socializing is an important part of responsible dog ownership. Socialization helps dogs prepare for interactions with different types of people, places, and activities.

Dogs who haven’t been socialized properly may become aggressive, territorial, or skittish in situations that are outside their normal lifestyle.

Tips for Socializing Your Dog

Even though social distancing is still in place, socializing your pet is still a very important part of having a well-behaved, healthy, happy dog.

Regardless of current restrictions, the tips below are great ways to introduce your dog to new experiences and activities.

  1. Go for a walk.

    Walks provide great exposure to different noises, sounds, people, and other animals. For the most successful adventures outside, familiarize yourself with basic leash training principles. The outdoors provide great stimuli for dogs and plenty of opportunities to learn how your pet reacts to different interactions.

  2. Go for a car ride.

    Taking a few short car rides is a great way to familiarizing your dog with traveling. Make sure to keep the dog secure in the backseat of your car to avoid distractions while driving. Riding around is a great way to get you and your dog out of the house for a bit.

  3. Familiarize the dog with crates.

    Many people shy away from crates because they believe their dog feels caged or confined. On the contrary, dogs begin to recognize this space as their safe place. Begin crate training with a few minutes in the crate at a time and busy yourself with another activity. This will help them understand that the crate is their home and a safe one at that.

  4. Prepare for vet visits.

    If your dog hasn’t been around many people, a vet visit might be a little too much all at once. Make sure your dog is used to being handled, petted, and played with. Touch your dog’s paws, tails, and ears to get them ready for checkups, groomings, and nail trimmings.

  5. Maintain a routine.

    It’s harder than ever to maintain a routine, but keeping a similar schedule will help your dog know what to expect and when, especially as we transition back into our normal lives.

During training and socializing, it’s important to reward your dog with praises, pets, and treats to create a positive experience and encourage them to enjoy new experiences without fear or aggression.

If socialization isn’t going as you anticipated, or you suspect behavior issues, schedule a consultation with our office. Your dog could be an excellent candidate for one of our training or behavior modification programs.