5 Ways to *Safely* Socialize your Dog During the Pandemic
Socialization is such an essential part of your dog’s training. Introducing your dog to different smells, places, people, surfaces, and objects will help them feel more confident and happy! Especially through puppyhood and adolescence, socializing your dog will ensure they become a happy, friendly, and confident adult dog. Introducing your dog to new things isn’t enough; you want to make sure that all interactions are positive (that means keep the fun and treats handy!).
But how do you socialize your dog in the midst of a pandemic like COVID-19?
Here are my Top 5 Ways to *Safely* Socialize your DoG:
1. Daily Walks
Going for daily walks gives your dog a chance to see and meet other people and dogs (from a distance), building their confidence in their ability to make friends! Daily walks are also a great training opportunity to practice recall and distractions.
2.Take a Trip to the dog park
Dog parks provide both exercise and socialization for your pup. Giving them a chance to meet and play with other dogs, will help them feel confident and tired! And a tired dog is a good dog!
3. Visit some Dog-Friendly Places
There are many public places that welcome our furry friends, where they will be able to see a new environment, with new smells and people. Stores like Home Depot and Lowes are great places to practice training.
For puppies, visiting pet stores like PetSmart can be a great first step in socializing. The staff is prepared, friendly, and ready to meet your pup, and so are the other customers!
Local to San Antonio? Here are my favorite local places to take my Bichon Louie!
4. Start training
Dog training has many benefits, but the main benefit is that you’re able to create a bond with your dog. Training your pup boosts their confidence and enables you to manage and control them more easily (not to mention, training makes your dogs SUPER tired… and a tired dog = a good dog!)
Working from home is a great opportunity to introduce new objects, scents, touches and sounds to keep your pup happy and confident.
DIY Games and puzzles are a great way to cure boredom, and get their mental stimulation going! This is also a great way for you to bond with your pup.
Here’s a fun puzzle for you: Outward Hound – Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toys
Having your dog use their sniffer to problem-solve will help them gain confidence and independence. Hiding smelly treats around the house, in their bed, or getting a Snuffle mat are great ways to introduce new smells to your dog.
Slowly introducing grooming practices will help your pup become more comfortable with brushing and bathing, and help build your bond of trust. Touching your pet’s paws slowly (with treats and positive affirmations) will help them be more confident when it’s time to get groomed as well as daily brushing and combing.
Many dog owners know that loud sounds can be a trigger for your pup. Getting them familiar with sounds like fireworks or even the vacuum will help keep them calm when these instances happen.
Socializing your pup during this pandemic can be difficult, but not impossible! Help your furry friends feel more confident and happy, by giving them some safe socialization.