This pandemic has been tough for all of us. We’ve lost our usual routine of socializing with loved ones, going to the gym, getting a mani and pedi, and so on. Starting anything new or out in the public during COVID-19 has been a special challenge including acquiring and raising a puppy or rescue dog. 

Interestingly, many people are adopting pets during this stressful time, probably because we are at home more and have the time. It frees up the shelters and we get companionship, excitement and distraction. New puppies definitely bring unconditional love and fun into our lives, but they also require our time, commitment to their care, and proper socialization. Are you raising a puppy during the pandemic? Union Lake Pet Services can help!

Puppyhood 101

Raising a puppy is a lot of work at any time, let alone during social distancing. You must first start them off with the foundation of housetraining, the rules of the home, and basic commands. Most of the time, these skills require your dedicated attention paired with positive rewards training.

Positive rewards training relies on giving your puppy a treat and verbal praise when they do something great, like pottying in the right spot. You must also get your puppy used to spending time in their crate when you cannot give them complete attention, such as when you’re out or at night when everyone sleeps. 

Training a puppy requires attention and supervision (keep them with you at all times). Their training requires repetition, lots of rewards, and redirection or ignoring bad behavior. But while you are busy teaching your dog where to go potty and how to sit or stay on command, there is another important part of puppy training that must happen during this formidable age. That’s right, socialization!

Socializing Your Pet During Social Distancing

The first 3 months of your dog’s life are super important to their behavioral development. This is when they learn to bond to you, to other people, and to pets. Your puppy will need to be exposed to new experiences, so that they are more confident when being out and about with you throughout their life.

It can be a challenge to find ways to socialize your puppy during COVID-19, but it isn’t impossible. Here are a few suggestions to socialize your pup safely.

  • Have each member of the family play with the puppy, including gentle handling, from the time they are born or adopted. 
  • When safe, ask friends or loved ones to care for the puppy for a morning or evening.
  • Explore various surfaces with your pet, like walking on grass, sand, tile, concrete, and so on.
  • Play a variety of music, videos, and television shows that have pets barking or other common sounds. Open a window or screen door when there is the noise of construction, a police siren, kids playing, and other sounds from the environment. Or ring the door bell now and then. 
  • Once your puppy has had their vaccinations, take them to public places, such as a local park, so they can see kids, other dogs and animals, and people. Even from a distance, this can help them get used to these strangers and know they aren’t threatening or scary.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of snuggles. Affection and attention help the puppy develop a level of comfort in being handled, and it strengthens the bond you share.
  • Let us help socialize your puppy with puppy preschool, socialization training, puppy play nights, and daycare socialization. 

Raising a Puppy During the Pandemic

If you are in the throes of raising a puppy during the pandemic, you are not alone. Your friends at ULVH are here to support you along the way. If you would like recommendations on how to train or socialize your puppy, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us. Raising a puppy during the pandemic is not without its struggles, but by using our suggestions your puppy will be well on their way to a well-trained, well-behaved adult dog.