Did you adopt a puppy during the pandemic? Many animal-loving individuals decided to adopt a puppy or kitten last year. This was a wonderful thing for shelters and rescues, who for the first time experienced empty kennels. 

Because of social distancing, many puppies weren’t socialized in the usual ways. Normally they would be around a variety of people and pets, go to training classes, and visit dog parks or public places. This has left a lot of puppies and young dogs without the right tools to get along well with other people and pets. 

Some puppies may have trouble adapting to the larger world, or they may have developed problem behaviors due to being undersocialized. These dogs just need a little help with socialization and training. If your puppy isn’t socialized, the team at Union Lake Pet Services can help give you the tools and training to raise a well behaved, confident dog. Here’s how to socialize a pandemic puppy.

How to Socialize Your Pandemic Puppy

Ideally, your puppy will receive obedience training and socialization in the first few months of their development. This is the time when they are most receptive to learning. But if you were unable to socialize your puppy or young dog in those early weeks, you can still help them socialize now. Adult dogs don’t need as much socialization so this primarily applies for puppies and young dogs. 

Here are some simple steps to do just that!

1. Take them out for walks often – Walks are not only important for your dog’s health, they are also wonderful for exposing them to new situations. New sights, smells, sounds, and experiences acclimate your dog to the idea that the world is mostly safe. Observing how they do around strangers and other pets is a good gauge on how much work you have to do in the socialization department, too. Just be sure to grab the leash!

2. Invite friends with dogs over – This is another great way to get your pet used to others. If you have friends and family with socialized and vaccinated dogs, a doggie play date for a young dog is a good choice. Hosting in a place your puppy is familiar with, like the backyard or den, decreases their anxiety. Make sure to remove any treats or toys that might cause your dog to be possessive. Supervise the interaction and encourage playtime by throwing balls and Frisbees for them to catch.

3. Sign them up for group classes – Your friends at ULPS know how important it is to have a safe environment to train and socialize your best friend. This is why we have a number of services geared towards those pups who need extra help in knowing how to behave. Our professional trainers give your puppy the chance to be with other puppy pals while in a secure, supervised setting. This teaches them all the important skills for being out in public and in new situations. Call us for more information on how to get your dog enrolled (248-363-6262).

4. Slowly introduce them to the park – Parks, dogs parks, and other busy places give your dog a chance to experience the world around them while having fun. Bring along a favorite game, such as a ball to play fetch with, so they can be engaged in something enjoyable. Parks are also a great place to expose your pet to birds, squirrels, and other wildlife and teach them not to chase or bother wild animals.

5. Consider doggie daycare – Another option for the busy puppy parent is dog daycare. Their day will be filled with having a good time with other dogs their size as they enjoy one-on-one time with staff, too. Do your research as not all daycares have the option of one-on-one time with a trained staff member. This is a wonderful step up after your dog has completed their initial obedience training and is getting their social skills in check. 

When Your Puppy Isn’t Socialized… Call Us!

If your puppy isn’t socialized, is lacking in good behavior, or is afraid or anxious with strangers, please contact us. We can provide an initial assessment and make recommendations on the right training and socialization program for them. Our goal is to empower pet owners in how to socialize a pandemic puppy, and to prevent a dog from being surrendered to a shelter for behavior issues. We want to help your puppy have the best options for behavior modification and socialization. We look forward to working with your best friend.