To minimize the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, we’ve all found ourselves staying at home, possibly more than ever before. An interesting trend during quarantine is an uptick in animal adoptions and fosters. For many people, a new pet has soothed significant worries, boosted outlook and mood, and added to a sense of normalcy. 

While few could argue with the benefits of adoption at a time like this, socializing your dog while social distancing may be harder than you thought.

Get the Gear

With social distancing as the best practice right now, it’s a good thing that your dog’s leash is the standard of 6 feet long. This length will ensure that you and your dog remain the correct distance from any strangers, while maintaining the necessary control over your dog’s roaming. 

While some dog owners swear by them, retractable leashes are not advised for socializing your dog while social distancing.

Start Small

Puppies between the ages of 7-14 weeks are at a crucial stage of their development. They are open and mutable to positive experiences, and benefit from the positive introduction to as many sounds, sights, smells, and environments as possible. 

Without experiential opportunities during this impressionable period, dogs can grow into adults that lack confidence and trust.

Setting the Scene

Socializing your dog while social distancing sounds really hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Begin inside the home by turning on all your home’s appliances, such as the vacuum, coffee grinder, blender, hairdryer, lawn mower, and other loud or abrasively noise items. 

Stay calm and neutral. Give your dog assurances and high value treats so they begin to form positive associations.

Increase the Crazy

You can also try on all sorts of accessories like sunglasses, hats, winter clothing, and even Halloween costumes to reduce future apprehension. 

Invite your new dog to sniff throughout the house, giving them different textures to walk on. You might even encourage them to stand on unstable (but safe) surfaces, like a cookie sheet balanced on a ball. 

Venture Slowly

Once your dog is fully vaccinated at 16 weeks of age they can safely move about the world. However, socializing your dog while social distancing may limit what they can be exposed to. Of course, as stores and public places open up you can decide whether it’s safe for you and your pet to visit. We recommend following protocol for personal health and protection.

Porch Puppy

Socializing your dog while social distancing may be as simple and easy as sitting on your front stoop or driveway. Watch the world go by together and promote neutrality when it comes to trucks, busses, cars, bikes, pedestrians, squirrels, and kids. 

If possible, get your new dog accustomed to car rides, running alongside your bike, and more.

What Happens When…?

It’s important that your new dog meet as many people and pets as possible, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. You may not want them to approach strangers at this time. When it begins to feel safer, you can establish the right way to meet new friends. Remember, if you stay calm, your dog will try their best to follow suit.

Socializing Your Dog While Social Distancing

This may be a time of fear and doubt. If you have further questions about socializing your dog while social distancing, please let us know. The Pet Experts are always here for you.