As we enter week three of the Coronavirus lockdown, many of us are starting to feel the pressure and anxieties of the pandemic, especially those that own pets.
We’ve been advised to stay at home to help save lives and socially distance ourselves, however, for pet owners with puppies this is very difficult. Puppies need exposure from a young age to socialise with humans and other animals. Socialisation for puppies occurs between three to fourteen weeks and the risk of not socialising your puppy at the right time can lead to behaviour problems in their adult life, including fear and anxiety.
Socialising your puppy during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is and will be difficult. Puppy socialisation classes are cancelled for the foreseeable and veterinary practises up and down the country are only open for emergency cases.
Just to note if you are looking for a puppy for sale, then you must follow the strict guidelines from the government and delay any viewing of the puppy until it is safe to do so and the restrictions have been lifted.
If you have already bought a puppy for sale or adopted a puppy, then please read on to understand how to best socialise your puppy during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
How can I socialise my puppy during the coronavirus pandemic?
First and foremost, you must follow the Government guidelines to only leave the house once a day for your daily exercise and abide by the social distancing rules of keeping 2 meters apart from the general public.
Mypetzilla has provided a few tips below to help puppy owners socialise their puppies during the pandemic, whilst abiding by the latest government advice:
- You can still take your puppy outside once a day according to the latest government advice. This will have to be your only daily exercise for the day
- Keep your puppy on a lead and prevent them from interacting too close with other pets and people. You must keep your 2m distance and do not allow others to try to stroke your puppy or come too close to you
- If your puppy has not completed their vaccinations you must discuss this with your veterinary practise and follow their guidance
- Where safe to do so, walk your puppy past people but keep your puppy to 2m apart. This way your puppy becomes familiar with other people and other dogs.
- Keep calm when walking your puppy outside. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of fear and anxiety amongst us all, but this mustn't be passed onto our puppies
- Find a quiet space outside and play with your puppy with their favourite toy. Place your puppy on a long lead and encourage them to fetch in a small place of play
You can also socialise your puppy indoors, garden or outdoor space. If your outdoor space is shared amongst other households, the same rules apply, you must adhere to the government advice and keep your 2m distance. You can also use the space during quieter times of the day.
Walking your puppy on different surfaces, such as a wooden floor, crumpled up newspaper (getting them used to the crackling noise) grass and mud, will help build your puppy's confidence and become stronger and less fearful when going outside. Encourage your puppy to walk by rewarding them with lot’s of praise and healthy treats!
Play with your puppy and create new and exciting experiences for them, for example; create a small tunnel with cardboard boxes and encourage your dog to walk through and praise them when they do. Create some small steps, again, using cardboard and guide them to gently walk up and down, whilst rewarding them with their favourite treats.
Your puppy must get used to different sounds, especially when they’re eating and sleeping. This is very important as they grow into an adult dog and will make them less fearful and scared of different noises.
You can create different sounds by using your imagination and belongings around the house, a good example would be opening a window whilst your puppy is eating so they get used to the sounds from outside and don’t become distracted or scared when eating.
Lastly, you must adhere to the guidelines given by the government and NHS during this national crisis. You must protect yourself, loved ones and be careful around your pets; ensuring you wash your hands before and after touching your dog or cat. Please also remember, if you are looking for a pet for sale, then please do not visit the puppy until it is safe to do so and the government has lifted the restrictions.