Q: I just got a new puppy, and now we’re in quarantine. How can we socialize her if we can’t go to puppy class or take her places?
A: With a little creativity, you can set up socialization situations that allow your pup to experience different sights, sounds and surfaces. Veterinarians and behavior specialists Wailani Sung and Lisa Radosta have the following suggestions:
Your puppy can see people — and other animals — on walks at a distance of at least 6 feet. Look for opportunities for her to see people wearing hats or uniforms.
Expose your puppy to the sounds of cars or buses going by and to the sight of objects such as fire hydrants and trash cans. Let her experience different footing, such as pavement, grass and metal grates.
Turn on the TV. Your puppy can see many types of animals and birds on Animal Planet and the National Geographic channel.
When you go out to buy pet food or to pick up groceries curbside, take your puppy along. A car ride is a good experience, and so is seeing delivery people put items into the car.
Ask dog-loving neighbors to carry treats with them so that if you and your pup see them on a walk, they can toss her some treats from a distance.
Your puppy may need veterinary care during this time, but veterinarians are practicing social distancing, too. You will need to stay in the parking lot while a vet tech takes your puppy inside for treatment. Ideally, the clinic will make the experience enjoyable for your pup.
Most important, make sure these are positive experiences. Your puppy should never be scared by exposure to new things.
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