Congratulations on your new puppy! There is nothing better than sweet puppy cuddles and kisses to melt your troubles away during this continuing unprecedented time.
COVID puppies are spending their entire days in close proximity with their loved ones with little to no contact with the outside world. As a result, they are very attached to their family members. The first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life are critical for their social development. During this stage we encourage owners to expose their puppy to new environments, meet many new people, and begin basic training. Our new social distancing measures have made this much more challenging.
When normal life will resume and we will begin spending more time away from our puppies, there is a risk that separation anxiety will develop due to our current social habits. Separation anxiety is a behavioral problem that occurs only when owners are separated from their pets. It can present itself as destructive behavior, vocalizations, and elimination in the house.
Here are a few tips below to help your puppy become a loving, confident puppy while maintaining social distancing.
- Re-create a visit at the veterinary office – Use treats when touching your puppy’s paws, ears and belly.
- Sit on the front lawn with your puppy – This will expose your puppy to the sights and sounds of the external world such as garbage trucks, cars, bicycles, and people walking by.
- Play dress up – Wear a hat, sunglasses, or a mask to familiarize your puppy with different appearances that people can have.
- Give your puppy some alone time – Have a comfortable bed or crate set up so your puppy can practice some independence comfortably.
- Let your puppy explore different areas of the house
- Go on car rides – The car can be a source of anxiety if puppies are exposed to it infrequently.
- Expose your puppy to different objects, textures, and sounds