Socialising and Social Distancing

Written during the 2020/21 Covid-19 pandemic
By Sally Bradbury

If you have a new puppy, there is no need to worry unduly about how you are going to socialise him/her in the current situation.

Socialising is not just about playing with other dogs or meeting lots of people. Being sociable is about being able to walk politely past people and dogs. Now, with social distancing, we have the perfect opportunity to take puppy out without having to worry about puppy being frightened by a boisterous ‘he only wants to play’ dog. Nor by being overwhelmed by the attention he attracts from strangers and exuberant children. Or conversely, teaching him that every dog he sees is a playmate, and every person a new best friend.

Whether your puppy is a shy introvert or a confident extrovert, you can take puppy out in your arms, a sling, or in the car and find somewhere to sit and watch the world go by. Pup can eat treats and play with you.

Puppy can get used to traffic, seeing people, dogs, and farm animals, all from a safe distance. This can continue as he gets older and is walking on harness and lead or can go off lead or on a line for a run about. Try and visit as many different locations as you can during the first few weeks.

Socialising is about your puppy experiencing a variety of different settings, situations, and encounters. They do not need to be in the thick of it to do so, and often feel more comfortable watching from the side- lines. We might even find that the current generation of puppies grow up to be more well-rounded, as they were allowed to experience new things at a safe distance, and perhaps had fewer scary encounters.


NB: This was written at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.