It’s no secret that during lockdown there has been a huge boom in dog adoptions. With the current state of isolation, it only makes sense that more people are craving a canine companion. These “pandemic puppies” have had the benefit of more time from their owners dedicated to training and socialization.
Socialization, however, is exactly the problem. Though we humans are being forced to social distance, so are our dogs. Puppies are at their most receptive to new stimuli until about 16 weeks of age, during which time they need to be exposed to lots of situations that they might encounter during their life to learn how to react properly. This exposure is important, since dogs (much like us) fear the unknown, and can become nervous or aggressive in unfamiliar circumstances.
As an owner of one such “pandemic puppy,” I’m worried for this generation of dogs. I have hope that with the additional time many have found that these puppies can be socialized, but I know that is not the majority case. I urge anyone raising a puppy in isolation to seek out opportunities to expose them to new experiences before it’s too late.