This week marks Week 3 with Teddy the Double Doodle and we're slowly getting the hang of life together. We love cuddling on the couch watching TV, playing keepaway in the backyard, and any toys that crinkle. The biggest focus has been on socializing so that he is comfortable with the world. After quite a bit of research and talking to friends, we tried out a few different ways that have worked great. If you're looking to socialize your dog in free/inexpensive ways that are easy on you, I've got you covered!
Sit in the Front Yard
Because Teddy can't quite go out to the park and roam free yet, we've been making do with the yard of the house. The backyard is for free play, and the front is for socializing. I put him in his harness/leash and we hang out in the front yard for 15-30 minutes. Neighbors walk by and we get used to the experience. Usually he growls at the first person (he's young), but by the end he will sit up and quietly observe as someone walks by. And when he goes inside he's tired from all the mental stimulation. Amazing socialization without leaving the house!
Go Out for Meals With Friends
Teddy has become my favourite little restaurant partner. With COVID most restaurants have outdoor dining (at least in my area) and a lot of places in Portland allow dogs on their patios. It's great to bring Teddy and have him observe the world while I eat my meal. This past weekend we went out for brunch and he was amazing with all the people who approached and asked to pet him. And because we were sat outside he experienced lots of road noises of the suburbs, further socializing him. I'm very excited for this summer when outdoor dining isn't chilly and we can eat a lot more meals al fresco.
Also, socializing your pup should be a group experience! You'll find lots of people enjoy having your dog along and want to help with the socialization. You can even give them treats to reward your dog for being well behaved.
Training Classes/Puppy Socials
We started puppy training classes last week and Teddy fell asleep in the middle, he was so mentally stimulated. Being around other dogs is what we normally think of for socializing, and I'm so proud of how calm he is around other dogs. You can find lots of affordable training classes and dog socials in your city. PetSmart does a monthly free social (at least in my area) and a quick Google search shows lots of other opportunities with other organizations.
Starting this with saying you should always 100% check before bringing your pup into any store. But generally at least pet stores allow animals inside. I brought Teddy into Petco so I could do a quick return and it absolutely wiped him, there was so much to look at. Between the smells, noises, and overall hubbub of retail environments, it's amazing enrichment. You can even just hang out in the parking lot for an equally interesting experience for your dog.