Post-Pandemic Pet Socialization: Why It’s Crucial for Your Dog’s Mental Health

Not too long ago, everyone was finally able to leave their homes safely as we entered the post-pandemic era. As a human, you might not have realized the full emotional and physical impact of having to “social distance” yourself from the world until you literally came face-to-face with another human again. Reflecting back, you could probably remember how it may have felt a little awkward being in the company of other people for the first time again and mentally having to adjust to socializing. It’s human nature to first think of yourself, not realizing the impact that post-pandemic lack of socialization was having on your four-legged friend. They were there for you through the entire pandemic, keeping you company every day, not skipping a beat, until they too, had to re-enter the world. We now know how crucial it is for dogs to partake in post-pandemic socialization for their mental health and other reasons as well. 

Dog Socialization 

Socialization helps dogs adjust to new environments and interactions, reducing anxiety and stress. Separation anxiety is a big concern pet parents should be addressing, whether that’s by finding a pet sitter so your dogs can stick to their routine, or planning to book extra walks while you’re at work and socialization sessions while you’re at home or working from home. When looking for a dog walker or an in-home pet sitter, be sure they can accommodate your schedule AND your dog’s schedule. The whole point is to make sure they continue the routine they’re used to, which helps keep stress levels to a minimum. 

Preventing Behavioral Issues 

Socialization can also prevent or reduce behavioral issues like barking, chewing, or hyperactivity due to excess energy or boredom. While you were probably enough entertainment every day during the pandemic for your fur baby, now other sources will be needed. Having plenty of toys around to play with and items they are able to chew on for 30 minutes at a time can help your dog focus and also keep them mentally stimulated. 

Not having your dog’s attention constantly on you is very beneficial to your dog’s socialization process. Start with one new person, like introducing them to the new dog walker or pet sitter. Then, gradually introduce your dog to another new person, and then another. This process can even help with separation anxiety, as they have something else to do and someone else to focus their attention upon, and this can tie right into manners-and-obedience or Canine Good Citizen training!

Dog Body Language

This next tip for post-pandemic pet socialization is really essential to behavior and for your dog’s mental health. Whether it’s a re-introduction to obedience training or that your pup was born during the pandemic, it’s very important to expose your dog to various distractions and commands. Obedience training is just as important for your dog walker or sitter as it is with you, and also helps with your dog’s body language, as they must learn (or re-learn) what it’s like to be around other people and dogs. Make sure that your dog walker or pet sitter has a list of the commands you use and the desirable behaviors you’re working on with your pup and that they are reinforcing those on daily walks and during in-home sittings.

You and your pup have nurtured your relationship on a daily basis during the pandemic, so making sure you are mindful of your dog’s body language as you re-introduce your pup back into the presence of other people and dogs is crucial to socialization success. It’s important to make sure there is clear communication between you and the sitter or dog walker on what your furry friend has been learning, as well as routine, so you’re not going backward with any progress that’s been made. Your dog will begin to re-learn what it’s like being within a proper distance of other dogs. Don’t think that play date you had every Monday night is going to be the same as it was pre-pandemic—go slowly and maintain the routine. Gradual socialization helps dogs readjust to pre-pandemic routines, reducing stress and promoting a smoother transition. 


We have all had to make adjustments in this post-pandemic world whether it be learning a new job, or having a different living situation. You know how difficult it can be for humans to mentally re-adjust to their surroundings, so imagine what it’s like for your furry friend who doesn’t have control over their environment. Being sensitive to your dog’s needs and knowing the importance of your dog’s mental health is crucial for living in a post-pandemic environment. Socialization provides mental and physical stimulation, promoting overall well-being and happiness.

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