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To Wait or Go Ahead?


Lizmo
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I know alot of people say you need to wait to socialize your pup till they are fully done with their shots, and others say the risks of NOT going ahead and socializing outway the risks of waiting.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Should you go ahead and socialize outside the home, or wait till they are done with puppy shots?

 

Jennifer

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the idea behind waiting for their shots to be finished is so that they don't catch something they're not yet immunized against from another dog. But if you can be around well-known and healthy dogs at the local dog park, I think the risk is minimal to non-existent. With Skye, we had the added benefit of having to wait because she contracted kennel cough from the pound (while she was there for less than a week!).

Others, I'm sure, may have a different take on it.

And yes, socializing from a young age is really important -- with dogs of all ages, types and sizes as well as humans.

A.

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In general terms - I'd say go ahead - but with some caution. There are lots of places you can carry a little pup around to, so they get lots of exposure, especially to people, noises and things. Check with your vet, but provided there hasn't been a recent outbreak of parvo or any of the other diseases, it's probably safe to take a chance and let your pup walk on clean areas. You can also arrange play dates with vaccinated pups and dogs, and go to puppy pre-school if there's a good one nearby.

 

Many of the puppy raising sites will explain, as you've heard, that many more dogs die young as a result of under-socialisation, than die from vaccine-preventable diseases from being taken out too young. (Be aware too, that if you were really, really paranoid about risks of communicable disease with the pup, you would be going through a full decontamination routine everytime you came back into the house from outisde - and having your visitors do that too. :rolleyes: - so it's a balancing act.)

 

That said, obviously keep an eye on your pup - whereas you might wait a day or two before taking an otherwise healthy adult dog with diarrhea and/or vomiting to the vet, I'm personally much more cautious about pups, who can dehydrate and go downhill scarily fast.

 

There is apparently a new parvo etc. vaccine out now, where the second shots are given at 10 weeks instead of 12 - a friend has just used it with her GSD pup, as she's very keen to get him out and about as early as possible.

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Since Abby came to me as a totally undersocialized and shy 9 month old, I decided to take the risk and start socializing Ryan outside of my house from the minute I got him at 8 weeks or so. I brought him to Abby's agility and flyball classes where I knew the dogs. We also started puppy class as soon as possible (I think it started when he was 10 weeks or so). He got carried as a tiny pup to busy streets, skateboard parks, playgrounds...everywhere really. I love Abby but I did not want to deal with issues stemming from undersocialization again!

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I was cautioned by my vet that the local dog parks were a bad idea. We got Daisy when she was 9 weeks with no shots, so I had to do both rounds. I was advised against the parks because she hadn't had any shots yet, so the risk was greater, she also told me that some areas of the city would be worse than others and that there were more un-vaccinated dogs in the city than I would care to know. I was in an unfortunate situation where no one I knew personally had any dogs at that time, so I now have a dog that has fear aggression towards other dogs. I can't say for sure if the situation would be different had I gone ahead and socialized her anyway since a couple down the street got a puppy not long after we got Daisy, and she was never really interested in him at all, and she's always been untrusting of strangers (despite the socialization to lots of people!) but that one she gets over quite quickly if said stranger has treats! I am also sure that the boxer that tried to have his way with her on her first trip to the park was quite traumatic...

 

ANYWAY, here the puppy classes say your dogs only have to have their first shots and you have to provide proof, so I would highly recommend puppy classes or play dates with dogs you know well. I would stay away from parks if they are anything like the ones we have here. The "inner city" ones are fine but the one we go to is further out, along a river with lots of wildlife.

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I didn't have any friends with dogs either and I couldn't bring him to the dog park before he got all his shots at 4 months, but he's met the occasional dog on a walk, and was immediatly interested in playing with them. Not spending lots of time with dogs before age of 4 months has in no way influenced him negatively. We started taking him to the dog park more and more later, and he's your typical BC - aloof when balls are involved, happy and jovial when there are no balls and he's meeting other dogs.

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Getting your shots is important IMO, and being careful where you walk your dog before you get all the shots. Mine picked up worms in the first week that we had him home and since the breeder was a relative I was able to call her and ask if any of his littermates had them, and they did not.

 

I am a BIG advocate of puppy classes. We noticed a HUGE difference in the learning once we started the classes. Everything from soft biting to relaxation to patience.

 

It has now really worked to our advantage, the crate free place that we take him once a week for a full day of fun often uses our Blaze as her dog to help puppies with shyness and under socialization because he is so patient with puppies.

 

He will lay down with his muzzle on both front paws and pretty much let then do whatever they want within reason.

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Thanks!

 

There are no dog parks around here, so no worry there. The place I was thinking of taking the pup before being finished with shots is the park (playground, baseball and softball fields, and the lake. It's all in one area). There aren't many dogs either.

 

So basically, I need to talk to my vet to make sure there hasn't been a recent outbreak of parvo or any of the other diseases before going ahead and taking the him places.

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Puppy class, puppy class, puppy class! If there's a good one near you, it's the best way to get socialization in around vacinnated, healthy dogs and various people and objects. If you don't have a puppy class nearby, buy the Ultimate Puppy Toolkit and work on things yourself in areas with vaccinated dogs and/or carry your pup places until he's done with his vaccines. :rolleyes:

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Puppy class is a great idea. I shied away from dog parks until my dog was vaccinated and a little older, for two reasons: 1) critters and bacteria in dog parks puddles and soil; and 2) dogs with unhealthy boundaries or aggression.

 

I'd choose a puppy's early friends carefully...puppy class, or friends with a backyard and well-behaved, healthy dogs, etc...which would arguably lower the risk to an un-vaccinated dog...and then socialize as much as possible.

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I wouldn't wait, either. Pretty much I ditto everything Jody said...you can carry him plenty of places, and take him to "safe" places where he can wander around, too. If you have friends/family with healthy dogs, by all means, take puppy there to interact and play. Also take the puppy everywhere you can, to meet lots and lots of different people (different races, sizes, ages) and to experience new places, smells, sights and sounds. The more you can expose him to at an earlier age, the better. And then, puppy class!

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Quick reply.

The PRIMARY reason for socializing is for dogs to be comfortable with all kinds of PEOPLE,PLACES,THINGS...

other dogs, not so much. Pups should learn dog skills from mama, littermates and WELL CHOSEN puppy tolerant and puppy savvy adults.

 

Not every dog needs to grow up going to dog parks... so much depends on the park.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that one can overwhelm pups too.

 

Just a few thoughts....

 

And YES get the pup out there... Undersocialization to people causes more problems than anything else.

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All of the vets we have ever had have always said "Go socialize NOW!" :rolleyes:

 

You should definitely take caution, not going where there are a bunch of stray dogs, or to a park right next to an animal shelter, etc. Stick with meeting dogs you know are healthy as much as possible (neighbors, friends, family dogs, etc). And like others have said, socializing isn't just about the dogs but really more about the places, people, and sounds. Focus on those, with a few dog meetings mixed in. Once the pup has shots you can go to a place like a dog park if you want and increase the dog-dog contact.

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The new vaccines available now mean puppy can have their last shot at 10 weeks and are ready to go unrestricted at 12 weeks. My pup is 9 weeks and we go to puppy classes at the local vets. I also take her to dog training classes 3 times a week and carry her around or pop her in her crate so she can watch the class.

 

I take her to town and carry her in my arms. People like to come up and pat her.

 

Where I live the risk of parvo is very high as unvaccinated dogs are common so I dare not put her on the ground. My friend lost her pup from parvo when she took her to the local park. Where my sister lives it is very low and she took her pups out with no problems.

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The brand name is Nobivac. It seems to be very new here in Oz - don't know if it's available in US. A lot of the vets here either haven't heard of it or haven't started using it. My friend who had her GSD pup vaxed with it had to phone around and go to a different vet. The info on the product info leaflet looks interesting. I'm going to talk to my vet about it before my guys get done again.

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Remember too, pups get their immunity to start with from mom... problem is, it is hard to determine exactly

when that immunity is lost and the pups' takes over. the best immunity is still gained thru careful exposure to the world...

 

One does whatever one feels comfortable with, but keep in mind that vax DO stress the system, especially in those

youngsters whose systems have not had time to completely develop. I 'm not saying 'Don't vax', but you may want

to keep in mind the number of shots and combo shots.

 

There is definitely a tendency to over vax in the US.

 

Just something to think about....

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The more recent vax requires 2 doses at 6 and 10 weeks rather than the older system of 3 shots at 6, 12 and 16 weeks.

 

The protection that the mothers immunity confers will negate the vaccinations benefits and as it is hard to tell when this immunity gained from mum is lost vaccinations were given up tp 16 weeks to make sure.

 

The more recent vaccinations have been shown to give protection to the majority of dogs by 10 weeks so the need for the third vaccination is not neccesary.

 

Puppies where I live die frequently from parvo if they are not vaccinated so there is no way I would risk not giving my puppy her puppy vaccinations.

 

I agree that adults are probably over vaccinated but I do believe in the puppy shots.

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