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Socialization & Vaccinations?

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Ok, I'm not sure if this belongs here or on an other board, if so, please do move it. Thanks :rolleyes:!


So my first BC puppy is coming home in a week, after a very long wait, this seems terribly close. I've posted my intro a few weeks ago and some of you may know I'm only 17 years old, so this is my first puppy. I've owned dogs before, but all rescues, so the youngest I've had was 5 months old.


I was reading about the puppy vaccinations and from what I heard, the final shot is given by the time they're about 16 weeks old.

I also read about the socialization and how critical it is for a puppy to be desensatised to sooo many things, which I find extremely important as all my past dogs have been under socialized and have had problems because of that. From the whole vaccination point of view, the dog shouldn't be left in areas where it could catch parvo or distemper, which is pretty much every public area. The problem is, between 8 and 16 weeks of age is a very important socialization stage in the puppy's life.


I'll also be taking puppy classes with my girl, which will help but is it really enough?


What to do? Do I not let her out in public areas where dogs could of gone or do I just keep an eye on her?


As I've said before, this is my first puppy so I will get all the help I can get :D

Thanks for everything,


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I personally start taking them out to places like pet stores (when not a ton of folks are there), I play flyball so they go to tourneys at very young ages, etc... you can take a vaccinated dog out in public you just have to keep an eye on them. You can also ask the vets in the area if the have had any parvo/distemper, etc... outbreaks and if so, where. That way you know where not to go.


I believe getting the dogs out as much as possible is key.

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Where I help with puppy and family dog classes, pups must be 10 weeks of age and have had their second shots prior to class, so that is a good guideline for health precautions. However, as long as the pup has had its first shots and is kept off the ground or other surfaces where dogs and pups have been, you can socialize the pup with people. At our classes, pups younger than 10 weeks, who have had their first set of shots, may be present with prior permission, as long as they are kept off the floor and in people's laps or arms.


I would also venture to guess that, in a situation where all dogs/pups have had the relevant vaccinations, that there would not be a danger of the pup getting ill after at least its first shots - this would not be dissimilar to the pup being in the kennel, your house (if you have or have had other dogs/pups), etc. I may be wrong on this but I am sure some one will chime in with better information.


I think there is a zone that includes both common precautions and common sense.


As for socializing, don't forget to socialize at the vet office. Take your pup in when he/she is NOT going for an appointment, take some time to socialize with staff, be generous with pets and treats, check his/her weight, and give the pup the chance to get the idea that the vet office is not just for scary exams and needle pokes. BUT, do this carefully as (of course) the vet office is a location where sick animals have been and avoid contact with other animals, the floor, etc., while the pup is young and hasn't yet had at least the first two sets of shots.


You can also take your pup to places (like Lowe's) where you can put him/her in a cart on a mat and take a spin around the store. Lots of chance to socialize with people, hear and see new sounds and sights, and so on. If you go to pet stores (like PetsMart), don't put your very young pup in a cart or (especially) on the floor but hold him/her until those vaccinations have done their job.


Somewhere else on these forums, there has been a discussion concerning when maternal antibodies are strong and when maternal protection is replaced by vaccination protection, if I rememeber correctly. Try using the "search" function at the top of the page to find relevant threads. You may find that you have more freedom than you would think at this young age to socialize and be safe, if the pertinent vaccinations/health care have been given to the mother.


Best wishes!

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I use a reduced vaccination schedule for my pups. They get their first shot at around 8 weeks and the second at 12 weeks and then they're done for three years (I use Intervet's DAP, which has been approved for this vaccination schedule). They get a rabies vaccine sometime after 16 weeks.


As for socializing, you can always socialize at home or at the homes of friends where you know there is little or no risk of exposure to contagious disease. Pups can be socialized to people at places that don't normally see a lot of dogs and of course at the homes of friends. I would personally stay away from any place where a lot of dogs of unknown vaccination status congregate (dog parks, pet stores, vet's office--for the latter, if I take the pup in, it's not touching the floor). I will take pups to sheepdog trials after their first shot because I believe that working dogs in general are a pretty healthy population. That said, I'd also be careful where they went and probably wouldn't allow them to walk where other dogs are eliminating. Remember that even once your pup has had all its vaccines, there are no guarantees. Make sensible choices about where to take him/her--places with the least risk but with maximum exposure to socialization.


As Sue said, it really boils down to common sense.



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Congrats on your new puppy!


I'm not sure if I did things right or not, but I'll tell you what I did, it worked for me. I got my Jade when she was 8 weeks old, and she received vaccinations before I got her, when I got her, a couple weeks after I got her, and then some more after that. Be sure and worm your puppy when you get it. Anywho, I figure that if your puppy has had some vaccinations, it's ok to socialize them because you're right, socialization at that age is very very important- be sure and expose your pup to as many new things as you can. Puppy classes are great and should help quite a bit, but you should still try to expose the pup to more than just the class. Keep an eye on her when you're out and about and you should be fine

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I would also like to agree with Julie and Sue said. Keeping puppy away from places where vaccination is questionable and taking it every where else with you! Pretty much any store that does not sell food is a great place to start along with the homes of friends and family members and other dogs that you KNOW are up todate on their vaccinations.


Clearly you've done reading and get why socialization is important, so I am sure you'll make it work but I'll tell you our story anyway. :rolleyes: I had quite the situation when I got my dog, we got her at 9 weeks with no shots and a terrible case of car sickness. It was horrible to take this dog anywhere not to mention I live fairly close to a native reserve, where a lot of stray dogs have parvo, so it was really a nightmare. Now I have a dog that is reactive to people and other dogs, it took about 6 months for her to get over the car sickness part (I am a PRO at cleaning the interior of cars now!) and she is fine with all the people she knows since puppyhood, but we are still working with the reacitvity issues. Making progress of course, but it could have been a lot better if we hadn't have had both of those hurdles to jump!!


Good Luck!

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Socialization with people and socialization with other dogs are two different things. Hopefully your puppy has already gotten the basics of dog-dog socialization skills through rough-housing with littermates.


Socialization with people is what you need to worry about now, and you don't need to leave the house for that. Here are two excellent articles from Dog Star Daily that explain how to do it:





After the puppy's shots are finished, then it will be time to get back to work on socialization with dogs, which is best-done in a well-run puppy class. Here's an article about how and why to find a well-run puppy class:




These articles are all excerpted from Ian Dunbar's "After You Get Your Puppy", which I highly recommend for the new puppy owner.

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Now, I tend to agree with what most people have said in the sense that I think you should be careful where you take her and it's kind of a matter of common sense. As as been stated, the main places to be the most careful are:

1) Free dog parks where no restrictions or vaccination requirements are enforced

2) the vet's office; I would recommend calling ahead and asking if they've had any sick dogs come in recently or if you have someone to come with you leave her in the car with a friend while you go inside first and ask

3) OUTSIDE Pet Stores. Yes, I would be careful inside as well but generally the ground outside a pet store is a lot more risky than inside (because they usually clean the floors daily inside while pretty much never cleaning outside)

4) Your own neighborhood (possibly, depending on where you live); If you live somewhere where lots of people have dogs and people don't generally pick up after their dogs, etc then I'd be careful walking her around that area. I personally live in a college town, in an apartment complex where lots of people, college students especially, have dogs and originally I didn't know what to do in order to walk her but I basically just was careful not to let her get near/sniff another dog's feces and I haven't had a problem.


With all that being said, I personally believe that socializing your puppy is so important that it basically out-weighs the risk of them getting ill from it (I admit if my puppy had gotten sick from all the socialization I have been doing with her then I may have a different look on things but she didn't and now she's done with her main vaccinations so most of the major risks are over for me/her).



If you live in an area with a college campus then I would HIGHLY recommending bringing her on campus for socialization. I don't know about most campuses but at UF I don't normally see too many dogs around campus (so there's a lower chance of catching something from a dog) and campus is a great place to meet new people and get exposed to new sounds, etc. Also, anywhere where you can dine outside (dogs allowed) I would recommend (unless maybe you see dogs there all the time or something). Another great place would be a local park that allows dogs but isn't a 'dog park'. Do you play any sports? Maybe bring her to a soccer game or something of that sort. Also, just in terms of getting her used to the car - bring her through a drive-thru if you can.


Well, I had some more suggestions but I just went blank - so if I think of them I'll post them :rolleyes:



Oh, and I just noticed the post before. I agree - Ian Dunbar's "Before and After Getting Your Puppy" is highly recommended.

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Thanks for all the great replies everyone! It was greatly appreciated. I will have a look at the articles you posted, Alaska, once I get the time (final exam week, eek ._.) I have to agree with everyone here saying it's really just common sence. Thanks again for all the help <3

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