Puppyhood is exciting! We can’t imagine life without our newest furry friends, and having them around brings so much joy! However, with that little ball of fluff also comes potty training, helping them learn what they can and can’t chew on, all those vaccine boosters, socializing them, and everything in between, all at the same time.
“But if they don’t have all of their vaccines yet, how are we supposed to socialize them?”
“How do we even begin to train them when the world around them is full of all these deadly diseases?”
These questions may seem intimidating, but that is why we are here to help! According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the prime period for socialization for puppies is between 8-14 weeks old. During this period, puppies usually let their desire to explore overpower their fear of the unknown - making this the perfect time to introduce them to the loud noises, people, and environments that they will need to be comfortable with in adulthood. However, total immunization to deadly diseases like Rabies, Leptospirosis, and Parvo does not occur until the puppy receives their final vaccination boosters - around 16 weeks. So how do we socialize our pups while ensuring they stay safe?
Allowing a puppy to experience the things we need them to without them actually coming in contact with highly-trafficked surfaces is the key to socialization. Carrying a puppy through areas like parks, construction stores, and at pet-friendly restaurants allows them to familiarize themselves with all the unique noises and interactions that come with them, but with a significantly lower risk of disease. Don’t want to worry about carrying a puppy around all day? Purchasing a wagon or dog stroller to sit them in will also achieve this same effect. As long as their pint-sized paws don’t touch anything outside the wagon, they are good to go!
“What about socializing puppies with other dogs?”
While socialization with other dogs and animals is important for a puppy’s development, we recommend waiting to start this until after the puppy has received their final vaccine boosters. A puppy’s immune system is extremely fragile up until it receives its final vaccines, which means their chance of contracting illnesses is significantly heightened. Further, even healthy, vaccinated adult dogs can still be carriers of deadly diseases - their immune systems have just been strengthened against them thanks to vaccinations. If a puppy is allowed to play with an adult dog that happens to have come in contact with a disease like Parvo, that adult dog could potentially spread it to the puppy even though the adult dog has not shown any symptoms. However, once a puppy receives their final vaccine boosters, their immune system has been strengthened enough to fight the diseases that other dogs may spread. After final vaccination is the perfect time to start socialization with other dogs, animals, and allowing the puppy to explore the world on their own four paws.
“Are there any places or activities we should be avoiding as new puppy owners?”
Yes. We recommend to avoid letting puppies walk around or play in highly-populated areas such as city sidewalks, dog parks, or anywhere with a high amount of unfamiliar dogs and animals. In addition to these areas, we also recommend to avoid letting puppies interact with unusual dogs on walks until they are fully vaccinated. If your puppy has already been sick or was born with a specific health risk, contact us for more information on how to socialize safely! We want to help your pup grow up healthy and strong - both physically and behaviorally!
Have questions about your puppy's socialization? Give us a call at any of our locations:
39th Avenue: (352) 332-2292
Newberry: (352) 472-7035
Main Street: (352) 372-5391
Springhill: (352) 373-7208
Holistic: (352) 332-9991