I'm planning to get a puppy at the end of April, but am a bit troubled by where I'm going to take the pup for socialization to people between 8 1/2 weeks when I get him, and 11 1/2 weeks when a puppy class starts and two vaccinations have been given.
Some vets seem to think the pup shouldn't go anywhere until it is 4+ months and has three vaccinations. Needless to say this does not seem like a reasonable protocol in terms of socialization, and I don't know people who will come to my house to visit with a dog. Yet I am quite paranoid about parvo risk, the vets around here say there are outbreaks in late summer, but not so much at other times of the year, this is a college town. People aren't good about picking up after their dogs in parks here. So there is not just actual contact with dogs to worry about but also what is on the ground and on shoes. Much of the campus has low dog traffic, so that is a possibility, but can't say zero dog traffic because there might be once in while, and still people's shoes... Outside of the campus there are a lot of dogs walked all over town.
Never had this problem before, lab one was a guide dog puppy so he went to indoor meetings and places where no strange dogs went until he was older. Lab two didn't get taken anywhere until 12 weeks, and that was a big mistake. Lab three was already 13 weeks old and socialized at the breeder's home with family and friends.
Right now the only thing I can think of doing is carrying the pup around in a pet sling to visit places for that period of time, assuming it weighs under 20lbs, but don't know if that will work with an energetic little puppy.
So forum members, where do you take your puppies?
Am I too worried, given that high-titer vaccines are now used?
It is not that long. Protect the animal you are taking into your family. It will become a family member. Encourage any friends you have to stop over at your place to play with the cute puppy. Maybe some of them will have a dog themselves. Go to their places. Stay on property that you or they control. Do not take the dog to Petco or Petsmart before the shots are complete. Youw ant to do the right things with socialization, but you are too anxious and thing about putting the poor thing at risk that can be avoided. Relative to you dog's health, and your vet. You are basically paying your vet to keep your dog healthy. You have to find one you trust and are willing to listen to.
Note: If your dog does get parvo, the dog will be segrated from any socialization for a lot longer than 4 months, will be very sick, and at risk of dying. Listen to your vet, he/she knows what they are talking about. (usually?)
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
I agree with Ed but realize there are lots of different opinions on this issue.
I think the optimal time to take them out and about is 12 weeks. There are so many other things you can be introducing him to at home and with friends.
I wish I had gotten Guthrie out and about at 12 weeks. I followed the instructions I was given not to have him around other dogs(unless they were my own) until the final shots were complete. Perhaps that would be OK if you have other dogs (which I didn't) and if you have a typical happy go lucky lab puppy(which I didn't). I was also told to keep them on the the property until after the final vaccination.
When I signed up for puppy socialziaton classes the trainer told me I was too late and they probably woudl not work. I still took him....we went for 16 weeks. But she was right... I had missed the critical period. I felt awful. I really let Guthrie down and I should have known better. Now I have to work out the problems that I helped create.
On the other extreme my friend just got a lab puppy and she is taking him everywhere. I was shocked when she had 9 week old puppy walking down the nature trails near our house and told her to check with the breeder because of the risk of parvo. The breeder told her she can take the puppy out and about just about anywhere...she said that the risk of Parvo is low.
So...I am curious to hear what people are saying now....as you mentioned the new vaccines are high titer.....I wonder if this makes a difference.
The breeder and the vet didnt mention anything about keeping alex just around the property or in a "safe" enviroment. So far he's been to the dog park one time, he goes on daily walks twice a day and he's been to petsmart and the vets office twice. Should I worry? I honestly didnt know. He's had 2 rounds of shots and his final shots are at the end of the month. now im worried.
Thanks for the replies so far.
Everything I have been reading says the puppy needs to meet plenty of strangers before 12 weeks. If I knew people that would come to my house I would certainly do that, but I have mostly kept to myself in this town and the pup will arrive here during the final exam weeks for everyone I know, they simply are not going to spend time visiting a puppy when exams are on top of them. Pet stores and the dog park are absolutely off limits, but I wondered what puppy owners do about other places, where perhaps dogs don't go but people's shoes do.
I socialized both of my boyz intensively from day one. They went (by car, or were carried) everywhere with me... to the post office, to the bank, into pet-friendly hotels etc. We went to puppy kindergarten starting at 9 weeks, and had friends and their dogs over and vice versa. I'm super paranoid, so I had friends take their shoes off on the front porch before coming inside.
Neither of them touched a sidewalk, dog park, public park or pet store (I still don't bring them into PetsMart with me) or any place an unvaccinated dog might have been until they were fully vaccinated. Neither of them touched the floor at the vet's office either until they were fully vaccinated.
You have to weigh the benefits of socialization and the risks of disease and just be smart about your decision. Don't put your pup at unnecessary risk, but don't make him live in a bubble either.
Organizing puppy play dates with older vaccinated dogs is something you could try. If you must take him out then I think if you carry him and not let him have any contact with the ground he would be fine. But even that I wouldn't attempt until about 10 or 11 weeks and then very infrequently until he is vaccinated.
~Sam, YM, 7 years old ~
For the first week at a minimum you should keep your pup home to get him adjusted to his new environment anyway. I kept my recent pup in the house for two weeks when I first got her. An 8 1/2 week old's attention span is so short he will be concentrating a lot on the new stuff around him. Get him adjusted to his new home and start with teaching him the rules of the house. After that I would take him most places and not worry too much about parvo. The only thing I would recommend is to stay away from dog parks, pet stores, etc where there might be a much higher risk of infected dogs. Then again, I don't live in a big city and there are a lot more strays with disease roaming around in a bigger city.