Before Vaccinations: Socializing Your Pup in the InterimWednesday, August 10th, 2016, 9:51 pm
There is such a small window of opportunity during which your puppy learns about what is safe and good in the world. If you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks, you have between 4 and 8 weeks to expose them to all the things you want them to be comfortable with as an adult dog.
A well-socialized puppy is optimistic about the world, assuming things are safe unless proven otherwise. A poorly-socialized puppy is fearful of many things and considers anything new to be suspect. So how are we supposed to socialize our puppies properly when they are not yet fully vaccinated?
Well, in its position statement on puppy socialization, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior says that “while puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, the combination of maternal immunity, primary vaccination, and appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death from a behavior problem.”
In other words, for a healthy puppy who has had its first puppy shots (which will probably have happened before you even brought him home) the benefits of early socialization starting at 8 weeks far outweigh the potential risks. Obviously, you should choose socialization opportunities carefully to minimize the risk of exposure and to make sure those experiences are positive, but get your puppy out and about.
Socializing your new puppy before vaccinations
Take walks and car rides. Visit shopping centers, parks, parking lots, and neighbors with healthy, well-behaved dogs. Take your puppy to pick the kids up from school, for a walk on the beach, or to enjoy a coffee on the Starbucks patio.
Basically, expose your puppy to as much as you can and definitely to all the things you will want him to enjoy and be confident about when he is an adult. Contact The Connected Canine of San Fernando Valley to see how can help your pup get over his or her fears and make them into the well-behaved dog you always knew he had the potential to be.
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