My Oscar is 10 weeks old, and I have a couple questions regarding his health.

1. When is it safe to take him out to meet other dogs? I'm torn between worrying that he isn't getting any socialization with dogs and other animals, (we have no other pets, but he's done really well with all our human guests) and worrying about his health. He's had 2 of the 4 rounds of puppy shots, isn't due for round 3 for another couple weeks. Can I safely plan a puppy play-date with my neighbors' dogs?

2. Jumping. I know stairs/jumping off furniture, etc. is bad for his back, but he loves running and jumping around in the snow in the backyard. His exercise pen has a gate that's about 6 inches off the ground, and whenever we leave the gate open he jumps into and out of the pen. Should I prevent him from that kind of jumping, or am I just being paranoid?

Thanks for any and all advice! 

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Hi Elizabeth! Congrats on being a new mom! I am a first-time corgi mom myself and in terms of socialization...I highly recommend puppy classes! This is awesome for socialization & learning basic commands, all of the other puppies in the class will be roughly the same age and they do require proof of current vaccinations(Stumpy went to Petsmart)!

I don't know about play dates with your neighbor's dog - I would make sure they are UTD on all shots and super healthy. Introduce Oscar to as many things as possible during this time, it's important to get him socialized before he's 16wks old! Oh and my vet recommended to avoid letting pups wander or play in public grassy areas until they're done with the shots(your own backyard should be fine), if you walk him daily- keep him on concrete!

1. There is a trade off between socialization and the risk of disease. Definitely stay away from places with lots of dogs (like dog parks), but honestly parvo can remain in the ground for 7 years and your own backyard may have some risk associated with it. I would make calculated risks for socializing your pup. A well dog/people socialized dog has a much better quality of life. IMO. I think introduction and play dates with a limited number of UTD dog-friendly dogs is a great idea now. When you can get him to a puppy class. They are awesome for socializing and findings more ppl for play dates. After the 3rd round of shots, so ppl areas could help too, like downtown shopping district or university quad. Lots of ppl doing all sorts of things the pup needs exposure to.

2. I think you need a taller expen. It really won't due much good very soon.

Then pen itself is 24" high, and so far he is not able to get out of it. It's just the gate which is 6 inches off the ground (I have the "Top Paw" pen from PetSmart, if that helps.) I don't think I can realistically keep him from all jumping, especially since he loves romping in the snow, but I don't want him repeatedly jumping in and out of the gate to his pen if it's eventually going to give him back problems.

Such fun having a new pup in the house!  Remember to enjoy your sweet babies puppyhood.  We have whelped a litter of 4 and raised two family corgi's from puppy stage.  I know that it is verytempting to take your baby out, but from personal experience my husband and i have been very conservative in taking our pups out into areas where other dogs are. 

If you have a dog that is known to you, is health and well taken care of you might consider taking him around that dog when you have had another round of shots.  With a puppy that young I would be careful if exposing him to dogs that you do not know.  It is always a good idea to introduce dogs in a nuetral setting.  Do not take your puppy into another dogs domain at this point. 

 

Good luck with your baby he is adorable! 

Sign Oscar up for a puppy class you both can attend after his 12wk shots and choose a place where they ask you for shot records.  I personally would avoid PetsMart classes with such a young pup because he still does not have full immunity and so many people bring dogs in and out of PetsMart. They also have frequent adoption fares and the health status of the dogs and pups for adoption may be a question mark as well. PersMart can work well with an older pup ( 5-6 months and up is my own  comfort level ).

As far as neighbor's dogs, if you have a friend that comes over with a healthy, friendly, calm dog, I would not worry about it, but I would not make a point to look for it either.  At this young age your pup has so many new things to learn and adjust to in his home environment, he will not suffer from not being with other dogs.  Socialization to people is the biggie, housebreaking, learning to walk on leash, come when called, not mouthing, not to be destructive and on and on.  He is still a baby and also need his quiet time. 

I would talk to your vet about relative Parvo risk in your area. Parvo is in most places, but is a huge threat in some and a minor threat in others. In our case, two breeders and an experienced vet all told us we could safely take a pup out about 10 days after the second (ten-week)round of puppy shots. The same answer will not apply elsewhere.

I will also say it depends on what you want from your dog. I understand where Anna is coming from and she is very experienced. However, in my case we live right across the street from a very busy park frequented by TONS of dogs. I really prefer my dogs to be incredibly dog-savvy; it makes it so much easier when spaces can be a bit crowded and other dogs unpredictable.

One of mine we had from a pup. We socialized him like crazy, he learned how to properly greet other dogs on-leash (yes it can be done). More importantly, he learned how to read other dogs and he knows which ones to avoid, which ones to bounce right up to, which ones to approach submissively, etc.

My other one came as an adult she did have lots of experience with other dogs in controlled situations, but I don't think she met nearly the number of dogs that Jack did as a pup. She is not so bomb-proof with other dogs and we do need to manage greetings, and she will respond in kind if other dogs start barking and straining (Jack has learned to ignore such behavior).

Heavy early socialization with other dogs will give you a different dog than you will get if you don't heavily socialize with other dogs; I can almost always tell the difference in behavior between the dogs who came to the park as pups from those who did not (and I've known many of these dogs for years). The former are relaxed and like most dogs, the latter are a bit less predictable.
I would agree with Beth. Ppl socialization Is very important, but animal socialization is as well. I would agree with Anna that a place with lots of critters all at once may not be the place to start. A trusted neighbor dog with a leashed meet and greet at first is a good place to start. We worked hard to make sure our girls both corgis and boxers were socilized with dogs outside the family. It is partially important for your corgi because they r very territorial by nature. U want him to learn to interact and all the canine manners so that they do not become violently territorial... Looking at all other critters as a threat because they r unknown. Take care to stay in your little ones comfort zone. Some dogs r shyer than others and need a bit longer to warm up. Puppy classes may also be a good start. Ask your vet if here r any trustworthy groups/ classes in your area.

Thank you everyone for all the advice! I am looking into classes with a local group that trains therapy dogs. They do a basic puppy training course as well. I have a couple neighbors with puppies close to his age, so we'll probably try to arrange a "puppy play-date" or two so that he gets some interaction with his own species. I know there will be lots of time for the dog park when he's older and has all his shots.

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