DO take your puppy ____ and ______?  DON'T take your puppy _____ and _____?

(Photo credit doggyspace.com)

 

DO take your puppy ____ and ______

DON'T take your puppy _____ and _____

 

 

Let's talk about how you went about socializing your puppy. Do you feel it's important? How much is too much? What makes it difficult? What's easy? Do you hate it when people don't socialize their puppy?

 

Was your corgi puppy socialized? How do you feel it affected him/her as a dog?

What's proper etiquette when introducing your puppy to the world?

Tell us about it! :D

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I'll start... here's one tip: Do take your puppy to friends houses and make sure it's a pleasant experience. Don't take your pup to the dog park before he/she has had all their shots. 

 

They obviously don't have to be in this format. Just give me some tips on how you went about socializing your puppy. :) 

Well, I took my two with me to friend's homes where I knew that their dogs had all the shots and stuff since mine hadn't yet received all theirs, then on to social gatherings with more people and dogs.  Tried to make sure it was always fun for them (the one place that wasn't we didn't try again)....things worked out well.  Also had friends bring themselves and their dogs to my home so the pups could meet them on their 'own turf', too, because that's a whole different situation.

 

When my guys were pups I didn't take them too many places until they had most of their shots. After that we went to the weekly playgroup, outings to petco, puppy classes, my parent's house and their neighbor's, any kind of dog-friendly event, etc.

 

I wouldn't take a puppy to the dog park until they're around 6 months old. Sometimes I see people with these little tiny puppies and it just freaks me out. Besides the diseases that could be present that would really be harsh on a puppy, not all the dogs there have proper manners.

I would NOT take to dog parks or even pet stores till their shots are all done...not all owners  who bring their dogs in have their shots up to date.

I do take or have friends,parents etc. come over with dogs(shots up to date) and children as soon as possible and what Ellen already said.Be watchful so he doesn't get scared  from a child or dog chasing him. If he needs a time out cuz he's tired put him in his crate for a break. I will never forget when our one pup left and we met them at my daughters house....the pup freaked out(never had before)...well what we figured out was that she was SOOOOOO tired and needed a nap so be aware that he is a baby and needs his quiet time too. The pup slept for their 2-3 hour drive and was fine after that.

Get him used to traveling in a crate in the back seat of your car with the crate belted in.Depending on your weather(not too hot or cold) take them along to the gas station or grocery store and increase the time they wait in the car for you. All my dogs are very happy to be traveling where ever that leads us.

Once shots are done then puppy classes are great.

To add: When taking your puppy to the vet do not allow it to wander around the waiting room or the examination room. Remember, people also bring sick animals there!

Do clear with vet/breeder when they recommend taking pup out into the world.  Many recommend about a week or so after the 2nd set of shots.  Full shots are not done til around 16 weeks which is too old to start socializing.   Many sources say a safe compromise is to wait til 2nd puppy shots (for many pups, that's around 9 or 10 weeks) and then DO take them to "people parks", around the neighborhood, to family's house, etc.

 

Parvo can be tracked in on your shoes.  I don't mean to scare you because it does not happen often, but if your pup has a window where vaccinations have not yet held, you can be the safest person in the world, never take your puppy out of your back yard, and still end up with Parvo.   So what we want to do is balance the risk with the very real risk that an undersocialized dog might have behavior problems.   That's where the "after second set of shots" advice comes in.

 

No dog parks til pup gets hormones and starts to smell like a dog;  some dogs mistake puppies for prey animals. 

 

We tried to put Jack in the car every weekend and take him somewhere new.  We took him to my mom's, we took him to the other end of the big park by our house, we took him to another county park.  We'd find a spot, sit down on the grass and let him play, walk a very short way, and let people pet him.  I overcame my normal shyness with strangers and as soon as I'd see a smile, I'd say "Would you like to pet the puppy? We are socializing him and it would help!"   Most people comply.

 

We had him meet the neigbhors.  We had him meet friendly dogs on-leash, after first asking if the dogs were ok with PUPPIES (not just with other dogs).

 

Your puppy should try to meet a few dozen (minimum) new people and a few dozen friendly dogs before the age of 16 weeks.  They should also learn to walk on wood, grass, pavement, gravel, carpet, tile, and vinyl.  They should see people using umbrellas, and wearing coats, baseball caps.  They should meet (if possible) people of different races and ethnicities.  They should meet little kids with a clear warning to kids AND parents that the puppy is not yet trained and may nip.  They should get to see babies in strollers and elderly people with canes or walkers.  They should meet men with facial hair.  I know it sounds silly but each and every one of those things is something that I have heard a story of some dog who was terrified of (people in hats, men with beards, etc).

 

They should NOT be forced to interact with  strange dogs or people who frighten them til the fear period ends.  They should NOT be plopped down in a group of 3 or 4 strange dogs all at once or they might get overwhelmed.  If pup is hiding behind your legs and does not come out quickly, pick her up and remove her because she is overwhelmed.  Don't let her work it out because that fear can stick with her.  Stick with situations in which she is happy or relaxes after a very short time.


They should be out in the rain if possible, and in the dark, and in the sun.  They should walk through wet grass and puddles and over rocky ground.

 

If you want a swimmer you should try to get pup in water in a safe place where you can go in after her if she gets into trouble, preferably a spot with a gradual sandy or fine gravel bottom.

 

If you want to have cats, she should meet cats. 

 

She should learn to ride in the car;  her first car trip will be to leave her litter and her second will be to go to the vet, which is why it's important to have lots of SHORT car trips with puppies.  Put them in, ride them up the block, give them a treat and have them meet a friendly neighbor and take them home. 

 

It is also good to expose pups to crowds.  Depending on where you live and when you get pup, you might go to a little league game or a track meet or to the checkout line at Lowe's.  Anyplace where pup will have lots of legs around; some dogs who are ok with people panic in crowds so this is important.

 

The general idea is if you want your dog to be ok with something as an adult, make sure she gets to see it before 16 weeks.

 

Here's where talking to the vet is important:  If there is a high rate of Parvo in your area, you will need to do most of these things while carrying puppy.  For most people at most times this is not necessary, but in a Parvo outbreak it is.  You can be meeting "vaccinated dogs" at your friend's yard and a visiting animal or the dogs themselves could have tracked Parvo in on their feet.  If this is the case and there is a bad outbreak, then you need to find indoor areas for play groups where the floors are sanitized.  Again, this is rare but I was reading about somewhere this past summer that got that bad. 

 

Good luck!  Socializing is fun and spending those first two months working hard at it pays off when you have an adult dog who can go anywhere, meet anyone, tell at a glance if an approaching dog is friendly or not, tolerate kids screaming and crowds passing. 

I wanted to add one more thing:  the balance between socializing and vaccinating is a delicate one and if you ask ten well-informed people (breeders, vets, etc) you will get a variety of answers.  There is no 100% "correct" answer and well-meaning people can come to different conclusions.

 

In my case we live in a place where an under-socialized dog would be miserable (right by a busy busy park), and since my breeder and vet gave the same advice and I was worried about not socializing enough, we went out early.  Others in other situations may choose to be a bit more cautious.

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