Socialization and Vaccination Question
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  1. #1
    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Talking Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Oh look! Another question from the anxious, pictureless, puppy-mommy

    My 9-week old puppy has only had his first vaccination (and 2 dewormings), and I know that means he can't go to places with other dogs/where other dogs have been. However, I've been recieving some conflicting advice...

    First, I'm told that it's essential my puppy encounter new situations and people/dogs right now. However, I'm also told the above information about waiting until 1 week after the second vaccination before even going on real walks. I am currently bringing him out to only a small portion of our apartment building's yard, making sure he doesnt encounter any obvious "business," and then washing his paws when we come in.

    Someone advised me that it WOULD be ok to socialize my puppy right now with my mom's family dog which I am 100% sure has always been kept up to date on vaccinations (had him since puppydom).

    Advice on this? Would it be ok to bring my puppy to my mother's house right now? If not, how long should I wait?

    Thank you And I swear I'm trying to figure out how to put a picture up!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member osdbmom's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    I know its really confusing, isnt it? every puppy book tells you to "socialize, socialize, socialize" and in the next sentence "keep your puppy home until shots are done". I got my first puppy last fall and she was 11 weeks at the time. I was really nervous.....I didnt even let her near my sisters little dog, even though Im sure she gets her shots....I just didnt want to take any chances. What I did do is take her everywhere with me, and socialize her with lots of people and get her used to car rides, and take her to Petsmart with me, so she could see other dogs and people. Once her shots were done, I let her play with a few dogs I know for sure were vaccinated. But I think as long as you keep getting her out, letting her see and meet people and socializing her that way she will be ok. I just got a new puppy a little over a week ago, and Im just about as nervous as I was the first time, plus this puppy is a lot smaller, not even three lbs yet. But Im really just doing the same thing, letting her around people and out in the stores, but not down on the ground or with other dogs yet.
    I think your puppy will be fine if you keep him home to be safe for now, but just keep getting him around people for now. IMO.

    ps...congrats on the new addition. Its fun

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Now see, I was absolutely told not to bring the pup to places like Petsmart until vaccinations were done (unless I kept him in the cart or in my arms).
    It is confusing! At least he's getting socialized with our kitty That's...sorta like a dog LOL

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    It is safe to go to friends' places and socialise with dogs that you know are fully vaccinated and friendly. Puppy class is also excellent for socialising. It is however much more important to socialise with people than dogs. It's easy to live with a dog that doesn't like other dogs, not so easy to live with a dog that doesn't like people.

    You can take the dog to dogless friends' places to meet people, have everyone give the puppy a treat, ask him to sit, handle him (touch him all over) and generally just hang out. You can also take him to shopping centres and supermarkets where there is where low dog activity and just sit outside and let the puppy watch people go past. If people want to come over and pat him and give him a treat that is excellent. He should meet people of all ages, in wheelchairs, wearing helmets and sunglasses, with umbrellas etc etc.

    There is always going to be a very small risk of disease, the dog he meets could have been outside that day and met another dog that was carrying something, or the people he meets could have an unvaccinated dog at home etc. But you have to weigh up the small risk of getting sick against the risk of having a dog that is very poorly socialised and doesn't like people. For me, that was worth the risk. I didn't take him walking or to any areas where there would have been a lot of dogs, but I took him to puppy classes and friends' places right from the start.

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Most of the puppy classes around here require that your puppy be fully vaccinated first, but I definitely agree with you that people are the larger challenge. Fortunately, both my mom/stepdad/brother AND my dad/stepmom have dogs that they have owned since puppydom and have always been fully vaccinated...so I think I'll risk it and go visit each of their houses in the next couple of weeks. New people AND new doggies

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Keep in mind that the puppy should ideally meet about 100 new people over the next couple of months. Meeting people he knows over and over doesn't count as socialisation.

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    That will be no problem once he is cleared to go out. We have local dog parks, local dog meetups, obedience classes, the works
    Not to mention neighbors
    I'm just looking for a "safe" place to start right now since he can't go to parks/meetups/classes.
    He's met 7 new people in the last 2 days, so that's a start!

    That being said, maybe I will take him to petsmart and just put a towel down in the cart and keep him in there. I guess that's "safe"
    Last edited by lisak_87; 03-23-2011 at 07:51 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Senior Member sassafras's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Personally, my opinion is a bit against the grain of a lot of people here when it comes to socializing before the whole puppy vaccine series is done. My puppy is 17 weeks old, and I personally don't and haven't avoided taking him out and about. He's completed his puppy class, has started a beginner obedience class, and goes to a well-run puppy play group once a week. He comes to work with me 4 days a week and we walk regularly in the neighborhood. Occasionally I bring him to a small local pet store.

    He was a bit shy and nervous of new dogs, people, and some very ordinary things like passing cars when he first came home at 11 weeks, and all of these things we do have done him a world of good. He's now very confident and loves people and other dogs. Almost nothing phases him. He just had his final vaccine yesterday, and I shudder to think what kind of uphill battle I would have to socialize him if I were starting NOW instead of 6 weeks ago.

    But, a very very important thing to keep in mind that I live in an area where most dogs are vaccinated and with a VERY low incidence of diseases such as distemper and parvovirus. So I have the luxury of doing these things with a very minimal risk of disease (never zero of course). If these diseases were more of a problem I would have done and would do things very differently and it would be more of a challenge for sure. We all have to weigh the risks and benefits of the choices we make with our puppies based on where we live and what the environment is like.

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Hmmm. I definitely don't trust this area to be parvo-free or highly vaccinated. A lot of people around here seem to think vaccination is optional or unimportant. (At least if you look on the Craigslist classifieds that's what you get).

    But I definitely agree that sooner is better and that's why I'm asking. The puppy wasn't showing a ton of interest in people at first. Today was the first time he got really excited to see me. Yesterday when we were outside, we were approached by a mom and her little girl and the puppy seemed a little afraid. I want to confront that right now by exposing him to people so that it doesn't become an adult problem later on.

    I think I'll risk it and take him to petsmart tonight and just do the towel in the bottom of the basket thing He needs more toys anyway

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    Senior Member Labmom4's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    It really is complicated. When I got my first Lab, Rocky, 12 yrs ago, I was over the top paranoid. Not a single germ touched his body til he was 6 mths old.

    With the puppies I raise for Guide Dogs, we can't afford to lose out on that super important early learning time. Our pups go out in public from day one. They're not allowed in heavily dog-populated areas, pet stores, etc, til the shots are good, and dog parks are never allowed. Other than that, they go anywhere.
    In the 4yrs I've been involved in this, I've never heard of a puppy getting parvo or anything. It is a crapshoot though, it could happen.
    ~ Teri

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Labmom4 View Post
    They're not allowed in heavily dog-populated areas, pet stores, etc, til the shots are good, and dog parks are never allowed.
    So, in your opinion, would it be ok to take my puppy to a low-traffic petsmart with the stipulation that he will be in the cart (with a towel underneath him), never be on the ground, and will not be allowed near any other dogs in the store. Just to get him used to some people and new places?

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    Member ksymonds84's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Personally I would take him to Petsmart with the towel in the cart. I am more like Sassafras. Oreo is already in a puppy kindergarten class with vaccinated puppies, I take him to work with me and we go on walks (he is 3 months) around my business so he sees tons of people, dogs, loud motorcycles, buses etc. Everyone says he's the friendliest puppy they have ever met, he greets everyone with the wag of a tail. With other dogs, I just let him see them and not nose up or anything unless I know the owner (and I often do). We are in a low Parvo area as well, so keep that in mind.

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    Senior Member Labmom4's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Quote Originally Posted by lisak_87 View Post
    So, in your opinion, would it be ok to take my puppy to a low-traffic petsmart with the stipulation that he will be in the cart (with a towel underneath him), never be on the ground, and will not be allowed near any other dogs in the store. Just to get him used to some people and new places?
    Well, I'd hate to make that call with your dog, but if he's on a towel, it'd probably be ok. Have you called your vet and asked if there's been any parvo cases in your area? I always do that when I bring a new puppy home. Ask, just to make sure.
    ~ Teri

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    Senior Member Fuzzy Pants's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    A good way to start socializing a pup is to take them to PetSmart where they'll be exposed to both humans/dogs. Just hold them instead of putting them on the floor. My pup hasn't been exposed to people nearly as much as the training guides say but she seems to just naturally like people. She's a little apprehensive of other dogs because they are all bigger than her so I enrolled her in a puppy class which she started last Sunday. She was a little nervous at first but by the end of the class she decided she really wanted to play with a GS, the biggest pup in the class.

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Parvo (and distemper ?) is transmitted by an infected dog or by feces. If the pup does not come in contact with feces, then a vaccinated, adult dog should not be able to transmit the disease. Yes, an adult may carry feces from another dog ... but that is when you ask the Vet whether you're being prudent or paranoid.... varies by person and location :-)

    At the Humane Society, we used my dog as an adult for socializing puppies. I was paranoid that my well-traveled dog might infect a puppy. Based on normal cleanliness (I wash my dog every two months or less) and the fact that my Vet knows my dog and my habits, she assured me that my dog would not be a disease threat to the puppies in this area. ....

    That should help with the PetsMart issue, also...

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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Here is a link to the position statement of The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) on the matter. I found it VERY helpful when researching this exact question.
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonli...ialization.pdf

    In a nutshell, socialization is very important and its need outweighs the risks of doing so before vacinations are complete, especially if done in lower risk areas.

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Quote Originally Posted by taem View Post
    I'm not too worried about human socialization, but I'm at a loss as to how to handle pre-vacc dog socialization. I actually had a bunch of dogs growing up, but back then, experts were not saying all this stuff about early socialization; my pups played with the neighbors and their kids and dogs, and I made no special effort to socialize. But now I'm a grown man, and in this day and age, it's not like I can walk up to a neighbor's kid and ask him if he wants to play with my pup, I'd get arrested for being creepy.

    Anyway if I get a carrier, and my pup sits in there and watches other dogs, but doesn't get to interact with them, does that do any good? Is it enough to introduce puppy to adult dogs (all the dogs on my street that I know are vaccinated), or do I have to track down puppies? Someone here mentioned meeting 100 humans; roughly how many dog introductions would be a good # to shoot for? I want to do the absolute minimum I can here, to keep infection risk as low as possible.

    And speaking of infection risk, could someone talk a bit about the most common ways in which a pup might get infected? For example, if you go to a shopping mall that has moderate dog activity, could pup get infected simply by walking around sniffing at sidewalk? Or does he have to eat poop or something and as long as I keep the ground 100% clear I'm ok?

    Yes, it does do good for the puppy to get out and see new things, even if it's not interacting with people or dogs while out. It still gets used to seeing weird things (like people with umbrellas and in wheelchairs) and gets used to the noise of being around people.

    Another good idea I read about yesterday is to put sound files playing with everyday noises to get the puppy used to them, like cars, lawnmowers, kids shouting and playing, and just various everyday stuff.

  19. #18
    Senior Member cynster's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    I went through the same thing with Cosette - In the end I did end up taking her out very occasionally - but she was raised in a family with young children - and I socialized her with my family - the only thing was other dogs. She was not properly socialized with other dogs other than her mom and littermates, so it's like she's a brand new puppy at 7 months. We have to take things very slowly, and she is learning how to be a dog around other dogs. The only dogs I knew for sure that didn't have parvo were my parents' farmdogs, which are absolutely nuts (they are their own pack and live outside - they are good dogs, but not trained, just enjoying the large space and each other) - so I waited until very recently to introduce them (just in case she ever got out so they wouldn't kill her).

    If I were to do it again, I would probably do the same thing. We did not go to petsmart - honestly I think that is a bad place to go if your pet isn't immune. At least where I live, in the city where many many strangers visit that store - who knows where they got their dog or their health records...

    I would take the opportunity to properly socialize with people. Socialize with dogs if you can, but if not it's not the end of the world. Just take baby steps later. Always positive experiences, even when they are older The worst we have experienced is that chihuahuas scare the hell out of her because they are so fast and yippy around her - so the dog park has been occasional and we often walk along the fence-line to desensitize her. Still I'd rather that than her to have contracted parvo.

  20. #19
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Socialization and Vaccination Question

    Summary:
    1. Two types of socialization - first with 100 people, possible via puppy parties in your own house, 8 people per party. Include kids & men.
    2. Second type with lots of dogs and different places after the third set of Parvo/Distemper shots.

    People socialization reduces or eliminates people aggression. It does not stop the dog from being a burglar alarm, just reduces the chance that he'll bite, unexpected, due to fear. Imagine a dog that doesn't freak out when he sees a large man with a beard, or a dog that doesn't eat a child's face when the 'uncivilized' child runs up behind the dog and hugs it.

    Dog etc. socialization reduces dog aggression, fights, 'uncivilized behavior', chasing animals, extreme reactions in new environments or new sounds.... Imagine a dog that doesn't try to kill cats, doesn't pick fights with all dogs, walks away from aggressive dogs, doesn't freak out when you mow the yard or vacuum, maybe is calm during thunderstorms....

    I think the goal is to socialize with people before 12 weeks and with dogs before 16 weeks. These ages aren't critical, just easier.

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