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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure this question gets posted a hundred times a day, lol but...

I'm picking up my puppy next week, at about 8 weeks old. I know she should have all her vaccinations before going out to a park or meeting strange dogs and such.

However, I have a friend with a couple of chihuahuas and of course I trust that her dogs are all vaccinated... would it be safe to set up a play date with her dogs (before my girl gets all her shots)? Or should I just wait until she's more like 16-18 weeks and can meet everyone?
 

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Meeting other dogs is an important part of the socialization process but, far more important is introducing her to your world.....noise; new sights, riding in the car, meeting kids, people, vacumn cleaners, bicycles, teaching her how to cope with fears and building confidence. That's socialization.

But, to answer the question directly yes, meeting vaccinated dogs in your home or another house is safe. Note: IN the house...not out in their yard.
She can also meet other vaccinated puppies in puppy kindergarten...hopefully, you've already enrolled.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks!

No plans for puppy kindergarten, but maybe we can get into some classes in the future.
 

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Does your vet offer puppy socialization classes? They're usually designed specifically for people in your situation; it's a controlled environment with dogs pre-screened for communicable diseases.

The critical period for socialization in dogs is typically between weeks 8-16. That's when they 'imprint' friendly people, objects, noises, smells, etc. The problem is that most vaccination schedules run from weeks 8-12, which means that you lose out on half of the critical period before it's safe for the pup to really explore the world.

The other thing to remember is to keep control over each experience as much as possible. The other side of the critical period is that negative experiences imprint just as easily as positive ones; so if the pup gets attacked by another dog, you're going to have a devil of a time getting him to trust other dogs again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hm.. I'm not sure if my vet has anything like that, but I will ask when I take Aria in for her exam.

I'm not too terribly stressed about the whole thing as I raised Corona from a pup as well and she is very well socialized.. except with other dogs. So that's the one thing I want to try and do differently with Aria.. although I suppose being raised with Corona will help a little bit in that regard.

Thanks!
 

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I think that there is a lot of time lost in doggy socialization due to the vaccine schedules and fear of picking up viruses. Socializing with dogs that you know are puppy friendly and fully vaccinated is a great idea...socializing with only your own dog is not effective...dogs don't generalize well, so the more socializing with OTHERS the better. If your breeder keeps the mum uptodate on vaccines and the puppy shot schedule is kept up the risks of picking up parvo or distemper is SMALL and if you are careful not to take her to super dogbusy places (where dog feces is laying around) you CAN take her out into the world.

The risks of picking up diseases compared to the risks involved long term in an undersocialized dogs quality of life need to be weighed carefully. More and more veterinarians and behaviourists are leaning towards early extensive socialization instead of the "dont' go outside til 12 weeks" for this reason.

I spend a lot of time with puppies, passing them around to people, introducing to as many dogs as I can (ones I know), walking them on the sidewalks near traffic, garbage cans, construction crews, people of all shapes, sizes, descriptions, ones carrying bags or umbrellas, introducing stairs, doors, grass, carpet, tile, shiny floors, statues Etc.
Puppies meant to be used as service dogs are taken out and socialized starting as soon as they are weaned from their mothers (6-8 weeks).

I also recommend (and this is from personal experience) that you spend the first several months (up to about 5 months) walking your puppy separately from your adult as much as possible. Puppies need to be able to explore the world and experience the world on their own terms, not coloured by the older dogs experience. This helps teach independence and also helps to prevent GROUP reactive behaviour as adults.
My dog's reactivity was learned through her walking companions, not through her own experiences. It wasn't until I started being mentored by a trainer that I learned what had happened. Pain in the butt to deal with.
 

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Curious .... why not in the yard (assuming supervised) ?
The yard/soil can hold parasites and bacteria for years....even if the other dogs are healthy now (of course, they may never have been sick)....but, just to be on the safe side.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Cracker that's all very interesting! I live in downtown Toronto.. I suppose all of the concrete is basically safe, as long as I avoid parks/grassy areas with her?

Thanks for the tip about walking them as well!
 

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You are in Toronto? Me too. I'm in midtown/Rosedale.

And yes, the sidewalks are fine..just watch for "poobombs" and that she doesn't get underfoot..lol.

BTW..I also recommend not taking a new pup home from her littermates until PAST eight weeks..closer to ten weeks is better. You may want to discuss this with your breeder.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh cool! I'm right downtown, next to Allen Gardens.

I know I'm getting Aria a little early, but the breeders would let me know if they don't think she's ready. It's just kind of the way the timing worked out with my trip out west, and work etc etc.

I got Corona from these same breeders and honestly, I wouldn't want to buy from anyone else, they are really fantastic, and I trust them completely. :)
 
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