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Socialising puppy before vaccinations - lots of questions!
  • Now, I did do a search so please don't hate me if this has already been asked, I'm sure it has but I couldn't find quite what I want to know. The questions are varied and specific, again apologies if all this has been said before but I honestly sesrched and read lots for half an hour and I still don't feel I really know the answers to the following questions.

    So if a puppy isn't fully vaccinated until 12 weeks old, how do you socialise it? Can you only allow it to see dogs you know are vaccinated (I only know 1, my parents' cockerpoo)? Do puppy socialsation classes only happen from 12 weeks onwards? If I take Oki to a friends house, is he ok to "go" in their back garden where their dog would have relieved itself at some point? How do you start leash training if you can't let it outside until 12 weeks?

    And a few disease specific questions! How long can parvo persist in the environment? Can you bring parvo into the house unwittingly, even if you haven't stepped directly in infected poop? Can foxes carry parvo? How can I make my garden safe if they do?! Even if Ozzy (the parents cockerpoo) is up to date with his vaccines, can he not still carry something on him, bringing it back from a walk and potentially infect Oki? Or is that just the risk you have to take in order to socialise the puppy plenty from an early age?

    I am trying to figure out how to get Oki really well socialised whilst preventing parvo or any othe disease affecting him. How did you balance it?

    Thanks in advance for anyone willing to answer any / all of these questions!
  • My Husband and I had the same Question when we first got Kiba. We don't have any friend or relatives with dogs, so there weren't any "safe" dogs for him to meet. We are certainly not experts, and I'm not sure if others have answered this better in the past but here is what we found along the way.

    Some people will tell you not to take your dog anywhere that there might be other dogs... but we decided that the socialization especially for a Shiba outweighed some of that, so we take Kiba out for walks in public (maybe once a week), but we monitor where he walks closely, and we don't let him go to high dog traffic areas such as dog parks. If you don't trust walking him, or you can't get him to walk you could try carrying him so that he's not sniffing around but could meet or at least see some other dogs and people.

    We enrolled in a puppy kindergarten class, catered to puppies that are too young to be fully vaccinated.It was required that you prove your dog was in the process of getting shots to enroll, and took place at a puppy daycare/ school that required all dogs be vaccinated for parvo when old enough. I would say that this has offered less socialization than we hoped as the dogs don't interact too much. But I recommend it if you can find a class in your area.

    I can't answer your parvo questions, and I'm sure some people would say we're crazy for taking him in public because it's not worth the risk of the dog getting sick. But with Kiba being a singleton pup and with us having no other dogs for him to meet, we figured the benefits outweighed the risks. Just be consider carefully how many dogs go to an area, how likely they are to be vaccinated, and avoid places dog parks, pet stores.

    I hope my experience can help a little...
  • TengaiTengai
    Posts: 275
    Socialization of a pup, especially a Shiba pup is the most important and the best thing you can do for your dog! The answer to most of your questions is yes. He can play with friends dogs/pups, basically anyones dog who who know is up to date with vaccinations. Start from day one. The more people/dogs he meets the better. Use common sence. Take him out but like what was said above avoid dog parks, stray dogs area that have dog stuff on the ground. Get Before and after getting your dog, by Ian Dunbar Great book can download for free. He basically says more harm isolating a pup for the first 12-16 weeks of life than exposing him to the world and possibly exposing to parvo. Many if not most pups have enough protection with only the first vaccine.
    puppy classes absolutlely yes. They are all in the same situation as you. Up to date for age for vaccination is what they require.
    Don't recall the life of parvo virus in the envirionment, but yes it can be brought home on shoes, or into your yard by a fox. Also realize vaccines are not 100% either. A fellow list member went through parvo on a fully vaccinated dog a while back.
  • ArcticArctic
    Posts: 513
    I came here to say what @Tengai did. Dr. Ian Dunbar is fond of reminding everyone that many more dogs are euthanized due to behavioral problems, many of them stemming from lack of socialization, than from parvo or anything else. I think the benefits of socialization far outweigh the reduced risk of disease in the first weeks. Obviously, be smart about it: avoid dog parks and places like that with large amount of dogs, but otherwise, I'd take that puppy everywhere you possibly can and have him/her meet everyone and every dog s/he possibly can.
  • Yup socialize your puppy! :) Tira actually came to us well socialized since we got her at 4 months of age. Her breeder was allowing her and her sisters to run around outside before getting all the vaccinations and socialize with her other dogs. However on the down side, Tira had kennel cough when we got her and was in the process of recovering from it. It was really no big deal for us, but just a heads up that your puppy might definitely might catch things!
    Post edited by sophiahan8 at 2013-11-01 16:14:47
  • HirokiHiroki
    Posts: 89
    When we got Hiroki we carried him around... EVERYWHERE! Constantly... Like, who knew dogs could go into KFC?! I didn't, but generally it was worth a try! Worst case scenario we were politely told dogs weren't allowed in, but most people are so smitten by a cute puppy that we rarely got sent out of anywhere! Meant he met lots of different people, lots of them touching and stroking him a lot of the time, now he's a right little attention seeker! (Get me acting like I don't still try to take him everywhere all the time!)

    We didn't put him down anywhere though, I'm a worrier and we had a number of other dogs in the extended family that we knew we were safe exposing him to. But we carried him places where he saw and could smell a range of other dogs, and let them come over so he could give them a sniff! Anyway, long story short (well, short-ish!) although he's still a puppy (coming up 6 months) we are always getting comments about how friendly and how calm he is, so I'm hoping what we did was adequate for him!

    Also, he loved puppy classes: essentially an hour long play session each week, he had the time of his life!
  • Talk to your vet.
    Your vet will know if there is a Parvo outbreak in your area. We had a Parvo outbreak in my area last June-August. Horrible stuff, many dogs died.
    If Parvo is uncommon in your area then the above socialization makes sense. But if you are in the middle of an outbreak then keeping your pup alive and healthy is the most important thing.
    Parvo can persist in the environment for up to a year. Your vet can tell you ways to combat and prevent Parvo.
  • Thanks guys, this has been really helpful. Pretty much what my instincts were telling me? Good tip to ask the vet about parvo in the area.

    He will have plenty of people socialisation; big family Christmas at the in-laws, then smaller do the next day at my parents, we're hosting a low key New Years gathering of a few family so he will get lots of people to experience the first month we get him! He will have over a well week with us to settle in before the first big day.

    Hmm...just had a thought, my mum knows someone with a young dacshund, I'll ask her to invite her friend and all our dogs can meet. Definitely want Oki to experience as many new things as possible and I'm desperate for him to be friends with Ozzy, my parents dog! Though I am a little apprehensive as they're both male and Ozzy is only small, Oki will be a little larger than him when fully grown.

    Anyway, I'm rambling! Thanks everyone :)
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
    I can't really add anything to what has already been said. Lots of great advice! So will add a link to a good article by one of my fav's, Pat Miller, on socialization.

    Just remember that your puppy is in his most critical period. Being overly cautious may do more harm than good.
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @Hiroki uhh... Dogs aren't allowed in KFC. It violates health codes. Only exception is service dogs.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
    @Bootz...maybe they need to make up for this....!!

    But yes, I'd avoid bringing puppy into restaurants.
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I took Kira to any event/festival that I could find where people congregate so she would be properly socialized. My goal was to take her somewhere different every week. Sometimes, it was a simple visit to my boyfriend's work (office environment) and other times it was a local farmers market, puppy playdate with a good friend's VERY WELL-BEHAVED and vaccinated dog. Some days I would just take her with me on errands that would allow me to carry her in the area - no food facilities, of course. FedEx office, Home Depot, friend's house, etc. This time of year, outdoor festivals and activities are popular that are dog friendly without having an over-abundance of dogs.

    I struggled with your issue too, but I followed our local city's main event website and made a huge effort to expose Kira to as much stimulation as possible.

    Good luck!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • Oh I completely agree. I'll be socialising Oki as often as possible and exposing him to as many new things as possible. I knowcthat sounded quite overprotective, abd I don't mean it to be. I guess I was searching for every single "what if" to get a full understanding of the risks. It's actually quite good that we're getting him near Christmas (just happens to be a good time for us, nothing to do with puppies as presents which if course I disagree with!), gives lots of socialising opportunities. I'll hold off on the walks in the park until 12 weeks, though I'm not sure how long walkies can be and at what ages etc...that's another search for another day :)
  • Just be careful, not to tire your puppy out over the holidays. Socialization is great but make sure e has plenty of time to calm down and chill too.
  • HirokiHiroki
    Posts: 89
    @bootz yeah, I thought that would be the case too but they were pretty pleased to see him and welcomed him in pretty excitedly, and whilst in there I had a long chat with a woman in the queue about how she "always" brings her dog in there! Weird... Maybe that branch has decided it's ok if they're being carried, who knows?! Point is, lots of places don't mind if you take a puppy along if its being carried! Also, don't know about where original poster lives but near us there's loads of dog friendly pubs and restaurants which we found good for getting him used to lots of different situations early on.
  • Yes there will be lots of chanes for restful days too over Christmas. Probably looking at 1/3 of yhr 2 week period full of activity and socialisation opportunities and the rest of the time will be getting him used to a routine and begin training him to get along with / respect the cats and ignore the rabbits! (Rabbits have their own closed off room. No danger of unwanted interactions!)

    I'm looking forward to finding some dog friendly pubs near us! Always wanted to while away a few hours in a pub with a dog :)
  • reibanshireibanshi
    Posts: 24
    Bumping this thread-
    Rei doesn't have her shots but I want to try and socialize her- she's hesitant with dogs her size and other shibas and downright fearful of big dogs. She is AMAZING with humans and is so good, it breaks my heart that she is so shy/scared with other dogs. She won't have all her shots until mid August- any suggestions?
  • BragiBragi
    Posts: 33
    @reibanshi You could set up a puppy play date with a dog who has all their shots and an owner than you know that is also well behaved. There are some doggy daycare and dog classes that only require the first set of vaccinations for puppies to enjoy a play session with only other puppies. Just have to keep trying to socialize her and try to make all the experiences positive. I've also seen some people take their puppies and hold them in their arms or in a carrier and carry them around dogs or just on a walk. Good luck!!!
    Posts: 412
    @reibanshi to piggyback off of Bragi, I have been doing exactly what Bragi has suggested so far. I have a couple of friends with vaccinated dogs and so they have all played together. In addition, I carry my puppy in a sling to different activities where she has met lots of people at a variety of ages. Lastly, a recommended training school in my area has "puppy kindergarten" for pups 2-3 months, which means at the same vaccination level, and so i have signed up for that for socialization with dogs her age.
  • Reviving this thread for a little bit of advice.

    My puppy (Yuka) is 8 weeks old, and has had her second shot. The lady we got her from advised, or rather, was very vocal in the fact that Yuka shouldn't be let out of her expen until she's 4-5 months, as she hasn't had all her shots and might fall sick, and also because I have another 2 year 5 months old pug (Callie) at home who roams around freely. She said to introduce Yuka to Callie through her expen/gate, with a barrier between them. Yuka's due for her third vaccination at the end of the month. I know there is some truth in what the lady said, but I'm not for it because I want Yuka to socialise from a very young age.

    I'm well against not letting Yuka out at home because I made this mistake when we first got Callie, which resulted in her being a not very socialised dog that, till now, does not like humans touching her except us, and is cautious/at times angry about other dogs sniffing her butt or coming face to face with her. We're working on it, though, with Callie going to daycare about once or twice a week.

    I wanted to know if it's okay that Yuka was playing (or stumbling on puppy legs, in her case) with Callie for a period of time? I had them meet in neutral territory (not on grass or anywhere near a high dog traffic area) for their first introduction without any barrier between them, so there was some sniffing and stumbling. Callie hasn't had her yearly vaccination yet; she's going to get it today, but yesterday, they met, sniffed, played around three times for say, 15 minutes or so each time? Callie is healthy and well and we gave her a shower before Yuka came home.

    We have signed both Yuka and Callie up for classes, with Yuka's class beginning in mid August (she'll be around 17 weeks by then) :)
  • MishiMishi
    Posts: 8
    I've got an 8 week puppy also, and I'm worried about socialization too. She has only has the first shot of vaccines. I've started walking around my home with her on my lap so she gets used to seeing people, cars, dogs and noises. Also I invited friends and family to come and meet her.

    Here in my country, puppy classes are very rare to find, maybe the concept of early socialization hasn't arrived here yet, unfortunately... However, I did find one single dog facility that offers puppy day care (not exactly puppy classes, but a daycare for incompletely vaccinated puppies, where they get to interact with fully vaccinated ones in a safe and sterilized environment with supervision). I'm thinking about waiting for the second shot to enroll Mishi, which will be next week. Is it to early? What do you think, guys?

    Also, I have a friend with a 4 month old fully vaccinated shiba. Is it OK if he brings his dog to my home even if his puppy is already going to walks and dog parks? Maybe if we clean his paws?
  • Lrose1990Lrose1990
    Posts: 80
    So according to my veterinary behavior professor, who is board certified, the benefits of early socialization outweigh the risks of disease exposure... BUT (and this is hugely, hugely important) that socialization must come in a clean, controlled environment. If your local vet clinic offers a puppy kindergarten (not obedience class, just puppy kindergarten), that's the best option, as they will clean their facilities well. If this is not available, go to a class and watch before taking your pup. You want to make sure they are sanitizing properly and are using positive training theories to help socialize the pups. Also check the supervisor(s) credentials! Dog training is an unregulated industry, so it never hurts to be careful.

    Pups undergo a critical socialization period from 8-16 weeks, so this time in their lives is a wonderful one to impact them for life! Also remember pups go through a fear period during roughly 8 weeks, so build positive experiences, especially at the vet!

    Here's a great video:
    Post edited by Lrose1990 at 2016-07-07 06:26:42

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