Early Socialization and Vaccination: Risk-Free Puppy Socialization
One of the most effective (and easiest ways) to prevent a huge slew of behavioral problems in dogs is to socialize them early. By “early socialization”, I do mean before the pup may have had all of their vaccines; which I do believe should happen on a responsible schedule. To help take the worry and confusion out of my client’s minds around vaccination & socialization; I’ve put together simple and safe guidelines and alternatives that you too can share within your doggie-loving circle.
Early Socialization Myth #1: Public Grounds Are Off-Limits
It’s a common misperception among dog-owners that having their puppy outside on the ground or anywhere in public is dangerous until they’re completely and entirely vaccinated. If we as dog-owners wait to begin socialization, our pups are at a much higher risk for any behavioral issues to strengthen and take hold. The good news: There’s a happy medium. It’s all about discernment and caution.
Myth #2: Puppy Classes Are A No-No Without Vaccinations
Clients often ask me if it’s safe to take their puppy outside. The simple answer is: OF COURSE IT IS! It’s equally important to expose them to their new world AND to begin the first rounds of vaccines. A great start is to encourage the practice of the first round of vaccinations because Parvo and Distemper can be quite violent in the body of a puppy. Taking action with the first round coupled with erring on the side of caution with common sense will keep the risk of both at nil while setting the tone for social integration at the onset.
Myth #3: You Must Stay Off My Property!
Rather than go extreme, it’s most important the dog owner knows who’s been ON the property. Having a fenced-in property is an ideal way to manage this without the stress of guessing. A fenced-in property is awesome, because it keeps the pup contained while keeping other unwanted critters out! Additionally it can assure that the puppy will have a private play place where he can learn about different surfaces and textures. You’ll find the pup can learn about other noises and be able to see the great outdoors safely and freely. Most importantly it makes knowing who has been on the property easy. Use caution though, if your client’s uncle brought Boomer, their family’s lab, up from the big city recently, some precautions might need to be in place for in and around the home.
Myth #4: The Mall And My Mutt Don’t Mix
The Mall is what I like to think of as the “Not so Beaten-Path”. It can be a wonderful place for all types of socialization to occur. Today, there are a ton of big named stores that allow pups through the doors that are so infrequently used! Macy’s, Lowes, Nordstrom, and Old Navy are perfect, just to name a few. So, pack up the puppy and get to the stores! So often people find a puppy in a store so novel that they will scurry over to meet your client’s pup making the “people meeting” part of socialization super easy. You might even find that the clothing racks and the hustle and bustle of the stores provide excellent learning opportunities. In an environment such as The Home Depot or Lowes you may get the added energy of a burly contractor eagerly offering a puppy petting session.
Here is a great list of pet friendly stores that will keep your client’s pup safe with good socializing to boot!
Myth #5: Costume Parties Are for Halloween
What happened to the days of costume parties?! Have your clients dig out those old Halloween costumes, get out those groovy bell-bottoms and have a ball! If anyone needs a reason to invite some friends over for a little shindig, now they’ve got the perfect excuse. Make the new pup the guest of honor and have the treats flow from the guests while exposing the pup to all different kinds of people and outfits!
Myth #6: Kids And Puppies Don’t Mix
Responsible kids make great teachers. Ask your clients if they know any kids that are well-mannered and responsible around dogs, and have them over for a play date with your client’s pup. Because puppies can get nippy and excited around bubbly kids, it will be important to teach the pup from a young age that kids are people, too.
It’s true: The World is our Playground, and it doesn’t have to wait for the new pup to be all grown up!
Check out this handout with safety tips and guidelines for new puppies, socialization, and vaccination.
What are some of the ways you socialize your clients pups before they are completely vaccinated?
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