Feeling guilty about socializing?

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.

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Barked: Wed May 1, '13 9:19pm PST 
Hi! I just got an 8 week old mini schnauzer puppy this Sunday. I'm hoping that we'll eventually be able to compete in agility and rally, so I've already started socializing him. We've had about a dozen friends and neighbors over to meet him, and he's had a play date with my cousin's beagle. I also took him to a public park last night. A lot of people walk their dogs there, so I didn't put him down on the ground at all. I carried him from the car to a bench, he sat on my lap for about 15 minutes and watched all of the going ons, and then I carried him back to the car.

I thought that I was doing a good job socializing him. I mean, everyone talks about how important it is to start young, right? But today, when I took him to the vet for a checkup, the vet was NOT happy when I mentioned it. She told me that he shouldn't be playing with any other dogs until he finishes his shots, and that he shouldn't even be outside of my yard, let alone at a park. She basically made it sound like I had given my poor puppy a death sentence by taking him out in public, and it's only a matter of time before he catches some horrible disease if I keep taking him out. She even broke out a pamphlet about parvo symptoms!

Needless to say, I feel really confused and guilty right now. Should I discontinue any socializing until he's finished his shots? I obviously don't want him to get sick, but is parvo really that big of a risk? I was planning to take him to a puppy class in two weeks, but the vet made that sound really risky too.
Natasha - 美花- ~Beautiful- Flower~

Let's play tag!- You're it!
Barked: Wed May 1, '13 11:21pm PST 
Personally, I would continue the socialization and start the puppy class. In my uneducated, non vet opinion, keeping a pup cooped up in isolation during its formative weeks doesn't sound like a good start in life. However, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of Parvo and keep a close eye on your pup.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Thu May 2, '13 4:31am PST 
Sadly, Parvo IS that big of a risk!! I have seen puppies die from it, and it isn't pretty. Depending on where you are, it is a serious risk and YOU can expose your puppy just by walking in the dog park and then having the pup lick/smell your shoes.
I think playing with KNOWN dogs who are adults and completely vaccinated is safe, but I would not be anywhere near a dog park, pet store or other place where dogs frequent until those vaccines are finished. Around here the most critical period is between 9 and 12 weeks since that seems to be when the mother's immunity is wearing off.
No amount of vaccines will protect the pup while the mother's immunity is still present and there is no way to tell when that immunity is gone and the shots have worked, which is why these vaccines are done is a series.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Thu May 2, '13 7:58am PST 
That's one reason why getting your pup a little later is usually best. I know, obnoxious to say because you can't do anything about it now....take heart that it's just put out there for general education. Leaving the puppy with his litter allows for continued socialization without exposure risks.

Right now, you are in the slice of time where you run risk of exposure while also being in a fear imprint. I wouldn't. There is plenty healthy you can be doing now. Building the bond, socializing/exposing to lots of different sounds (household wise), doing lots of work with handling (you should put him on your table if you don't have a grooming table yourself), work with treats and handling and get him used to everything. Maybe another playdate with the Beagle, you can take him for rides in the car.

By twelve weeks, he's out of his fear imprint. Get him to the vet for an immunization, and then within a week you can head out. I wouldn't venture out with him much prior to twelve weeks.

Miss- Pig!
Barked: Thu May 2, '13 8:01am PST 
Well, i think you're doing the right thing. Parvo is a risk, sure, but it does depend on the are you live in. For me it was never a huge risk and i decided that socialization was more important and like you i was taking both my two out straight away to pet shops, visiting relatives, walking down town etc. Missy wasn't vaccinated when i brought Ty home, but it was never a concern of mine. Just depends on what you're comfortable with really. As long as you're doing it safely ( which you are ) there shouldn't be a problem.
Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
Barked: Thu May 2, '13 8:10am PST 
My puppy is just 12 weeks this week and I've been going CRAZY stuck in the house with her and so is my other dog! But I was paranoid about her getting sick because I know there was a case of parvo in a town 20 minutes away. I even have a babygate to keep her out of the entrance so she can't get to my or visitor's shoes just in case.

I agree that adult dogs that you know are healthy are okay as long as they aren't coming over after going to the dog park or something. If I do take my other dog out she gets carried into the house and gets her face and feet washed before she's allowed to touch the floor.

I have taken my puppy to the homes of people that don't have a dog to expose her to new places. For example I know the only dog going to my parent's house and yard is my adult dog and therefore was safe for my puppy.

My puppy is a poodle so like yours will need a lifetime of grooming, trust me when I say it will be way easier on your puppy if you start the training now. I'm teaching Jem a "hold" command which means she freezes for a couple seconds while I touch a part of her body with clippers/scissors then treat if she didn't move. My friend is a groomer and I've seen her try to groom puppies that are wild because their owners have done nothing to prepair them for this and it's sad to see them so scared.

Spoiled Little- Girl
Barked: Thu May 2, '13 6:28pm PST 
Keep socializing, just be smart about it. I would take Hazel to the pet supplies plus with me but just hold her the entire time. I also took her in the car as much as possible. If you know people who have dogs that are immunized I do not see the problem with having you going over their or having them come to you. For now focus more on socializing with people I guess.

Distinguished- Gentleman
Barked: Fri May 3, '13 10:02pm PST 
With both my boys, the vet said that for socialization its best to have dogs you know to come over to your home to meet your puppy. He said to avoid dog parks until all sets of shots were done. But, he also said you could go to a socialization indoor class. With both dogs I just went after all the shots were done, but overtime I have seen tons of puppies that are very young there (below 15 weeks) as long as one of the trainers signs off on that.

Backtalking- sassface
Barked: Wed May 8, '13 12:44am PST 
With my muttface she went everywhere with me from 6 weeks (I got her secondhand. e.e) and up. Shopping centers, pet stores, the park. I never put her down, I carried her everywhere until her shots were finished. We'd go to parking lots to just sit in the car and people watch. Before 6 months she'd already been on two 3 hour car rides and two 10 hour car rides, she was an absolute doll in the car since it was so normal already. Our vet heavily encouraged it all, just be smart about it.

Member Since
Barked: Sun Jun 2, '13 12:34pm PST 
Apparently there is confusion about how to socialize, and at what pace. The puppyhood period is not one week or one month. It takes 2 years and in some cases even longer. The advice from the vet is good, cause she is trying to reduce risks of dieseses that could be fatal and she sees that everyday. But that doesn't mean that every exposure is deadly. There are good chances the puppy will be fine.
Then, the question remains how much to socialize. A new puppy taken away from his litter mates can be overwhelmed by too much, too fast. Give it time. Here is an interesting article on this topic:
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