At Adobe, we strongly believe in the importance of socializing puppies before the age of 12 weeks. We feel that, in our geographical area, the risk of serious and permanent behavior problems from avoiding socialization is greater than the risk of contracting disease by actively socializing your dog.
My vet said I need to socialize my puppy. What is socialization?
Socialization is the process by which puppies learn about people, other dogs, and everyday situations so that they grow up to be happy, confident and well-mannered dogs.
Why is socialization so important?
If puppies are not well-socialized at a young age, they often grow up to have permanent behavior problems including fear, anxiety, and aggression.
When should I start socializing my puppy?
The most important window for socialization occurs at 8-12 weeks of age. It is extremely important that your puppy be socialized during this time.
After your puppy has his first vaccine(s) by approximately 8 weeks old, your top priority should be socialization.
How do I socialize my puppy?
- Get your pup out and about! Introduce him or her to lots of different people and experiences.
- Take your puppy to training and socialization classes. See attached list.
- Have him meet other healthy, well-cared for and vaccinated dogs. The more the better!
How and where can I socialize my puppy while still protecting him from getting sick?
Stick to the vaccination schedule recommended by your vet. Our main concern is parvovirus, which is shed in the stool of infected dogs. Parvovirus is killed by sunlight and does not survive well in dry environments. This is why we say that clean cement is a low risk surface to walk your puppy on.
Places to take your puppy that are low risk include**:
- Clean sidewalks where there are not stray dogs and where people vaccinate their dogs.
- Outdoor shopping centers with a clean, cement surface such as Santana Row and Stanford Shopping Center.
- Restaurants/cafes/coffee shops with outdoor seating that allow dogs where your puppy can meet people and other dogs while sitting outside.
- Indoor or backyard play dates with friends/family who have healthy, vaccinated dogs.
Avoid walking your puppy in high-risk places until she has had her final puppy vaccines at around 4 months of age, including:
- Dog parks
- Unpaved hiking/walking trails
- Also don’t let your dog eat feces of any animal!
We also recommend introducing your puppy to children at school pick up/drop off if allowed by your child’s school.
**of course, please use common sense and respect laws/signage that indicates where dogs are not allowed.
This statement was written and endorsed by the entire doctor team at Adobe Animal Hospital.
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