Your puppy should be socialized starting at a young age to help him be comfortable with all dogs and people he may meet throughout his life.
This can be tricky since your puppy will not be fully vaccinated until about 14-16 weeks of age and can still be susceptible to various diseases. Here are some helpful guidelines in helping to determine who your puppy can meet and when.
It is perfectly safe for almost anyone to meet your puppy and offer needed playtime and socialization skills. Always be aware of how your puppy is being handled and be present for supervision if you feel it is needed; especially with children. A good tip is to always have training treats available for people to give your puppy if he is nervous or learning a new behavior.
This is generally one of the safest places for your puppy to meet and play with other puppies. The majority of classes require all puppies attending class to be up to date on Bordetella and to have started their Distemper vaccine. Once your class of choice has given you the guidelines to what is required for that class, and as long as your puppy has had their first vet visit and given the okay by your Veterinarian, feel free to let your puppy attend class and get much-needed playtime with other puppies. This playtime will help develop social skills needed throughout their life.
FRIENDS/FAMILY AND THEIR PETS:
This is another time that is generally safe for your puppy to meet other people as well as other dogs. Again be aware of how your family and friends are handling the puppy and be present if you feel supervision is needed. Meeting family and friends’ dogs is a great way for your puppy to learn how to act with bigger/older dogs. This is appropriate of you know that this dog is up to date with his vaccines and healthy. Any dog who is not current with vaccinations or who seems to be feeling ill it may be advised to consult your Veterinarians office to determine if this is safe or not.
Meeting other dogs during these times will be one of the final on your list of places to bring your puppy. This is because until your puppy is fully vaccinated exposure to unknown dogs and areas can have the potential to get your puppy sick.
The time a puppy is finally able to meet with other dogs freely and go to dog parks is generally after their third visit with the Veterinarian, at about 16 weeks of age. This can change depending on which vaccines your puppy has received and how many of each so it is best to discuss this with your Veterinarian to confirm your puppy is vaccinated appropriately. Please see the vaccine sheet (included in puppy kit) to determine which vaccines are recommended.
Depending on your place of work this can be a great place for your puppy to have exposure to and meet as many people as possible. Make sure that your puppy is kept in your office or a large crate while here so he is not able to get into things or areas he shouldn’t. As advised before always have supervision with your puppy while he is alone or meeting new people for the first time.