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Interested in opinions ... I was listening to a canine behaviour podcast the other day, and the behaviourist being interviewed (trying to find the name!) was quite vehement in his disagreement with the usual vet advice to keep a puppy away from all other dogs until the full course of puppy vaccinations is complete (16 weeks for a UK puppy).

His point was that we have such a short (and important) window to socialise/expose pups to things at a formative time, that the vets need to recognise that 'social vaccination' is as important as the usual medical kind.

I tend to agree, and did choose to ignore my vet when mine was a pup. I tried not to expose him to unvaccinated dogs, or to large groups of dogs, but I wanted him out and about and seeing things at that age.

ANOTHER interesting point he made, and he didn't quote his source so no idea how accurate, was that the leading cause of death for dogs under 3 is euthanasia due to behaviour problems. Even if he's over-egging a bit, it matches my long-held view that training = life-saving for a dog.

Your experiences?
 

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I think it is a matter of balancing the risks - I have encouraged my pups to mix with neighbours' dogs that I know are safely vaccinated as soon as they were settled with me, and have taken them to puppy classes well before 16 weeks. I wouldn't let a pup explore in a park, or anywhere else that infected dogs might go, however. Carry them, and let them watch the world go by, yes - let them potter around where there may be infected urine and faeces, no. There have been cases of Parvo here in Lancashire, and I am very wary!
 

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I was careful with Darcy, but to be honest he was in parks with other dogs well before he had received all his shots. I live right downtown and there's so many dogs around it's kind of unavoidable. Also, as he was a single puppy, I felt that his need to meet other dogs and people far outweighed the risk of him catching something. Our vet told me he sees at most 1 parvo case a year, if that, so it's not exactly rampant here.

Having said that, we have experienced parvo once, and it's not something I ever want to experience again! So I kept him away from the really doggy spots until he'd had at least 2 vaccines and only really let him socialize with other puppies in his pup class up until then. It's a balancing act, but I really do think socialization is so important.
 

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My vet encouraged me to take Nickel to puppy playgroups and classes (after the 2nd set of shots) where they check the vaccination records of all the puppies and then waited and took him to other public doggy places after he had received all his shots. So before he had all his shots, Nickel had the opportunities to play with other pups, and I also arranged meetings with my friends' dogs that I know are safe and he also had the opportunity to meet with kids from different age groups.
 

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I am dealing with this quandary right now. My pup is 13 weeks, and he desperately needs socialization. But I am very afraid... He is in a puppy K class, but it only meets one time a week.
 

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I completely agree with socalizing them early!! The speaker is right. More dogs are euth'ed for behavior problems. Unfortunatly, poodles can easily become shy and snappy with people if not properly socialized. I think the risk of Not socializing is not worth it.
 

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My son's puppy was on the ground in a store parking lot for two minutes tops - and he got Parvo. His littermate who was also walked at the same time in the same parking lot got Parvo and died.

I would NEVER take a chance of a puppy in public again. As someone else said -- parvo is not something you want to experience once - let alone twice!!
 

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I know this is a dilemma, but, can't you have people come to your house to visit and socialize the dog - and have them disinfect shoes and hands before coming into the house?
 
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