You hear it all the time: socialization is important for your puppy! Socialize, socialize, socialize!
It IS true: socialization before your pup is 16 weeks old is crazy-important if you want a well-adjusted, easy-going, can-handle-anything dog later in life.
You gotta be smart about it. You can’t recklessly expose the pup to potential germs and disease.
I was outside teaching class last night in downtown Frederick, Maryland. I saw a tiny 11-week old puppy walking on Carroll Creek, a bustling and crowded metropolitan spot with eateries and beautiful scenery, and the pup was meandering through the grass where every other dog had done it’s business.
It’s a terrific location for the pup to be exposed to all kinds of things: joggers, noisy kids on bikes, barking dogs, ducks, the list goes on.
The trouble with that is that hundreds of other dogs have been through there, too. Leaving behind poop and pee — the carriers of disease. You don’t want your puppy needlessly exposed to all that. Who knows if those dogs:
- have had their vaccinations
- are healthy
- are carrying diseases
It’s much safer for the pup to be carried through very public areas until he’s completed his puppy series of vaccinations. Walking a pup through your yard or even your neighborhood is probably safe, but you don’t want your pups paws hitting the ground in the dog park or anywhere where there are potentially unvaccinated dogs running through the same grass as your pup.