Since your puppy will not be protected from the major diseases until after his vaccinations have taken effect, special care should be taken to ensure that the dogs and puppies encountered are fully vaccinated and healthy. However do not put your puppy on the ground in public places where un-vaccinated or ill dogs may have walked.
Puppies will need to encounter a variety of different environments and situations. This will provide an opportunity to become familiar with a wide range of different scents, sights and sounds. Gradually accustom your puppy to car travel, traffic, crowds, the countryside and towns. Imagine how it feels to be that small, vulnerable and inexperienced and try to make sure the puppy is enjoying the experience and not feeling overwhelmed. Young animals are very susceptible to disease before their immune systems have had a chance to develop. Very young puppies acquire some immunity from their mother, which protects them during the early weeks. This fades over time and needs to be replaced by immunity stimulated by vaccinations. Since keeping a puppy isolated until it has developed full immunity can ruin its’ future character, a compromise must be reached between the need to protect against disease and the need to ensure good mental health. As most of the socialisation will be with humans rather than other dogs, such a compromise is feasible and if the following guidelines are adhered to, it is possible to socialise your puppy and avoid the risk of infection. Puppies should meet a variety of other animals, but should be kept under control to prevent them learning to enjoy chasing.
Until your puppy is fully protected by vaccination it should:
- not be allowed to mix with dogs of unknown vaccination status.
- not be taken to parks or walked in other areas which other dogs have fouled
- be taken out and about often in ‘non-doggy’ areas, carrying if necessary to avoid contact with other dogs or soiled areas