Early socialization v. disease risk
Ok, what do people really think? My pup is 8 weeks old and has had one vx at 6 weeks. I was a veterinary technician for a number of years, so I'm aware of how vx's work and the need for multiple shots before any trust is put in immunity. We always encouraged people to carry their puppies and keep them away from other dogs. On the other hand, considering the ubiquity of the parvovirus, there was still a lot of exposure going on. It's just not possible to be that sterile, and one never really knows.
But I have never raised a GSD pup before, and I've read plenty about the need for socialization, particularly in the 8-12 week window. Some people seem to argue rabidly against socializing pups that age with other dogs; some people suggest it's much riskier not to socialize the pup and wind up with an unfriendly dog. I know enough to be afraid of parvo, but I don't know how worried I should be that my dog isn't socialized well enough at this age. I had made the decision that she should be socialized, because my older dog was poorly socialized as a pup (before I got him) and is a fearful adult. Now I'm worried, though. We haven't had much contact with other dogs. A pup at petco, two adult dogs that belong to the neighbors, and my Augie. We've been walking on the ground plenty, though, and she drank out of a puddle before I could stop her (we'll be lucky not to get lepto or giardia even if we don't get parvo, huh?).
I'm also a little of a skeptic, though, about the paranoia that goes on. Veterinary medicine has changed in the last 20 years or so. I love my animals, but they don't go around in diamond-studded collars. I have met some really over-the-top owners and doctors. The rural vets I've worked with simply don't seem to worry so much. I sometimes just don't know who to listen to. Despite the fears of parvo and how widespread and contagious it is, in 5 years working for vets I only saw 6 cases of parvo. I can't recall for certain, but I think that most, if not all, were unvaccinated animals.
So, where the rubber hits the road...is it more important for Sigrid to be socialized or for her to be protected from possible contagion? What was your policy with your pups?
Augie - GSD/Border collie mix, born 1/14/1997
Sigrid - GSD, born 3/14/09
Everything reminds me of my dog. - Jane Siberry