Nervous about socializing?
My boy is just over nine weeks old now, and while we had originally set up play dates with some friends who also had recently acquired two puppies of a similar size and age and enroll him in puppy playdates at a local store, we had to postpone as Credence was diagnosed with a contagious parasite and should not be around other puppies at our vet's advice. He does fine with our two adult dogs (who have a very low risk of contracting the parasite from him because they are both healthy adult dogs, according to our vet), just displays typical nippy puppy behavior that our girls (a two year old pit bull and a three year old great dane) usually correct on their own when playing. However, he has seen other (much larger) dogs at the vet and immediately began barking and acting as though he wanted to get at them (I wasn't present for this as I was busy the day of the appointment and had to have a friend take him since our vet only had one opening so I'm not sure if it was aggressive/defensive or if he was just getting excited and frustrated because he wanted to play). My vet apparently said he had quite a tough guy attitude (not necessarily aggressive, just too big for his britches, essentially) and that she suspected he might be a handful as he gets older.
Anyways, he's been on medication for the past week and has about one or two more weeks before he gets rechecked (and is hopefully given the all-clear and will be able to be around dogs his own age), but I was wondering what the best way to slowly introduce him to other dogs would be, given that the our two girls are the only ones he'll have been around since he first left his litter. Should we go ahead and try a puppy playdate with our friends and see how he responds (the trouble with this is the friend we have with her puppy is sick very frequently and setting up playdates can be a bit difficult because of this)? Should we try a puppy playtime and see how he does? Or should we take it slow and let him watch other dogs from afar before we even try to let him interact? If he does start barking excessively or displays other poor behaviors what would be the best way to go about correcting that? Our great dane and pit bull are both completely dog friendly, and Credence is completely friendly with strange people and hasn't given me any real reason to be worried, but I'll admit I am very nervous about starting socialization because our last GSD who we had for a short time came to us with severe aggression issues towards all people and dogs so I want to make sure Credence becomes comfortable with other dogs ASAP.
Credence (GSD) - 1/25/17
Cairo (APBT) - 8/5/15 - rescue
Duncan (Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cat) - 4/1/17 - rescue