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THIS! Now I have zero experience bc we are getting our puppy in 11 days and trying to figure out what her socialization will look like..But one of the first things I thought was, I don know anyone who has an adult dog that's a great example of a well trained dog. Kinda sad.
This is how I look at it. You have to be careful about where you take them, and what dogs they have contact with, but I think its better to let puppies see their world rather then isolate them. The number 1 benefit from that, is you get to learn about your puppy. Is he confident, shy, nervous, curious? It helps you adapt what you need to do, or not do. You can't change temperament, but during those first months when you have a lot of influence over their perception of things without really trying, you can create a foundation of whats fun, or no big deal.
 

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Our GSD puppy is just over 16 weeks now and we introduced him to other family dogs right away as we knew he would be around them quite a bit. Fortunately, my parents have a chocolate lab puppy a few months older than ours and they play every day for several hours as my dad picks up our puppy after we leave for work so he is only in the crate a few hours a day.

However, we did have one bad experience on Thanksgiving with my mother in laws dog. Our GSD Winston walked up to him and sniffed him after they had already been around each other for a couple hours and one previous time with no signs of aggression. The other dog snapped and bit Winston on the nose and it has been difficult work trying to get him to be ok with other dogs now. Luckily he still does fine with my parent's puppy and my sister's dog but he also sees them on basically a daily basis so was very familiar with them before he was bitten.

I would say early socialization is good but with the understanding that you never know how other people raise or treat their dogs so just be careful.
 

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I have found the best socialization wrt other dogs is group lessons at a local dog training center.

In general, dog parks and puppy parties don't seem well structured. All the dogs behaving randomly seem to leave my pups feeling anxious.

At my local training center, they run 45-minute classes of six dogs/owners. For the most part, the dogs, and more importantly the owners, take the time to work. Not just stand around and laugh at the cute puppies.

Good people and good dogs.
 
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