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Discussion Starter #1
good evening all,
I recently began writing my plan for the first 100 days of socializing my pup. I was wondering what/how ya'll socialize prior to the finishing of your pups shots?

my main concern is socializing while still young but preventing the possibility of exposure to contagious diseases.

I just bought a "shoulder dog carrier purse thingy" like they make for people to carry their pocket rats around. I also got a cheap stroller at a thrift shop I was thinking these would let me take pup places without having it walk on potentially diseased ground.

do they make an equivalent of doggy "clean room booties"?
any other thoughts on socialization before full immunization?
 

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Congratulations on being so serious about socializing--it is really important and will pay off big time in the way your dog deals with his world.

I've never used any of those carriers. Can't comment on that--except to say it's going to get heavy with a GSD puppy.


I think you have to weigh the risk-vs-reward of socializing at a young age. IMO, socializing is too important to leave a puppy at home until they've finished all their shots. I took all three of mine everywhere with me that I could from the day they came home.

Clearly, don't take the puppy to places where other unknown dogs have been--dog parks, the patch of grass outside petsmart, etc. But there should be no problem taking the puppy with you to many places where they can meet people, see and hear new things. Most parks, playgrounds, stores, sidewalks, homes, vet's office--all these places should be fine.

Just riding in your car to different places is good socializing, even if the pup never gets out of the car. Go through the car wash. Park at WalMart and watch all the people. And don't overlook all the "socializing" that you can do in your own home---to different noises, grooming routines, stairs, floor surfaces, etc.

Just use common sense. But I don't think you need to be overly germ-phobic with puppies.
 

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One is a puppy class, take the pup everywhere you go, new noises, smells, kids, other people, a plus is to get him/her use to a car and then half your battle is over, A lot of pet stores like petco, pet smarts allow you to bring in a dog. What ever you do don't baby the pup, make his/her experiences joyful not fearful.
 

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my boy was in puppy classes at 10 weeks old. he had the necessary shots to enter the class. i was very carefull with him untill he had all of his shots. i didn't take him to pet stores and i didn't let him play with all dogs. when we encountered puppy's i had no problem asking what shots their dog had. i also had people bring their dogs and puppy's to our house to play. i didn't let him lick other people hands nor did i let other people pick him up so he could lick their face. when he was in class he was handled alot by other people. i don't think i'll ever carry a puppy around. you don't want your pup getting use to being carried around. after that second round of shots i think they can have more exposure. good luck with the pup.
 

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There are all kinds of places you can take your puppy now! I would agree to avoid areas with LOTS of unknown dogs. Dog Parks etc. In my area we also avoided PetsMart until 10 weeks because there are so many rescue groups that come on weekends, but we would go to our local PetCo. It's was not nearly as busy and there were many times when we were the only dog there. Bass Pro, and I know some people have said Lowe's and Home Depot will allow dogs. Call and ask ahead of time.

Sitting on the bench outside the Grocery store is also a good chance to see people. If you live in a neighborhood, walking down the street can be a great opportunity to see Neighbor kids, different people out walking their dogs, I love it when people are doing lawn work. The mower and the blower are great noises to learn. Playgrounds and on leash parks are good places too.

We too started puppy class at 10 weeks with no problems health wise, since all puppies in our class must be vaccinated. Took her to the Schutzhund field with our older dog.

Also wouldn't bother carrying the puppy around. Speaking from the experience of having a 8 week old 23lb monster. They get heavy fast. And they squiggle and squirm because they'd rather be on the floor. I would just use discretion about where you take the dog. Other dogs that you know are vaccinated are fine. What you have to be careful of is dogs that are not vaccinated. I would also avoid communal water bowls. With my puppies, I use common sense but also prefer the "You could be hit by a bus and die any day" approach to their socializing. I won't take any unreasonable risks but, honestly, the neighbor 3 doors down who just got a puppy from the shelter could have Parvo, and could be pooping in the grass on the side of the road where I walk my puppy, and I could pick up a disease. But it's unlikely. Pick places where there are not a ton of dogs and you should be just fine until you have the majority of your vaccinations.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks people! I had just come home from chatting about pup raising and whatnot with my vet before posting. She started telling me horror stories of parvo and other nasties that pups can catch from careless handling/ environmental exposure before the shot series was complete. She also told me that since we're in a high parvo risk area she recommends the parvo/distmepter multi vac every four weeks till 16 weeks.

thank you all for helping clear up my concerns. I am going to be a first time pup raiser so this pup vaccination stuff is all new to me. my previous boys and my current dog midnight we're all pre-vetted rescues.

While I probably won't use the pocket rat bag much I'll use it a bit, and then probably give it to my cousin, as she has a toy fox terrier.

I'm just gonna be super careful as I have previously stated I am in a high parvo risk area. Last year they had to close a couple parks not far from me to dogs as many puppers were contracting parvo at these places.

My auntie sent me an email forward article regarding the importance of early socialization in pups and it suggested I try and get socialize the pup 100 different experiences/places/people in the first 100 days i have her.

I plan on taking a special car ride every afternoon/evening to take the pup somewhere new and meet new people/animals. Theres a few fairly popular parks near me I was gonna use. As well as a busy grocery nearby with outdoor seating and cafe area (dogs welcomed).

I had also spoken to a friend of mine who works at a private school nearby and said if I bring proof of insurance, vaccinations and sign a waiver I could bring pup there during recess or just after they let out to get good kid experience too. She even said she'd try and convince the powers that be to let me do a "puppy safety" lesson for some of the younger classes so the pup can wander around a classroom a few times.

I had also planned on going down to a local college campus and sitting in a lawn chair with a cooler of free water/soda and a big sign saying "HELP SOCIALIZE MY PUP, GET FREE COLD DRINKS!"

There's also a dog friendly mall near me I was going to use as well. Midnight and I were there at the garden store recently. He loves the cashier ladies as they always fawn on him and make a big deal when he arrives. Plus they stock tasty treats in their apron pockets. However I did end up buying an un-needed african violet after Midnight decided he needed to mark it, just in case other dogs tried to muscle in on his turf.

another question if ya'l don't mind? I have high training goals in mind for this pup. It'll be a while till I get her but having not had pup experience before I was wondering when is the right time for gunshot exposure?

I intend to train for SCH, but being that I go to the outdoor range for firing practice once a week I could begin gradual exposure to gunshots whenever, but I certainly don;t want to do it too early for fear of damaging the pups ears and/or confidence.

I certainly wouldn't bring a dog up to the line, or even very near for that matter (hot brass really burns and they always seem to find their way into my shoes/down my shirt) but as gunshot sureness is a test in SCH I would like to get her used to the sound.

thanks
-chris
 

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Quote: Pick places where there are not a ton of dogs and you should be just fine until you have the majority of your vaccinations.
It only takes one! I tend to be pretty conservative about parvo and am with your vet on this one. Of the places suggested, I would avoid any kind of parks where dogs go - dog parks or regular parks, definitely avoid pet stores - Petsmart but also your less used ones, and I actually think vet's offices are pretty germy too. I've known dogs to contract parvo there and they vary a lot in their concern about disease transmission. When I take a puppy to the vet, that puppy is on my lap or in my arms. Period. And I keep this up well beyond 10 weeks. 16 minimum. Luckily I'm pretty fit and I don't foster a lot of Saint Bernards!


I like the school idea, grocery store, cafe, puppy obedience/socialization classes, and inviting known dogs to your home for play dates would be something else I'd do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yeah I'm trying to find a good pup kindergarten class. I take midnight to an obedience club regularily and they offer the classes. Plus they told me we come and just walk around anytime to socialize.

16 weeks is what my vet lady said too. Being the high parvo risk area she said she'll parvo/mulit vac it at 8,12 and 16wks and until the day after the 16wk shot is should be diligent in avoiding areas where dogs of unknown health may have been.

I think that under 16 wks I'm going to carry/ pocket rat bag her unless we are somewhere with little to no unknown canine traffic.

My friend suggested getting a regular "tea time" or something with my neighbors so that the pup got used to people in and out of the house. I asked two of them and they said they'd be willing to help whenever I get a pup as long I did the cooking.
 

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For the Schutzhund gun shot test-
I don't think I'd start taking her to the gun range just yet. I think that would be too much, because I would assume you're not just talking 1 shot and you're done. You certainly don't want to overload your dog. It reminds me a bit of a thread on taking your dog to a fireworks display, sure your dog may be able to handle the occasional firework going off in your neighborhood and they're not at all bothered, but take her to a show with many all at once with no chance for recovery and you can push your dog over the edge.

I think you ought to evaluate her noise sensitivity first. Some people like dropping the stainless steel dog dishes, dropping keys, or clapping 2 blocks of wood together to make a sharp loud sounds. If that doesn't really bother her then I wouldn't really worry.

In the Schutzhund test, to me the gunshot is more about distraction. It's usually a starter pistol fired 2 times spaced a bit apart during your heeling pattern. It's not even super loud from what I've seen. The goal is for the dog to just keep on heeling and not look away. My dog wasn't introduced to that kind of distraction until he was understood focused heeling at about 12 months.

If you see that your dog isn't particularly sensitive to noise, then it's really not something you train much. Most dogs just take it in stride, the only time I have heard of people really acclimating their dog to the starter pistol is if there is a problem.
 

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Originally Posted By: midnight804
I think that under 16 wks I'm going to carry/ pocket rat bag her unless we are somewhere with little to no unknown canine traffic.
Did you check the "weight limit" on the "pocket rat bag". I would imagine that they are NOT stout enough for a GSD puppy that is over a few months old. Seems like most of the little dogs folks carry everywhere are generally say 15lbs and under. A GSD puppy can weigh 15 lbs at 8 weeks. Buy the time my female puppy was 10 weeks old, she weighed 20.3 lbs. She was 14 weeks yesterday and I am going to get a current weight on her today. But I CAN tell you that she is WAY too big for any of the "pocket rat bags", not just weight wise but height and length.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks guys.

my pocket rat bag is made of leather and the weight limit says thirty pounds. it was the largest size i could find. It has a solid leather strap ans fairly burly stitching so it should last longer than I'll use it for. I'll probably only use it for the first week or two i got her, just until she used to collar and leash.

thanks a bunch for insight on noise desensitization. I for some reason wasn't really connecting gunshot noise as just a loud sudden distraction. That makes much more sense. I also wasn't aware they just used a starter pistol. those aren't very loud at all.

thanks a bunch for the good advice folks. I'm just trying to have a socialization plan for anything I can think of.
 
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