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So I was reading up on the seriousness of Parvo and taking really strong measures not to let the pup outside before the age of 4 mos (before all shots)..... my question is how have you folks been able to socialize your pup at that critical age also since they need to be exposed to people/dogs/random things?

I had a friend that took it so seriously, the pup didn't touch the ground for those critical months except to relieve herself . They took the pup out..just didnt let people touch them or put her on the ground. Was curious how others handle this time frame.
 

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I am no expert on this but...

My understanding is that parvo lives in soil for up to 9 months so you want to stay away from areas that are frequented by dogs such as public parks. I believe it does not live in concrete so it would seem that it would be ok to walk along a sidewalk.

The other concern is the pup meeting other dogs who we don't know are up to date with their vaccinations. Our pup met the dogs in our family right away at around 10 weeks old. She had only had one vaccination at that stage.

Our vets have told us not to take her outside the property until she is 18 weeks old (two weeks after the last shot). In the same breath they have told us that they do not come across parvo more than once a year and in those cases the pups have gotten it from an area far west of where I live, where they see parvo on a weekly basis.

Our breeder says that whilst she has pups she does not volunteer at the local pound because diseases can be brought home via humans and given to dogs. She has had that happen to her own adult dogs in the past (kennel cough I believe).

It becomes so "scary" that it seems safer to just not take them anywhere but I think this would be detrimental to their socialisation.

We take Zali to people's houses who have dogs that have up to date vaccinations. I have taken her to the shops but she is 10 kg now and too heavy for me to carry for any length of time. Plus it means that I can't actually go into the shop anyway, so... We also walk our pup down the centre of our road which is very quiet. We have been told that walking on hard surfaces is no good for growing bones.

So I feel like everywhere I turn I am doing something wrong.

Phone a couple of vets in your area and find out the amount of cases they see each week or month or year. That would be a good place to start.

Right now I feel like I'm wishing time away because she is 14 weeks today and we still have a month before I'm officially allowed to take her out.
 

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Hi i got Shelley at 14 weeks old she wasn't properly socialized so really needed to be taken out. She wasn't even use to a collar or lead and when i put one of her for the first time she peed herself. I let her settle in for a few days getting use to the collar and lead. I then took her down town to get socialized with humans. I made the big mistake i tied her up outside a shop went in to get a drink. She was almost stolen that day, If i took any longer in the shop she would have been gone. As i was walking out i said hey what you doing,they made out that she got loose but i knew she couldn't. They slipped her lend under a chair which was on a step, So before i had a chance Shelley took off down the road really scared, She almost got hit by a car. Thank god a lovely man caught her for me. Well i had to go buy her a new lead cause she peed and pooed on the lead that i was using. Point of this story is never leave your dog no matter the age of the dog yied up. Ever since then Shelley has been very wary of most people. She will go up to people only if i say ok she needs couragement from me. People can call her name and still she won't go to them.
 

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I have a multiple dog household which helps tremendously, but I also get my pups into classes at places I trust - small classes in non-commercial places. My obedience mentor has lessons in her barn and fields. A club I belong to that is kept clean etc.

I do not do regular parks, public areas etc until their puppy shots are complete. I also no longer do day-care or 'puppy' classes - I used to but found my dogs are far better off without either. Petco, parks, malls etc are started up once the puppy shots have been completed.
 

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We kept our dogs at home until they had their second shot. Then in talking with my vet he said you can go places you "trust". Not dog parks, Petsmart or places like that. So we started taking our pups to our training facility. It requests people to vaccinate their dogs, but does not require proof BUT the people who come regularly are true dog people who take proper care of their dogs. So until we did our last round of shots, we did not go anywhere else.

Now parvo could be transported from a place and brought home on my adult dogs. No I did not take any extra precautions there. Yes parvo is a BAD scene, but prior to Quinn our first few hours with our pups was a trip to Petsmart and they were younger. Quinn and Gabby were the only pups I have gotten at 8 weeks. The others were all 6 weeks. Not smart in hindsight but they did just fine.

To a degree...I believe exposure increases immune systems. I believe it in children, and I do in dogs. Not necessarily parvo, but the more they are exposed to normal bacteria etc, the more their bodies will build an immunity to fight things.
 

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I started socializing my dog when he was 7.5 weeks old. I would never EVER keep him inside until his second shot was in effect (14 weeks old). I went by the rule of 12, which said that he should experiences everything on the following list before he's 12 weeks old.

  • 12 different surfaces (like hardwood floor, concrete, grass, snow, mud, water etc.)
  • Play with 12 different toys
  • Experience 12 different environments (home, park, bus, car, another house, basement, train station etc.)
  • Meet at least 12 new people (kids, adults, old people, foreign people, people in a wheel chair, people on bikes etc.)
  • Hear at least 12 different sounds
  • Experience at least 12 different moving objects (car, bicycle, people running, frisbee, ball etc.)
  • Get 12 different challenges (stairs, kong, terrain etc.)
  • Get handled by every family member at least 12 times a week
  • Eat out of 12 different bowls/cups and/or in different situations
  • Eat in 12 different locations
  • Be alone 5 - 45 minutes 12 times a week
  • Wear a leash at least 12 times in at least 12 different locations

My dog is now nearly 6 months old and has no behavioral problems, no health problems, no known fears. He doesn't bite, bark or dominate. He's housebroken, doesn't need a crate for anything (I don't even own a crate), he can walk with or without a leash and he never gets punished.

Now I know that we have mostly healthy dogs here in Norway, so I don't know if I could do it in the US. Here the recommendation, both from vets and trainers, generally is that socializing is worth the risk of infection.
 

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My vet recommended letting Eleanor play with other dogs that I knew who were vaccinated and good with puppies. So we would have playdates at our houses in our yards. I did not take Eleanor to places where large numbers of dogs congregate or walk until she had finished all of her shots.
 

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In my opinion socialization is very important, but not worth the risk of having your puppy die. The biggest risk is other unvaccinated or infected dogs, so avoiding places they frequent like petsmart and dog parks is in his/her best interests. I also moved to the other side of the street when people would walk toward me with their dog. I always yelled a courteous "Sorry he's not done his vaccinations" and wave.

Socializing him with "safe" dogs or in safe area's is ideal. Avoid any feces or places dogs urinate frequently like the plague. I have a group of friends that have vaccinated and well cared for dogs and arranged playdates with them.
 

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Parvo is somewhat a regional and socioeconomic issue... in almost 25 years as a veterinarian here in Maine, I have maybe treated 3 dogs for parvo. My husband who works as a vet in a more rural town has treated more. I take my own dogs to puppy classes at 8 weeks of age and they also came to work with me from 8 weeks of age on. I've had more trouble with kennel cough than anything else. But the previous posters are accurate about bringing the pup to safe places.... and also accurate that if the mom had good antibodies, the pups will, too.
 
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My experience is the same as Mary's. My pups come to work with me at the clinic from day one, the go to dog shows as young pups (I carry them if they are small enough, but walk when they are too big to be carried).

The average dog's life is more at risk from behavior problems than from parvo. Socialization and early puppy training are the best defenses against behavior issues. Of course be smart about the socialization (no PetSmart, dog parks, etc.), but don't wait until the puppy is 4 months plus to start.
 

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I am paying the price for being overly protective. I didn't take my guys for walks or out of our yard until their last set of shots. Charlie was very scared of others dogs and people for the longest time. Finally when he was about 2 he started trusting people and other dogs. Howie is 2 1/2 and is terrified of people and other dogs. He gets extremely nervous when he sees them(barks and growls) so now we have to avoid people and dogs, and it is all my fault for not properly socializing him. I thought I was protecting him as a puppy but I was actually doing more harm. He is getting a little better. I know some people will probably disagree with what I'm doing but we are taking a muzzle along on walks and when we aproach a dog in a fence that he usually barks and growls at we put the muzzle on. He then walks over to the dog and sniffs him and wags his tail and acts all pproud of himself. We then take off the muzzle and PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. I know there are people who totally disagree with a muzzle but I am not willing to take the chance of him biting someone.
 

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Your pup is protected against parvo before he's had all his shots, as long as it's mother is healthy and vaccinated.
I don't think this is entirely true...otherwise no puppy from a vaccinated mother would ever get parvo/distemper/etc and it would be completely unnecessary to vaccinate puppies. It just concerns me that someone to read that and think their puppy is protected without vaccinations.

Perhaps one of the veterinarians who already responded in this thread can elaborate/explain?
 

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The point of the series of puppy vaccines is to cover that pup at the time the maternal antibodies are gone from the puppy's system. The maternal antibodies can linger in the pup until about 16 weeks of age. Technically if the pup's dam had good antibodies, they have been passed onto the puppy until some point later(up to 4 months of age). Of course, you need to vaccinate puppies.... Does this make sense?
 

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Statistically, more dogs die due to euthanasia (from being relinquished to a shelter, or put down by request) because of behavior problems than dogs who die b/c they contracted a disease that proved deadly.

Socialization is soooo important.

Be smart about where you go (no dog parks or sketchy neighborhood parks -- or pet stores b/c all dogs tend to go there) and make sure pup has at least the first set of shots.

My own pup came to me at 7 weeks and the next day he was in the car on adventures to shopping centers, running errands, etc. Seven years later, he's pretty awesome.
 

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BTW - there are some breeders (I personally have a friend who is a Weim breeder) who don't do puppy shots at all based on the idea that immunity is transferred to the pups via the mom. She's bred countless litters of healthy pups this way.

That's a little too extreme for me - so I do puppy shots, a 12-month booster and then titer from there on out.
 

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The point of the series of puppy vaccines is to cover that pup at the time the maternal antibodies are gone from the puppy's system. The maternal antibodies can linger in the pup until about 16 weeks of age. Technically if the pup's dam had good antibodies, they have been passed onto the puppy until some point later(up to 4 months of age). Of course, you need to vaccinate puppies.... Does this make sense?
Thanks, I didn't want to attempt to explain that via "telephone" from our veterinarian.
 

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The point of the series of puppy vaccines is to cover that pup at the time the maternal antibodies are gone from the puppy's system. The maternal antibodies can linger in the pup until about 16 weeks of age. Technically if the pup's dam had good antibodies, they have been passed onto the puppy until some point later(up to 4 months of age). Of course, you need to vaccinate puppies.... Does this make sense?
Plus sometimes the exposure dose is overwhelming (more than the antibioties can handle all at once). So even if the pup has antibioties (maternal or their own), they can sometimes *still* get infected if the exposure is great enough.
 
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