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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'll be bringing home a puppy in June. I live in chicago in a fairly dense dog area. There is a small percentage of bad dog owners who don't clean up after their dogs, which is unfortuna2te, so I certainly can't trust that all dogs are up to date on vaccines either.

I've been spending a fair amount of energy working myself up about the fear of diseases but also about missing critical socialization weeks with the growing pup. There really isn't anywhere close to where I live that I feel I can go where dogs haven't been. I've read articles that suggest missing out on socialization would be worse than risking his health, but I am super paranoid. I've read opposite articles that suggest the risk isn't worth even taking.

I've also heard people suggest taking the pup out but keeping paws/body off the ground. So using something like a sling, a wagon, a dog stroller, etc. I kind of like the sling idea, but wonder how feasible it is for the two months until he is fully vaccinated, as far as carrying the weight. However the wagon/stroller idea seems a bit costly for what is really a fairly short amount of time, plus having to store it, and dispose of it after I don't need it.

I'm open to any thoughts and guidance.
 

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Kristy
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Do you have a car? A couple of days a week, I'd load a crate in the car and take him places out in the suburbs.Choose more upscale areas where you would never see a stray dog and people typically have money to keep up with vet care. It's worth the time and effort. Everything you do, every minute you invest in training and working with him in the first year or two will pay off for the life of the dog. I would see if you can buy something used at a garage sale or off a neighborhood market website. Then you can resell it when it's not needed. A shopping cart from a store works well because you bring a beach towel to protect his feet from the wire grid and the basket is deep to keep him from jumping out. Carry him while he's small enough , you can also try to use a soft, sherpa style dog carrier with a zip top his head can poke out of. The shoulder strap will make it easy to carry. I would also start calling around to find your obedience class options. These trainers will generally have real-world solutions for your problems since they live there too. An obedience club is worth the effort if you can get there, the members teach the classes and will be helpful. Try reaching out to AKC kennel club for referrals.
 

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Hello,

I'll be bringing home a puppy in June. I live in chicago in a fairly dense dog area. There is a small percentage of bad dog owners who don't clean up after their dogs, which is unfortuna2te, so I certainly can't trust that all dogs are up to date on vaccines either.

I've been spending a fair amount of energy working myself up about the fear of diseases but also about missing critical socialization weeks with the growing pup. There really isn't anywhere close to where I live that I feel I can go where dogs haven't been. I've read articles that suggest missing out on socialization would be worse than risking his health, but I am super paranoid. I've read opposite articles that suggest the risk isn't worth even taking.

I've also heard people suggest taking the pup out but keeping paws/body off the ground. So using something like a sling, a wagon, a dog stroller, etc. I kind of like the sling idea, but wonder how feasible it is for the two months until he is fully vaccinated, as far as carrying the weight. However the wagon/stroller idea seems a bit costly for what is really a fairly short amount of time, plus having to store it, and dispose of it after I don't need it.

I'm open to any thoughts and guidance.
Do you have a car? A couple of days a week, I'd load a crate in the car and take him places out in the suburbs.Choose more upscale areas where you would never see a stray dog and people typically have money to keep up with vet care. It's worth the time and effort. Everything you do, every minute you invest in training and working with him in the first year or two will pay off for the life of the dog. I would see if you can buy something used at a garage sale or off a neighborhood market website. Then you can resell it when it's not needed. A shopping cart from a store works well because you bring a beach towel to protect his feet from the wire grid and the basket is deep to keep him from jumping out. Carry him while he's small enough , you can also try to use a soft, sherpa style dog carrier with a zip top his head can poke out of. The shoulder strap will make it easy to carry. I would also start calling around to find your obedience class options. These trainers will generally have real-world solutions for your problems since they live there too. An obedience club is worth the effort if you can get there, the members teach the classes and will be helpful. Try reaching out to AKC kennel club for referrals.
I agree with everything nolefan said above! While I don’t live in an urban are, we visit Brooklyn regularly. My golden was very well socialized but we definitely realized an adjustment period for noises, foot traffic, rats 😳, and elevators. I think there are so many socialization areas (you can leave out the rats🤣) you can target without paws touching that will keep you busy for those first few weeks. Good luck!!!
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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If you know about the parvo and distemper viruses, you can game plan socialization. They key is in knowing where the virus likes to live. Parvo can survive for up to 7 months in soil, grass, and other organic surfaces. So these surfaces are very dangerous. However, on nonporous surfaces like asphalt and concrete, Parvo dies within about an hour of being placed there. This gives opportunities for relatively safe socialization.

What I do -- and I'm usually socializing a new puppy about once a year -- is to go to an outdoor mall. Do they have those in ChiTown? I'll take the puppy to a place where there is lots of human traffic and a safe surface. My "go to" is outside a theater, but any anchor store is usually a pretty good spot, too. In front of a theater you have a constant stream of people walking by and going in and out. You can set your puppy down on a leash on whatever concrete or other safe surface is there. Just make sure there are no animals actively going to the bathroom there, and that there is no standing poop or pee.

Once you have your adorable Golden puppy in a safe spot in front of the theater, just wait. Puppies are magnets. In about an hour you can expose your puppy to 100 people of all kinds: fat, thin, old, young, different races, heights, ages, glasses, beards, hats, wheelchairs, etc. You puppy can get a tremendous amount of socialization in a short time. Just don't let the puppy get overwhelmed by, like, a group of squealing girls surrounding it and all trying to pet it at once, which can be very frightening to a little puppy. Tell them to stand a few feet back and let the puppy come to them. And then, viola!, you've got a socialized puppy in very short order.

Just watch where you are. Don't let strange dogs approach. Don't set the pup down on organic surfaces or where animals have recently eliminated.

You can also take them into some stores. Home Depot and Lowes where I live let puppies in all the time on their safe tile or concrete floors, and lots of folks will come up to them. Outdoor restaurants that allow pets and have concrete patios are a great place, too. Be creative, but be smart. Just be aware of where parvo thrives, where it dies, and what's going on around you where you are.
 

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Honestly, I just waited out the vaccination period. But, I would recommend talking to your vet and/or trainer. For me both of them strongly recommended waiting it out. So I started socializing my dog at about 14 weeks
Knock on the wood, he is doing great so far
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I do have a vet and a puppy class lined up already, so I will contact them to see what they have to say.

Plenty of concrete areas in the city where i can hang out with lots of traffic, and I can also make it up to some of the nicer burbs with less dogs. I also like the store idea! I'll have to start being more aware of which ones let dogs come in.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I do have a vet and a puppy class lined up already, so I will contact them to see what they have to say.

Plenty of concrete areas in the city where i can hang out with lots of traffic, and I can also make it up to some of the nicer burbs with less dogs. I also like the store idea! I'll have to start being more aware of which ones let dogs come in.
Home Depot and Lowes will let dogs in. Perfect time is during the weekdays from 7am-10am when you have a bunch of contractors getting items.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Honestly, I just waited out the vaccination period. But, I would recommend talking to your vet and/or trainer. For me both of them strongly recommended waiting it out. So I started socializing my dog at about 14 weeks
Knock on the wood, he is doing great so far
I respectfully disagree with this concept. The window closes on a lot of the malleability of puppies by 14 weeks, and at about that time they enter into a fear period, where it is easy for them to imprint negative experiences that will then change their behavior for the rest of their lives. IMHO it is very important to fully socialize puppies and expose them to all the scary and stressful things in their world by the time they are about 12 weeks old.

When you see dogs that are reactive to people, reactive to other dogs, afraid of thunder or fireworks, fearful of certain situations or new experiences, that's often a result of missing out on that early socialization period before 12 weeks of age and/or being frightened by something they haven't experienced before at 14 weeks or later. There is a whole generation of "covid puppies" who are saddled with these things for lack of proper socialization during the pandemic. There is even a thread in this section right now where an owner is dealing with an older puppy who is having problems in certain situations that could absolutely have been avoided with proper early socialization. Of course, not every poorly socialized puppy will develop problems, but it's a roll of the dice, and we have found that intense early socialization makes for confident, courageous, happy adult dogs who thrive with aplomb in any situation.
 

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I agree with so much of the advice here that supports finding safe ways to socialize your puppy. I also recommend some high school and college campuses. there are typically lots of people and there’s a variety of surfaces. these places typically do not have a lot of dog traffic so the risk of concern is not as prevalent.
 

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Kristy
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puppy stroller You might feel ridiculous but it could easily be resold on craig's list etc. I loved Danaruns' explanation of parvo - I didn't realize that it was so short lived on concrete. That's something you should feel great about. Discuss your concerns with your vet as well - he or she should be able to discuss risk vs. reward aspects of this too. Best of luck, i hope you'll share lots of photos, we will want to hear about all the adventures!
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I do have a vet and a puppy class lined up already, so I will contact them to see what they have to say.

Plenty of concrete areas in the city where i can hang out with lots of traffic, and I can also make it up to some of the nicer burbs with less dogs. I also like the store idea! I'll have to start being more aware of which ones let dogs come in.
I think nicer burbs is a fantastic idea. We started socializing our pup after the 2nd set of shots. For the most part, dog owners in our area (western burbs) were really careful when introducing their dogs to ours. They either preemptively say that their dogs are up to date with shots, or suggest we keep a bit of distance between my pup and their dog.

congrats on the puppy!!
 
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