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Your New Puppy: Balancing Vaccines and Early Socialization

From 2 months old to 4 months old, puppies must receive monthly vaccinations to protect against infectious diseases such as parvo and kennel cough.

A common piece of advice is that puppies should be isolated from other dogs during this time. While isolation reduces infectious disease risk, puppies also miss out on critical socialization time.

Instead of keeping your puppy hidden from the world, create safe opportunities for your puppy to socialize with people and dogs.

Ask friends and family members to let your puppy meet them and their dogs. Dogs should be vaccinated, healthy, and friendly. Focus on quality of interactions instead of quantity.

Always supervise socialization. Remember, your puppy is just a baby, so if he or she acts scared when meeting a new dog, don’t force the issue. Take a break and try again another day. Keep initial interactions short. Start with five or ten minutes and work up from there.

Use common sense when picking a new doggy friend for your puppy. For example, a chihuahua puppy should not start by socializing with an energetic, full-grown Great Dane.

A new friend or a tasty snack?

Sometimes, big dogs see little dogs as prey. A bad experience with an aggressive dog could lead to a lifelong fear of other dogs.

Fortunately, most puppies are excited about making new friends, and adult dogs generally treat puppies gently.

While the dog park and downtown should wait until after vaccines, meeting friendly, healthy dogs early on will help your puppy develop into a well-balanced canine citizen.

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