By Jeff Stallings
I am thrilled to have had articles published in the last two issues of the highly-respected Bark Magazine. In the current Spring 2015 issue, my piece concerns the importance of early socialization to other puppies before full vaccination. This has become a primary focus for me in part because there is so much outdated, discredited information about when and how to begin exposing puppies to other puppies.
Unfortunately, some misinformed breeders and veterinarians continue to advise new puppy owners to wait until full vaccination to begin socialization, by which time the socialization period has ended. This alone leads to more behavior problems—specifically fear and aggression—than any other single factor. This inability to “speak dog” leads to the sort of aggression which all too often leads to surrender and euthanasia.
Get Your Puppy Off to a Good Start
By Jeff Stallings CPDT-KA
There is no disputing the fact that having rich and varied social experiences in the first three months of life improves a puppy’s odds of a growing into balanced, confident dog. Also not in question is the reality that canine under-socialization can result in behavior problems, fear and aggression, all primary reasons for relinquishment and euthanasia in pet dogs.
The window in which the most effective socialization takes place is only open between weeks 3 and 12 of the puppy’s life; then, it slams shut. Given that the last combination vaccine (against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and coronavirus) is usually administered when a puppy is 16 weeks old, it’s also the genesis of a dilemma.
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