Puppies accept and learn from new experiences best between the ages of 3 and 12 weeks. After that point, the optimum time to learn socialization skills, according to the ASPCA, ends. Socialization is essential for puppies to learn how to interact with other dogs and people. Waiting until a puppy receives his last puppy vaccinations around 16 weeks is too late.
The best way to socialize a new puppy is to enroll him in a puppy class. Typically, classes require puppies to have their first round of shots and to be illness-free. Look for classes that take place on surfaces that are easily to clean and disinfect. This helps reduce the risk of infections spreading through urine and feces. Puppy classes allow for early socialization witha reduced risk.
Avoid dog parks or walks around the block as a method of socialization with puppies who have not received all of their vaccinations. As your new puppy explores these areas, he may encounter sick dogs or feces of infected dogs. In addition, canine parvovirus can live in soil for up to a year, leaving your puppy vulnerable to exposure by simply sniffing or digging in the dirt.
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