Do Puppies Need All Shots Before Meeting New Dogs?

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    Choose socialization opportunities other than dog parks until your puppy is fully vaccinated.

    Choose socialization opportunities other than dog parks until your puppy is fully vaccinated.

    Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    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.

    Puppy Classes

    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.

    Dog Parks and Neighborhood Walks

    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.

    Photo Credits

    • Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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