When should I start to socialize my puppy?

Currently there seems to be a rise in advice being given to puppy owners where owners are being told not to take their puppy out of the yard until they are 16 weeks old. This advice is being given so that the puppies are fully vaccinated and therefore safe to be taken out in public without the risk of contracting a disease.

Let me explain the issue I have with this.

Your puppy has a critical period which is 6-16 weeks. This is when your puppy is learning all about the world. What’s scary, what’s safe, what cars, trucks, people, cats, buildings, other dogs etc are all about. Anything your puppy learns or doesn’t learn in this stage of life, sticks like glue.
Not exposing your puppy to every day life and teaching them about the world, leads to a nervous dog. Nervous dogs are more likely to develop aggressive traits and even if your dog doesn’t develop aggression, who wants their dog to live in a permanent state of anxiety because they don’t understand the world.

Now if the above isn’t reason enough to get your puppy out and socializing then maybe the following is.

Tens of thousands of dogs are surrendered or put to sleep annually for behaviour reasons in Australia alone. These are perfectly healthy dogs but they are killed because the owners couldn’t cope with their behaviour. This is something trainers deal with daily and it’s on the rise. With the combination of not giving puppies clear guidelines, incorrect advice from puppy schools and a lack of socializing, we are creating a generation of very nervous and unhappy dogs.

Just because your puppy hasn’t had it’s third vaccination, doesn’t mean it can’t go out and socialize. Just don’t take it to a dog park or anywhere where large volumes of dogs gather. There are plenty of ways you can socialize your puppy while minimizing the risk to it’s health.
Take your puppy to low dog-traffic areas and take calculated risks. Your puppy is depending on you to do the right thing.

We’ve put together a small socializing checklist for you which you can find HERE

You only get one chance to habituate your puppy in it’s critical period so don’t delay!!