If you are new to owning a dog and feel a little confused by all the information about the importance of making sure your puppy is being well socialised and yet they are not supposed to come into contact with other dogs until they are fully vaccinated, you may be a little relieved to know you are not alone.
A puppy is not fully vaccinated until they are around 16 weeks old which incorporates their crucial learning time"". From when they are first born to when they are 4 months old, puppies are incredibly receptive to new things and it's when they need to be introduced to as many new situations as possible so they grow up to be confident, well-balanced and happy mature dogs. The reason why vets advise that puppies should not come into contact with other dogs before they are fully vaccinated, is the fear of them catching some nasty disease because they have not been fully innoculated against them. Parvovirus being the one disease that's the most feared by pet owners and vets alike.
However, more research has been carried out in the States into the pros and cons of socialising puppies before they have been fully vaccinated. The results should help pet owners make the decision to socialise their puppies sooner rather than later in order to reduce the risk of them developing unwanted behavioural issues which includes being timid and shy.
The results of the studies established that even though puppies had only been given their first vaccinations and yet mingled with other dogs and puppies in various types of socialising classes, none of the puppies contracted any of the more common diseases that typically affect them. As such, even with one vaccination, a puppy could meet other dogs and not be at any greater risk of contracting a disease than a puppy that was not allowed to socialise with other animals.
These studies established that it's far better to enrol your pet into a puppy socialising class from a young age even if they have only had their initial vaccination because the dangers of not doing so far outweigh the risk of them picking up some nasty disease.
Puppies that are not socialised from a young age run the risk of being a lot less confident and clingy which can lead to all sorts of unwanted behavioural issues which includes the following:
The problem with timid or shy dogs is that they can show aggressive behaviour simply because they are nervous when they are around people or put in situations they don't feel comfortable in. This can make it that much harder for owners to take their pets anywhere with them for fear of them biting someone or getting into a fight with another dog. The thing to remember is that when a dog is scared, they are more likely to be aggressive although in an environment and around people they know, they are typically the sweetest natured dogs!
This can seriously impact the quality of a dog's life and make an owner's existence quite difficult too. It can put a lot of strain on a bond between a dog and their owner if they don't behave as well as they should around people and other dogs.
Puppies that are not socialised at a young age develop all sorts of separation anxiety issues. Leaving a dog at home can become a real problem and can see them becoming destructive, incessant barking can upset the neighbours and dogs can injure themselves as they try to get out of the house to look for their owners, something that Boxer Dogs are notorious for doing!
Dogs can become destructive for all sorts of reasons with boredom being high on the list. However, when a dog suffers separation anxiety destructiveness is often one of the signs they are missing their owners a little too much. Not only can a dog destroy things around the house, but they could well injure themselves in the process resulting in a hefty vet bill, not to mention the physical and psychological damage it can do to the dog.
Very often aggressive behaviour in dogs can be put down to the fact they are frightened or fearful about something or a situation. Dogs that have not be well socialised from a young age have not been introduced to all the things they would typically meet during the course of their lives, tend to be a lot less confident characters. They find themselves in situations that scare them and when frightened they can become aggressive both towards other dogs and people too! This can result in them snapping at people they meet which could result in them biting a child!
It's really important that you take great care in the sort of puppy classes you take a young dog to. You have to be sure that everything is well organised and that only healthy puppies and dogs are allowed to take part in any classes which have to be run by responsible and well qualified dog trainers. It would be a mistake to enrol a puppy in a class that is not run by a professional dog trainer who boasts years of experience who is extremely knowledgeable and aware of health issues that affect puppies and young dogs.
At the end of the day, it is up to an owner as to when they start introducing a puppy to new dogs and situations. But with the new results of recent studies now available, it would suggest the downside of not enrolling a puppy into a well organised and professionally run puppy class, far outweighs the risk of them catching some nasty disorder and the result of socialising them this early means they grow up to be well-balanced, confident and happy dogs no matter what situation they find themselves in!