Quest’s Roadmap to Success: Socialization vs Training

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Before getting into Quest’s Socialization and Training posts, I wanted to stop and take a minute to discuss the difference between the two.

Many people think of Socialization as being social. In puppy development, we refer to Socialization as getting the puppy various experiences. It could be meeting a new person, dog or cat or experiencing something like a different type of walking surface (tile, vinyl flooring) hearing siren sounds, walking in a thunderstorm, etc.

Puppy training is pretty obvious so no definition is required. But where should you spend your time? I share my thoughts on these very important parts of puppy development in the video below.

Its up to you if you want to focus on training earlier. Its much easier if you use positive dog training. But since the Critical Socialization Period is a once in a lifetime opportunity, Im focusing most of my efforts on it and will transition to training at 15 weeks.

One final topic I neglected to mention in the video; immunization.

Your puppy has a temporary immunity to things like Parvo if his or her mother had an immunity herself. But sometime between eight and 16 weeks, this immunity wears off. That is why we inoculate our puppies at 8, 11 and 14 weeks.

Keep in mind, it takes up to 7 days for the immunization shot to become effective. So wait until the seven days have passed before you take your dog to places where other dogs have been.

Now some people will tell you that you shouldn’t take your pup out until after it gets its last shot. While this is technically correct, it means you will forgo the Critical Socialization Period and that will result in a timid dog who is fearful of many things. I covered how to socialize your puppy in this post.

My recommendation is you socialize your pup responsibly; going to places other dogs don’t go to and instead focus on the many socialization experiences that don’t involve other unknown dogs.

But meeting new dogs is EXTREMELY important during the Critical Socialization Period, so look for play opportunities with balanced dogs who you know are up to date on shots.

Limit your puppy’s access to places where other dogs have been until they hit 15 weeks. If you do go to one of these places (pet stores, vet office, dog parks, etc) be sure to thoroughly wipe off the bottom of your pup’s paws with purely or a baby wipe IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU LEAVE. They may have stepped on something with Parvo, etc and if they lick their feet later, they can become infected.

It is a risk, but after reading many articles, talking to vets, rescue groups breeders, etc, the risk is pretty small. Just carry around some individually wrapped baby wipes and if in doubt, wipe off the bottom of the paws.

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