Early Socialisation of Puppies

1 in 4 adult dogs develop some form of behavioural disease. This can be minimised by early and appropriate socialisation.

The key socialising window is between 6 and 16 weeks of age. Your dog will learn more in this period than they will learn cumulatively for the rest of their life. This is also the time when they are most likely to contract parvovirus, a disease from which 3-4 % of infected puppies will die, even if given the best possible treatment. Parvovirus is very rare in the Blackwood area due to high levels of vaccination. To minimise the risk of parvovirus dogs should not go out into public open areas until 10 days after the 10 week vaccination (at about 11 weeks of age), or half way through the key socialising window.

So what can you do to gain the best outcome for you puppy, given that there is not a no risk option (we risk parvovirus or behavioural problems).

- Give the first vaccine as soon after 6 weeks of age as possible.
- Wait 10 days then start taking your puppy out, using the guide lines listed below
- Parvovirus can last in the environment for up to 12 months, so areas frequented by large numbers of dogs such as dog parks should be avoided until 7-10days after the second vaccine, given at 10 weeks of age.
- Areas that dogs transit but tend not to toilet on pose a low risk. Areas with high levels of pedestrian traffic are an example, such as shopping areas.
- Mixing with vaccinated dogs in your back yard, or their back yard pose very low levels of risk.

By following these guidelines in the Blackwood area you can balance the very rare risk of parvovirus, against the benefit of significantly decreasing the risk of behavioural disease. However whether you choose to adopt early socialisation, or wait until 7-10 days after the 10 week vaccination we cannot eliminate these risks altogether.

However we would recommend early socialisation to deliver better outcomes to most puppies.


For more information please ring us at the Hills Veterinary Centre on 8278 4147.