Vaccinations vs. Socialization?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Whisper, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Whisper

    Whisper Kaleidoscopic Eye

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    I've been agonizing over this. Fable is 8 weeks old, and I really, really want to make sure she's properly socialized, especially considering her background and breed (No/minimal socialization combined with badly bred GSDs have never been a good mixture IME). But having had a puppy I never got to bring home because of parvo, I'm paranoid about the illnesses she might contract if I take her to public places.
    Do I socialize her possibly at the expense of her health? Or do I keep her safe from illness but risk having an unstable, fearful dog?
    Opinions? Advice? Do I wait until she's had all her vaccinations even though the prime socialization window is closing fast? What do you do with your puppies?
    I know. Stupid, elementary questions. I've been embarrassed to ask but I need to know what you guys think.
     
  2. SarahHound

    SarahHound New Member

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    I wouldn't risk it. Parvo is such a horrific disease. Thousands of people get puppies everyday, and they don't start socialising until the final vaccination, the majority of them do just fine with socialisation.

    Katy didn't start socialising until 12 weeks, and she is great with other dogs. Dogs make her happy! She also was poorly bred and had a very bad start (abandonned at 4 ish weeks old) I can understand your concerns though, in the end, its down to you, but I, personally, wouldn't risk it.

    You could always carry her places if you wanted to get her out into the world, and take puppy pads for reliveing herself? Or do you know any dogs who are fully vaccinated that people could bring to your house for her to meet?
     
  3. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Be wise with where you take her. No dog parks or public places that are heavily populated by dogs. She will be fine if she doesn't spend much time with strange dogs in those few weeks. Get some good socialization in with people - carry her when you are moving through areas that get heavy foot traffic. Don't let her sniff/lick floors. Take her on car rides, expose her to different sounds and sensations and make it all super duper happy fun. Every little good experience helps. Cats, small animals, etc.

    Make sure she sees ALL the things after she's done, and use this time to get her accustomed to potty training, basic commands, leash training and household noises. Also use this time just to bond with her, and worry about other people and other dogs later on. :)

    My family's most socialized dog (during her 7-12 week period) was Dash. Dash got very little socialization after 12-13 weeks because my parents took her home to Arizona, while Eve and I stayed in Washington for the rest of the year. Eve and Dakota got significantly less socialization during the imprint period, but were pretty evenly socialized for their first year of life.

    Dash, while she's generally stable, is a little bit of a fruitcake about certain things and Eve and Dakota are more balanced. The imprint period isn't -everything-.
     
  4. smeagle

    smeagle New Member

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    Parvo is a terrible disease, if you have it in your area you could easily bring it into your house from the soles of your shoes.

    IMO I always choose controlled socialisation, more dogs are PTS due to behaviourial problems than parvo.

    I take my puppies out and about from the day I bring them home. I would never take them to places lots of other dogs frequent like dog parks, even once they have all their vaccs I still don't take them there as I don't socialise my puppies with dogs I don't know. I also think a lot of people forget socialisation is about more than being around and meeting other dogs, it is about giving your puppy as many new experiences as possible and assigning those experiences a value, while teaching your puppy how to deal with them. I have seen so many dogs with issues because of poor or lack of socialisation and it is not a risk I would ever take. You only have such a small window in their development period to get the most out of socialisation.


    ETA: I would be particularly concerned about a puppy from poor genetics and those that already display temperament and nerve issues.
     
  5. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I held Quinn back till 12 weeks to wait for her vacc to be done and I'm kicking myself for it now. She was well socicalised after that point but considering her less than stellar base temperament I think more would have done her the world of good.

    I was so scareed of her getting sick but knowing what I know now about th small window you get for early socialisation and how vitally important it is expose them to things before that 16 week mark I would do a lot of safe socialisation. Carry them through markets and stores and shopping centres. Take them to places dogs don't often go to etc.

    I would pick my spots carefully but theres no way I'd keep them at home.
     
  6. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    If you're that worried then focus on people places, not dog places. No pet stores or parks heavily populated by dogs. Go to bus stops, Lowes/Home depot (if yours allow dogs), the local ice cream place, baseball/soccer/whatever games in your area, etc. GSDs seem to be cropping up with a lot of fear issues, not sure if it's genetic or if it's how they respond to a lack of socialization, but I would try to get in as much as you can, at least with people. Stick to dogs you know for now if you're concerned.
     
  7. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    why do people have such a fear of walking their puppy in a park before it's had 15 shots, but have no problem walking them into a vet clinic to get those shots?

    I take puppies everywhere. Not dogs parks, but then I never go to those. city parks, hardware stores, down the streets, everywhere I can think of. and I don't worry about it.
     
  8. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Personally, I err on the side of socialization. I wouldn't go to, say, a dog park (which I wouldn't with a puppy anyway), but I took Squash everywhere with me for just normal everyday stuff, errands, walks, one of the (gasp!) small local pet stores, out in the neighborhood, etc.

    Having said that, I live in an area with very low incidence of parvo/distemper, few strays, and high rates of vaccination (or titering). If those weren't true, I would have probably done things differently.
     
  9. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I take puppies everywhere. I agree with the person who said that more dogs die due to not enough socialization than from parvo. Now if there was a parvo out break or something I might be a little more cautious.

    As an aside the only puppies I knew that died from parvo were those that were vaccinated, the one non vaccinated puppy didn't get sick. Now that is not to say vaccines are bad, but it does make one question the efficacy of the vaccine.
     
  10. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Well no vaccine is 100% effective, and how severe disease is/whether a puppy gets it vaccinated or not depends somewhat on the amount of virus the puppy is exposed to. We don't see a lot of it here, but every single puppy I've seen with parvo has been unvaccinated, and it's the same story every time... 14-16 week old puppy who has never had vaccines and now is sick. Makes me bang my head against the wall every time, too.
     
  11. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    and every single time i've seen it, they've all been vaccinated.
     
  12. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    People always suggest "go to safe places", "avoid areas with other dogs", etc. But the truth is, your dog never has to leave your house or property to be exposed to Parvo. I had a litter of 6 week old puppies get it and they were never away from my house or back yard. Parvo is something you can consider a risk in the environment where ever there are people, dogs or wild animals. Possibly where ever there are flies, as it is believed that Parvo can be carried by flies. It can be tracked from yard to yard by wildlife. You, your family or friends could bring it right into your house on your shoes. The mailman could bring it right to your front door on his. While it is spread through feces, dogs shedding the virus produce so much (and it requires so very little for a puppy to get infected) that you never have to see feces to be exposed. You can walk through where Parvo feces were days ago and be exposed. You could stand behind someone in line at the store who has a litter of Parvo puppies at home and be exposed by your shoes coming in contact with what is on their shoes. The virus is extremely hardy and can live for a long time outdoors in the right conditions (indoors generally only about a month). Many cleaners don't kill it and cold simply inactivates it. All in all, it's not all that easy of a virus to avoid. And it is heartbreaking for a puppy to get it.

    All that said, I definitely wouldn't wait until 12 weeks to start socializing a GSD puppy. Even having had a litter with Parvo, I don't wait that long to start socializing mine. I tend to be pretty...paranoid when I have a litter now about reducing risk of exposure until they've had their first vaccine (a high titer parvo only or at most parvo/distemper). A few days after they've had their first vaccine though (usually about 7-8 weeks), they start socialization. Yes it is scary after having had Parvo but knowledge is power. I know way more now about the virus and how vaccines work (and how they don't) then I ever did before. There are some breeds that just can't wait until 3 months old to begin socialization just because keeping them home seems safer than taking them out and about.

    This is an excellent article about the subject of socialization and vaccines:
    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/puppy%20socialization.pdf

    And it's good to know how vaccines work (and how they don't) and I think these articles do a good job of separating fact from fiction:

    http://www.caberfeidh.com/PuppyVax.htm

    http://www.caberfeidh.com/Revax.htm

    Taken from the first article:

    Edit to add in response to the comment about vaccinated puppies dying from parvo...

    My puppies were unvaccinated. Of the 6 puppies, 5 become extremely sick with the virus. One did not. Of the 5 who became sick, one died and one came extremely close but pulled through. The others recovered fairly quickly with a lot of care and were eating again within a couple days. The one who almost didn't make it did not eat for 5 or 6 days and was emaciated by time he started to want to eat.

    Generally if a vaccinated puppy becomes sick with the virus, they were exposed before (or while) being vaccinated. So there wasn't time for them to develop immunity from the vaccine then their body is dealing with the vaccine and the virus at once, so they are at a higher risk of death. Or more rarely, they aren't able to form immunity from vaccines so it is like they are unvaccinated. Or maternal antibodies affected the vaccine. But they didn't die because they were vaccinated, they died because they were exposed to a potentially fatal virus which definitely also kills puppies who aren't vaccinated who are exposed to it. FWIW Vaccines are generally extremely successful at preventing Parvo, providing the puppy isn't exposed prior to being able to develop immunity from them and that the puppy is able to develop immunity from them.
     
  13. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    I lean toward socializing over vaccines. With the exception of dogs parks and places like Petsmart, I say take her out.

    Blaze was out since a bit before 8 weeks (had already had his first set of vacs). We walked in town, on local walking trials, trainer's place, etc. Even on the way home he was out at stops made (it was a 2/3 day trip home).
     
  14. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I know of a breeder who "doesn't believe in vaccines" that had a litter of 6 month old unvaccinated puppies get Parvo and become extremely sick with it. Very sad, considering that by 6 months, it would be pretty uncommon for a vaccinated dog to develop Parvo.

    Around here, Parvo is extremely widespread and most Parvo puppies I've known or heard about were unvaccinated.
     
  15. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    This is my belief as well.
     
  16. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Of course none are 100% but some vacccines are better at providing protection. I think some people have a false sense of security with vaccines. yes some, like rabies, provide excellent protection. Others, like the parvo vaccine, do not make your dog immune to parvo, they just help even the odds.
     
  17. AgilityPup

    AgilityPup Agility freak!

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    Until Simi had ALL of her shots, I only took her to places where she'd meet people and maybe see the odd dog passing by. As soon as she got her last set of shots, we hit the dog filled areas hard core. To me, I wasn't willing to risk it, but even being a really well bred GSD, I wanted to socialize at least some before her final shots, so that was how I compromised. Lots of people interacting with the odd dog far away, but if people asked if their dog could meet her, I said no that she didn't have all of her shots yet and I wanted to be safe. People seemed to understand.
    ETA: I didn't really worry about places where other dogs had been... I just worried about her interacting with strange dogs. And in regards to the vets office, until about her last set of shots, she didn't walk into the vets office -- I carried her in in a crate. I do NOT let my dogs interact with others at the vet office no matter the age. The vet is scary to me -- most of those dogs are there for a reason, and that reason could be a sickness my dogs could catch -- no thank you!
     
  18. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    I know several breeders who naturally rear (no vaccines) and their dogs do great. If they do get parvo, they tend to recover fairly easily. HOwever, I do know of multiple older dogs, just this last year, that died from parvo, all were vaccinated. Also know of multiple pups that died, most were past their second booster.

    I refuse to live my life afraid of the what ifs of a disease. I will be cautious, like didnt take Quke to the vet or dog park, petsmart, etc but he pretty much went everywhere else. He got one parvo vac at 10 weeks, and another at 14.

    There was a great article in Dogs Naturally on Parvo back in December I believe. Look up information on it, treatments, etc. Parvaid is something to have ready if you are really worried.
     
  19. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    the whole birds of a feather thing I guess, but I know more people that don't vaccinate for anything other than rabies, and only get puppies from breeders that do not vaccinate for anything before they get them and there really isn't much that goes on.

    Pupppies are always healthy, owners are always happy.

    i wasn't claiming that vaccination will kill puppies, my point was, what's the difference? If they get it, they get it and I haven't known a single litter of unvaccinated puppies to get it compared to 3 separate litters of vaccinated that have gotten it. you know unvaccinated that get it

    They're going to be exposed to it at some point in their lives and once out of that critical puppy stage it's a rare, rare occassion it causes problems in an older dog. My dogs have obviously been exposed to it and none were vaccinated for anything other than rabies.

    sure it can happen, but i'm just not worrying about. Keep them healthy and this stuff doesn't really seem to matter other than rare cases. Can't stop the rare cases and there's more important stuff to worry about, like socialization. as many have said, more die from not being socialized that parvo.
     
  20. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    my breeder is a fan of natural rearing as well and yea, all puppies do fine.

    Personally, I always choose socialization with common sense.
    Just as I would protect my puppy from scary experiences/aggressive dogs.. I avoid certain places so I avoid dog parks more due to the unknown of other dog behavior than for the actual disase factor

    but other than that, I would take her everywhere.

    Sitting in front of the grocery store on the weekend is AWESOME btw lol so many people
     

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