End animal isolation for pup at age 3 months, after last vaccination
Question: Our veterinarian recommends our puppy be isolated from other animals until his last vaccination at age 3 months. What is the reason for the isolation?
Answer: Your veterinarian's No. 1 concern is protecting your pet from potentially disease-carrying playmates. This is a reasonable concern.
But just as humans in infanthood are already on the fast track to defining their social and emotional profiles, so are puppies -- even more so, because of puppies' shorter life spans. In fact, animal behaviorists believe that a dog's social flexibility is largely defined by age 4 months.
Dogs that spend their first three months in isolation have a greater likelihood of growing up with behavioral problems. Poor socialization is the leading reason that people and pets part ways and the leading reason that shelters have to put animals to sleep.
Q: What does the Humane Society recommend?
A: Only you can help your new pup become a well-adjusted, great companion.
We recommend that you begin socializing your new puppy as soon after his first vaccination as possible.
You want to make sure the experiences are pleasant and nonthreatening. It's better to go too slow and assure your puppy isn't frightened or injured than to rush and force your pup to meet new things and people.
Start inviting friends over, being sure to include men and women, old and young. You also want to invite friendly, healthy, fully vaccinated dogs and other puppies to your home to meet and play. If you know someone with a dog-friendly cat, consider visiting them at their home, too.
In creating these opportunities for quality socialization, take comfort in the fact that you're not only off to a great start as a new puppy parent, but that you're also educating others about what pups need most.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.