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Isolation or Socialization? It's Your Puppy! You Decide

So you have a new puppy and you want him to be happy and healthy AND well-behaved and well-adjusted? What to do?

Veterinarians advise isolation for young puppies due to their vulnerability to infectious diseases. The maturation of the puppy's immune systems and the need for vaccines to be boostered to become effective all take time, so the general recommendation is to avoid potential exposure to these diseases until the series of vaccines is complete and the puppy is four to six months old. Having seen the unnecessary suffering and death that some of these diseases cause gives validity to this advice.

In contrast to that advice, Behaviorists and Trainers advise early socialization of puppies. Eight to sixteen weeks of age appears to be critically important to the development of well-adjusted dogs. Prolonged isolation may contribute to unreasonable fear of strangers, both human and canine, and inability to adapt adequately to novel situations. The best advice is to enroll a puppy in a puppy class, which is kind of like kindergarten for dogs. They learn some basic obedience and get to play with other puppies and humans, and get to learn appropriate behaviors and responses while they are in their " formative" stage of psychological development. An added plus is that these classes are generally fun for both you and your puppy. The alternative, the suffering and the euthanasia of animals that have become fear biters or have developed destructive behaviors, can and should be avoided.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 52 - September 4509
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