Monday, October 27, 2008

"Ask Ginny"

Ginny invites you to write
to her with your questions......
[Submit them as a comment
on one of the "Ask Ginny" posts
and Ginny will repost them
in a new post segment.]

Q & A about health,
veterinary matters,
training, and life
~ ~ ~ ~
Q: Dear Ginny,
I am a 10 week old Labrador retriever puppy. I am full of energy but I am a little shy around other dogs and people. My vet told my owner that I should have my 16-week vaccination booster before starting a puppy class, but several dog trainers have said that it is more important to get me "socialized" while I am still young. What is your opinion?
--submissively yours,
Angus (West Chester, PA)
A: Dear Angus,
My human partner said that there was a news story published in the October 1, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) stated, "A position statement on early socialization in puppies released in July by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior encourages veterinarians to recommend puppies be socialized before the vaccine series is complete." The article said that, even though infectious disease is certainly cause for vigilance in young puppies, "the fact is that behavioral issues--not infectious diseases--are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age, according to the AVSAB." The article quoted the AVSAB president, Dr. E. Kathryn Meyer, as saying that "Puppies go through a sensitive period of socialization when they are uniquely prepared to benefit from exposure to social opportunities. From the time the owner adopts the puppy until 3 to 4 months of age, it is critical that the owner get the puppy out to meet other animals and people, and experience many different kinds of environments.... These (unsocialized) puppies may also fail to develop coping mechanisms and grow up into dogs that are unable to adapt to new situations." To see a copy of the AVSAB puppy position statement, go to and click on Position Statements.


Lindsey said...

Hi Angus,
I'm a two year old Labrador and when I was a puppy, my mom had to make the same decision. When I was your age we sat outside on Halloween so I could meet tons of people of all shapes, sizes and ages, it was wonderful! I also started going to puppy classes to learn how to socialize with other dogs. My mom says that you should read this very informative article If you've had your vaccines within the past two weeks, you might consider running a titer to see if you have circulating antibodies. If you do, you're good to go :) I wouldn't knowingly play with sick dogs (no matter what age you are), but instead attend puppy classes where the other dogs are likely to have been to vet already or play with dogs that belong your human's family and friends. Or better yet, do both!

Pretty soon you'll realize that everyone is a best friend you haven't met yet :)

Mom also says Scottish names rock. I don't know what she means, what's wrong with my name?

Sniff ya later,

Lindsey said...

Oh, I should also add that my vet who likes to vaccinate out the wazoo, also said it was find to go to puppy school before I was done with my puppy series of vaccinations.

Eric S. said...

Hi Angus, My name is Annie, and I am a four year old Chihuahua. I have had many many babies, and my mom and dad tell everybody the best thing to do with a new puppy is to socialize them. Get them to meet lots and lots of new people, dogs, cats, and other animals especially if there is a chance of seeing them regularly. I have 8 siblings, and we all get along great, and love it when new people come over to visit. I don't think you have to worry about getting sick, but you do have to get used to people and other animals. It saves a lot of stress on your part later in life.

S.S. said...

Hey, Indy and Annie- My human owner wanted to share a web page posted by the veterinary school at University of California at Davis, one of the most respected vet schools in the country:

The article by the AVSAB implied that it isn't the dog training schools who need to get "on board" with the importance of early puppy socialization, but the vets themselves. They said that a common sense approach is what matters: have at least one early vaccination, two weeks prior to starting class; and make it mandatory for participants to stay home if their puppy is sick.

S.S. said...

One more personal insight I would like to share. My current humans took me into their life when I was ten months old. I had a wonderful life before that, but I did not go out much. I lived at my breeder's house, with my brother Montana and about 10 other adult shepherds. My breeder took me to visit her grandchildren often, but I didn't get exposed to many new things. Now, I tend to get spooked easily, especially with loud noises. Sometimes, I jump to the conclusion that a new human or new dog is dangerous and I bark a lot. My partners don't like that. I don't mean to be suspicious, but I always assume the worst about people at first. I think I would be more relaxed in new situations if I had gotten out more as a young puppy.

Pet Stain Removal said...

Wow, great information. My owner would love to read this...

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