Dear Pet Column, is it true that I should not take my new puppy out in public until she has received her last puppy vaccination at 16 weeks?
-Perplexed Puppy Parent
Dear Perplexed, I am going to help you put this mythology away in a puppy crate forever. Puppies should absolutely be taken out into the world before the age of 12 weeks and certainly should not spend this incredibly critical period of development wrapped in a plastic bubble at home.
Because I am just a dog and you may not respect my wisdom I am lifting a quote from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) position statement on puppy socialization: “Because the first three months are the period when sociability outweighs fear, this is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences. Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Behavioral problems are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters. Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.”
AVSAB’s statement continues, “The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life... For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.”
And here is a quote from the American Veterinary Medical Association (meaning regular vets not just animal behaviorists): “By 8-9 weeks of age most dogs are sufficiently neurologically developed that they are ready to start exploring unfamiliar social and physical environments. Data show that if they are prohibited from doing so until after 14 weeks of age they lose such flexibility and may be fearful in these situations. Such dogs may function well within extremely restricted social situations but may be fearful and reactive among unfamiliar people, pets or in environments outside of the house.”
My advice is to find a good positive trainer before you adopt, as well as a veterinarian who will administer your puppy’s vaccinations on a schedule that will facilitate the pup’s timely admission to a puppy class. Do as much thoughtful, structured socializing as possible (more tips on that in an upcoming Pet Column) with your puppy at your home, and/or in the homes of friends or family members who have no dogs or healthy, vaccinated, reliably dog-friendly dogs who can be trusted to not scare or harm the puppy.
My name is Moo and I am an energetic 3.5 month young heeler mix that came to Second Chance after being found wondering the highway near the Ridgway State Park. I am a very sweet and happy puppy looking for a lot of love and special attention. Because of my early emotional trauma from abandonment I currently do not do well when left alone. I would love an attentive family that has a confident dog that I can learn from. I love to play with other dogs and go for long walks after long cuddle sessions with humans. Come meet me today!
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.
While waiting to be adopted I have been reading Temple Grandin’s book, Animals Make Us Human. As a cat I am particularly fond of this book title. The content was even juicier. It introduced research that challenged the long accepted “alpha male” paradigm of dog training and parenting. It highlighted that in the wild wolves do not naturally function through wolf packs structured by dominance hierarchies but from peaceful family units. It answers the controversial question regarding whether dogs are better suited to live with parental figures or alpha pack leaders…
Read more: Parenting vs Alpha-ing
My name is Bailey, an energetic one year young homeless Heelixer (Heeler mix) puppy. Today I write about what it really means when you make a decision to bring a pet into your life. I don’t want to preach but I do want to promote the pet parenting philosophy that my friends here at Second Chance Humane Society believe in. They agree with me that if this philosophy were embraced by all there would no longer be a need for animal shelters.
Read more: The Pet Parenting Philosophy
Kitten season has arrived here at Second Chance, yay for kids who love kittens! And yay for me because Second Chance has reduced their kitten adoption fees as there are so many of us here! While we wait to be adopted we are receiving lots of kid visits. Kids love kittens but sometimes they love us too much. So I wrote some guidelines to help you teach your child that kittens are not toys but fragile creatures that can become injured by a curious well-meaning child that wants to hug tiny bodies and tug cute tails and ears.
Read more: Kids & Kittens
Another Telluride Bluegrass Festival has ended and I am still homeless. If I were a bluegrass song my title would be “I Am a Dog but I Still Need a Home”. It would be a smooth mellow tune with a strong banjo lead, the occasional mandolin riff and heavy on the stand up base. It would make you want to slow things down and contemplate life for a bit. It might make you cry but only because you want the song to last forever.
Read more: I Am a Dog but I Still Need a Home
Dear Pet Column Reader, I write a plea of assistance. I am a healthy and spunky 16 year old homeless cat and Second Chance Humane Society Shelter, which recently rescued me after my person passed away, is simply bursting with kittens. All these cute little mewing fur balls are seriously reducing my chances of being noticed. But I have made a plan that I believe will interest you…
Read more: Adopt a Cat Month
Alone time can be a good thing but too much alone time for social beings…not so good. Modern society has resulted in an increase in single dog households as family’s lives feel too hectic to take on additional pets. I get that you humans are busy creatures and I am not dissing you for choosing to have only one dog. But I would like you to consider that, not only do multi-dog households help to save lives but their dogs can be more content and self-actualized. Let me explain why (and yes it is ok to apply “self-actualized” to dogs)…
Read more: Double the Jazz in Your Life
My name is Gracie. I am a lovely and healthy three year young Calico but, like all living beings, at some point in my life that will likely change. So for today’s Second Chance Pet Column I am going to prep you for the day when your cat is not feeling so fine. As it is the feline instinct to “suffer in silence” our ailments often go unnoticed. So here is my guide to recognizing the subtle signs of a cat needing medical attention.
Read more: Subtle Signs of a Sick Cat
So I was tossing back some Cracker Jacks and reading the New York Times when I happened upon this article “I Traded the 12-Step Program for Dog” (Sunday May 12) that was quite moving and real. It helped me to see how people still are barely tapping into the potential that pets hold for their people. I think it is time to step it up.
Read more: Power for the People
Last Wednesday was Animal Welfare Day in the State of Colorado and Governor Jared Polis put a little more teeth into the day by signing three new state wide animal welfare efforts. His actions included expanding animal protection legislation, creating an animal welfare committee, and extending the therapeutic use of dogs in the Colorado court system. Purrs for Polis!
Read more: Colorado Animal Welfare Day Success