The socialization period for a puppy is over by 12 weeks of age. This critical period is when the puppy develops social relationships with other dogs and with other species, including humans. After that stage, they become cautious about new things they haven’t encountered before. We have a puppy socialization protocol we start with the puppies at 16 days old but it is very important to continue this when you bring your puppy home so your puppy stays confident and doesn't get anxious or fearful when meeting new people, pets or being in a new environment.
This can pose many safety concerns for your puppy as he will not be fully vaccinated yet. You want to avoid letting your puppy play at dog parks or any place that has high traffic for pets and never let your puppy on the ground unless you are sure its safe. There are several ways you can still safely socialize your puppy and keep him safe.
Friends and Family- You can take your pup to new houses with new people, pets and environments. As long as the pets in the house are up to date on their vaccinations and do not frequent places where there are a lot of dogs your puppy will be fine to visit there.
Pet friendly stores- There are tons you can take your pup to ( links below). Always keep him in the cart and never let him touch the ground or let other dogs lick him. It would also be a good idea to put a blanket down as well.
Dog parks-But keep your puppy in the car and just let him observe! This is another great way to introduce your puppy to a new environment with dogs, people and lots of sounds! He is safe from illness and will also feel also safe and secure next to you. \
Go for a drive. Dogs love new smells- its a great way for mental stimulation and to safely introduce them to new smells, sights, and sounds. This provides great mental stimulation as well.