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Hi there, I am getting a V pup soon and he will be 8 weeks.

I see a variety of opinions on how long to wait till I bring him to the parks. He will have his second set of shots when we get him. Should I just expose him right away? Or wait a bit and let him get settled?

He will be need to be quite social, as I have many friends with dogs and we take them with us trail riding.

Thank you so much for all your help!

Cheers,

Al
 

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I would let him around dogs that you know, but be wary of dogs you're not familiar with. Definitely let him meet as many people as possible. Most people won't refuse a visit from a Viszla puppy, just don't let him pee on their stuff :D
 

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Welcome!
I would introduce him to dogs that you know have all their shots. You can (and I recommend) you let him meet all different kinds of people with different characteristics as well as appearances. Take him out in your car and carry him to different places.
I didn't start walking Granger until he was about 12 weeks old and after this third out of four series of shots. Thankfully, he never got sick. It's up to you and whichever you are comfortable with. I was going to try to wait until the fourth series of shots but I took the suggestions from people from this forum to get him out there and I don't regret it!
 

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I started walking Scout the week we got him (he was 8 wks). He didn't have a choice on meeting people, as we brought him home on Halloween so he met lots and lots of people that night. Everyone in the neighbourhood justnfell in love with him on our walks becausenhe's just so darn cute, so he gets lots of socialization with people and always has.

He was exposed to other dogs on our walks and at my parents house. They have a V so we took him there when he was 10 wks and he's been going there regularly. He weas also boarded at the breeders at arouind 4 months so he was hanging out with lots of other V's by that time.

I have yet to take him to a dog park as I'm not really comfortable with it, not because of the other dogs, but he doesn't have really great recall when he is off leash and there are lots of distractions yet, so I'm still waiting to do that.
 

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I took Jasper for walks right away (even in February!). They were short, quick ones, but it was helpful to him to get a little exercise. He would meet the occasional dog and one to two people each walk. It was very helpful! I also let him interact with all my friends, who were more than willing to come play with him. And he had regular play dates with a friend's dog, which had all her shots and was quite well-behaved.

After his third round of jabs, I felt comfortable enough to take him to the dog park, and he has loved it. I'm lucky that the majority of the dogs there are well-behaved and non-aggressive (sometimes some owners just don't realize how awful their dog is around others), and people at the dog park loooooove to pet him and talk about him. He's made so many friends--human and otherwise--there. At 14 weeks he may be a little young, but I really think the benefits are outweighing the risks (personally). He gets off-leash time, lots of socialization, and best of all it tires him out!

I wouldn't, however, take him to a dog park as young as 8 weeks. Or big parties, fairs, or places with fireworks. As my breeder said, it's too much for their little baby brains!

So I guess here is an outline of what I did at what age:

First weeks home (8-10 wks): We went for short little walks immediately around the neighborhood--maybe 5-8 minutes, tops. Vs are energetic--they'd go forever, I think. He very rarely met other dogs, and I asked to be sure the other dog was up to date on all vaccinations and was not ill before letting them interact. Seriously, this only happened about twice. You'll have to just trust that the owner is not lying, I guess, but I live in a neighborhood that is quite fanatic about having healthy dogs. It's up to you. We also had people over nearly every night for him to meet and get socialized to.

10-13/14 weeks: We started going for longer walks, and began regular play dates at a friend's house with his adult Golden. Met more and more people, even went to the pet store a few times to meet people. Again--I believe the benefits of proper socialization outweighed the risks of potentially picking something up, which my vet agreed with.

14 weeks: Dog park time. Vet thought it would be okay, and it's a great way for him to get exercise and play with other dogs and people (and learn a bit more about bite inhibition!).

It's really up to you and what you're comfortable with as far as socialization vs. vaccinations. But I would wait at least a few weeks or his baby brain will implode. You might also want to consider that sometimes big adult dogs will try to play with a new puppy en masse, which is no good if a pup can't hold his own. It helped that Jasper was playing an adult dog that could, on occasion, get a little rough. You could also take him to the "Small Dog" side of the dog park if you are concerned and one is available. Although I usually find that section of the park empty.

As of now Jasper is a confident little dude. Unafraid of people (runs up to them all the time at the dog park for pets and cuddles), and plays politely at the dog park, even with the huge ones. In fact, he tried to meet a Great Dane the other day, but he was so small comparatively that she just sort of stepped over him!

Edit to mention: It's also going to depend on your pup. Gauge his reactions to new things. If he's easily overwhelmed by new situations, I'd wait a little longer or ease into it slowly. I took Jasper to a dog park in the middle of the weekday--there were only two or three other dogs there, one of which was a small Corgi. If I think there are too many big dogs there on any given day, we don't go in. And I keep a keen eye on his body language--as long as his tail is wagging, he's doing good. Even the occasional yelp is ok--another dog is just getting rough, and as long as that dog backs off it's fine (and means that the other dog is also well-socialized!). But if he's running with his tail down or another dog won't leave him alone, we go home. Sorry for the crazy length on this thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, thank you so much for the information. I am so glad I found this site and community of caring people. We are both excited about getting our Vizsla pup.

I appreciate the opinions of socialization vs vaccs. I feel the same way, and will slowly introduce him to new things, people and other dogs.

Thanks again,

Al
 

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Glad to be of help!

PS: Scope out your dog park and get some opinions from other patrons first. Some city dog parks are awful, some are fantastic. Luckily mine falls in the latter category. Some may have age restrictions as well.

If you can find a members-only or private dog park, those are usually really well-maintained, and any aggressive dogs are kicked out. But they might have stricter age/vacc. guidelines.
 

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Totally agree with redrover! We got Spud out there early to meet lots of people, but he only met dogs we knew until 14 weeks (3rd round of shots). After that, it was game on! He meets everyone everywhere and they love him! It's like having a celebrity on a leash ;D
 
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