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Hi. We are in the process of researching puppy care and might be getting one this Summer. I am finding all of this information about how you aren't supposed to take puppies under the age of 15 weeks for walks at all, due to lack of immunity. I definitely understand why you wouldn't want to take a young puppy to the dog park or expose them directly to other dogs (like taking them to a friend's house who has a dog, etc.), but does this mean we can't even walk a puppy outside around the block? I am having visions of being housebound with a new puppy all Summer and getting stressed that we will go stir-crazy, feel trapped inside, etc. We live in New England so as soon as it is nice out, we practically live outside. Was hoping ti time puppy's arrival with school getting out for the Summer, but am now thinking maybe earlier is better so that we can take it outside by the time the nicer weather hits. Advice?
 

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you can and should let it explore the area around your house, but in a safe way.
I'd not let it meet dogs that you don't know and definitively keep him away from animals feces.
 

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You can definitely take the pup outside and exploring in your area is great. If you have a yard you can let him explore out there. You can even let the pup play with your friends dog(s) as long as you know that they are healthy and up to date on all their shots. What you want to look to keep your puppy away from is places frequented by other dogs that you don't know and any animal feces.

I got my pup at 8 weeks old, and he would go on 3x daily 5min walks around in a nearby park, sometimes we would just sit outside and watch the world go by and he played with a friends dog on a near daily basis.
 

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I walked my puppy around my neighborhood just a few days after I brought him home. We avoided any feces left on the ground, but I liv in a neighborhood where everyone vaccinates their dogs, and everyone goes to obedience classes etc.
 

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I live in the city and we have lots of strays so catching diseases is a legitimate concern here. What my vet told me was to wait until the 2nd shot and then have them walk in the center of the side walk, not near the buildings nor the trees.

The problem is that lots of dogs pee on the side of buildings or around/on the trees and an unvaccinated dog could sniff/lick that spot where other dogs have peed and leave contaminated mucus. Walking down the center of the sidewalk and avoiding poop would make the risk minimal according to the vet.
 

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Most vets are strict on saying to not taking a pup out until 16 weeks. Yet at the same time their crucial mental development happens around 6-14 weeks if I remember correctly. So trainers say take your pup out (safely, with precautions) So its up to you what you want to risk. Talk to your vet and see how prevalent diseases like Giardia, Parvo and Distemper are in your area.

I've been walking my pup pretty much since I got her at 8 weeks. I keep her away from dog parks, feces, pet stores and any areas that would see high dog traffic. Yet she goes to breweries, home depot, walks around the neighborhood, puppy socialization classes and patios of restaurants. I don't take her on hikes yet because no one picks up after their dogs on hikes, then lepto and heartworm (mosquitoes) are bad around the area where I hike.

I choose the small risk of her getting the diseases so I could appropriately socialize her. Its a hard choice to make but one that you ultimately have to decide.
 

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I live in a city where there are strays and possibly unvaccinated dogs. We had been taking our puppy on short walks, but the vet advised against it. Now we take him on our street and in our garden area outside of the apartment. I have taken him out with me and once we went to a children playground (not dog park). I watch him very carefully. Also, whenever he is out somewhere other than right in our usual area I clean his paws with baby wipes before coming inside. I believe it is important to socialize your puppy and let him experience the world. For instance at the park he was terrified, but after some time he relaxed a bit and stopped running straight for the car. He is also getting very eager to explore as previously he would hate being outside and now he runs for the street. Sometimes he just likes to sit there and observe. I would talk to your vet but know you CAN take your puppy outside. BTW I have a 4 month old Westie. Good luck!
 

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It depends on just how prevalent things like parvo, and distemper, are in your area. Also how many stray and unvaccinated dogs are around.

Where I live it's pretty safe to take a puppy around my immediate neighborhood, the dogs around here are well taken care of and up to date on their shots. I'd not take a puppy that wasn't fully vaccinated for a walk out of my neighborhood though. I'd still bring him places like pet shops, dog friendly stores, and parks (not dog parks) but not put him on the ground there until his vaccines are finished. I figure the puppy can still observe and smell plenty from my arms, lap, or a shopping basket. I'm a bit paranoid of distemper and parvo though, I've known 2 puppies with parvo and 1 with distemper. The parvo puppies pulled through with round the clock care by the owners, the distemper pup did not make it.
 
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In my opinion, people have gotten a bit over paranoid. I've always walked my puppies and taken them places. With caution of course, and avoided high dog traffic areas like dog parks. I would be more careful in places with a lot of parvo or unvaccinated dogs, but where I live, it's fairly safe. Puppies need a lot of socialization at that age, and with the appropriate caution, I think the benefits outweigh the risk.
 

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I don´t like the blanket statement dont take them out at all since it is such an important socialisation period. It depends heavily on the infection rate in your area and what kind of dog you have. Unless you have a very large breed you can carry it to places, introducing the pup to new sounds, sights and smells.

keep it away from faeces and strange dogs and try to find a socialisation class.
 

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The idea is that the puppy hasn't been fully vaccinated and immune to common dog diseases. However good exercise is important to good health, and exposure to different stimuli is important for good mental health.

In the end I think it is better to let the little guy get out in the world and get exposure, but do it smart. Avoid areas where other dogs of unknown health are or were. This means no doggie parks, and steering your dog away from random dog poo on your walks around the block. If you have friends with dogs and these dogs have all their shots, dewormed, etc then your pup can be fine playing with them.

Also, put the whole thing in perspective. Us humans have had dog companions for tens of thousands of years, and only recently have we been imposing this 15 week isolation policy.
 

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Personally I tend to err on the side of getting puppies out and about, but there is a very low incidence of diseases like distemper and parvovirus in my area. You just have to decide which risks you are more/less comfortable with.
 

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Contact your local vets and ask if there's been parvo outbreaks in the area. If not, then just be cautious but definitely go outside, go places and socialize! If there has been an outbreak, ask where, and avoid those places. If you have to, take your pup for a little drive and do your walking and socializing in the next town over if yours does have parvo.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for your replies. I live in a small, New England town where there are a lot of dogs, but also people here spend a LOT of money on their dogs (we have 5 high-end specialty pet food/boutique stores in one small town) so I imagine most dogs here are very well vetted. I will talk to my vet before we get the puppy and see what he says. There is also the option of walking the puppy on the beach where the water is constantly washing over the sand so I am guessing there wouldn't be a parvo risk there.
 
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