There is always the argument of vaccination over socialisation? It is important to keep up with vaccinations and not to take them anywhere of 'high risk' if your are planning on taking out your puppy before finishing vaccinations. I believe socialising is so important and so many dogs miss out on this sensitive period due to the length between their first vaccinations.
We took Annabelle around different places by carrying her at first. This was before her full set of vaccinations. This meant people giving her puppy treats (that we provided).
From a rescue background I saw a lot of dogs with behavioural problems that could have been easily prevented, this is why getting your new dog used to different things as soon as possible is so important. These experiences must be positive and not cause fear in your puppy, this avoids potentially becoming reactive to things in later life. Especially stimulus that they won't come into contact very often. I got Annabelle being rewarded for when she behaved calmly and voluntarily walking up to strange items, such as wheelchairs, pushchairs, tall people, people with hats, people in noisy clothes, I got all these people and children feeding Annabelle treats so she has no fear and realises that strangers are a good thing. As well as a variety of dogs, different temperaments and different sizes. I kept meetings with new dogs quite short, but always ended the meeting when the both dogs were content, I always rewarded for behaving in a calm, correct way towards the other dog. It is important that dogs learn correct dog communication, this sets them up for life. I plan to continue socialising well into her adult life and beyond. A lot of people make the mistake of only socialising as puppy, but I always say continue socialising until at least 2/3 years old, this sets up for a well rounded, confident dog.
Luckily we have cats living with us as well, so she is socialised with them too, this includes not chasing them and realising they have sharp claws. It's a work in progress getting them to be friends, but each day is an improvement, trick is to be patient and not to give up when doing any form of training or socialising.
We also sit patiently, not talking to her but letting her be calm in her own time in a new environment, this means she adjusts in her own time and learns that nothing bad will happen, then when her body language appears calm, we reward her. We never force her into anything, we let her do things at her pace, this will help grow her confidence.
Taking her to the groomers and vets will be important steps too, this doesn't mean to just take them when they need to go, but good experiences at these places need to outweigh the bad times. Taking them to these places, giving them fuss and food treats and playing with them at these places help them to associate these places with something good. Get the staff to reward your puppy, so they like been around the people that work there and are happy to be handled by them, get them used to being handled and pretending they are having their ears, mouths, eyes examined and cut, but it is important that your puppy shows no fear and finds the experience enjoyable.
Next blog coming soon on other aspects of a puppy's life.