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Socialisation – Vaccination for Life

  • Experiences during the first weeks of a dog’s life make all the difference to future temperament and character
  • Taking the time to fully socialise your puppy can result in a friendly adult dog that enjoys the company of people, can be taken anywhere and lives life to the full
  • It is vital that, between three and 14 weeks of age, a puppy meets a wide variety of people, situations and other animals
  • A well run puppy class will help your pup learn that you are the most interesting thing in their life, and that other dogs are there to be played with only at appropriate times.

In the UK today, the biggest cause of death and rehoming in dogs under 5 is euthanasia from being unwanted due to behavioural problems. Whilst you would now swear that your adorable ball of fluff will never face this fate, statistically, it could be your dog. The good news is, there is so much you can do to avoid this.


There is currently a conflict between vaccination schedules and socialisation, with a new vaccine for leptospirosis meaning some dogs will not have “completed” their course before perhaps even 16 weeks. If you dog is kept inside your home during this time, it is the equivalent of keeping a human indoors until perhaps18 years, then taking them out and expecting them to cope well with their new world. The temperament of your dog is shaped in its first few weeks, and after around 14 weeks of age hardening of neural connections makes it much harder to happily accept new sights and sounds after this age. In some breeds, this “window of socialisation” is considered to have closed as early as 12 weeks, and you can’t get this time back. Most puppies won’t come from breeders who fully address socialisation, so it is up to you to protect your pup as quickly as possible.


Dogworthy absolutely supports full vaccination, but the advice given regarding protection can vary wildly. Occasionally I hear advice to keep your pup in the house completely until two weeks after the last jab, not even house training outside during this time (but would you be disinfecting your shoes every time you enter the house?). More progressive vets will give advice to cautiously expose and socialise your pup to the world but with a common-sense approach:

  • Avoid highly dog populated areas such as “dog parks,” entrances to parks, pet shop etc

  • Carry them where necessary and bring a blanket you can put them down on (what about veterinary surgeries – that’s where the sick pups go?)

  • You don’t know if a dog met in a park is vaccinated or not – you can’t ask them so be cautious!

  • Bring your own water bowl wherever you go

  • If you have more than one dog, consider where has he been today?

  • Ask your vet when the last case of these diseases was in this area.


At Dogworthy classes, we are insured to take unvaccinated dogs, however, depending on breed, our policy is to accept pups at least one week after their first vaccine. We can be sure that:

  • We know the vaccination status of all dogs in class

  • Our venues have very low dog traffic

  • Our venues and equipment is cleaned regularly with Anigene, a broad spectrum disinfectant known to kill Parvovirus

  • Our trainers are in close contact with vets and owners to hear of spikes in cases in the area

We consider socialisation to be vaccination against behavioural problems later in life. If you look at the numbers, early and effective training and socialisation is the single biggest thing you can do to ensure your pup has a happy, long life with you.

It can feel that there are as many ways of doing things are there are people to tell you. Consider where the motivation lies – vets are speaking from a medical perspective, we are speaking from a behavioural perspective. The good news is that we have both studied for many years and will review new studies as they emerge. Remember that people on TikTok and people who have “had dogs for years” most likely haven’t!

 Most importantly, make the decision that YOU feel most comfortable with.


See some links below to help you make your decision:

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