Puppy is now home with you! Please continue to give puppy lots of good learning experiences! These are basically the last two weeks of prime socializing time for your little “sponge”!
Introduce him or her to lots of different people (young, old and in-between), the postal delivery person, the UPS driver, grandpa at the nursing, the kids at school when you pick up your children, etc. If you like to go boating, take your puppy with you (get an appropriately sized life-vest too). If your family hikes, take puppy hiking, but please be aware that you will most likely be carrying your puppy most of the way. Little puppy joints should not be overworked at this age! A few yards of happy walking and then the rest tucked in a backpack to keep puppy safe. If you like to camp, take your puppy with you and set up an exercise pen in the campground next to your tent or camper.
Basically, you’re trying to expose your puppy to as many things, people, experiences, etc during this time. But remember, bad experiences can have a lasting impact too, so keep puppy safe and never force something on your puppy that would traumatize him/her.
Also, remember that your puppy is not fully protected from parvo-virus and distemper until about a week after it has completed its puppy shots at about 16 weeks of age.
So you wouldn’t want to take your puppy to a dog park, a public park, walking down your neighborhood sidewalk, etc. Anywhere where a stray, sick dog may have passed and left behind those deadly germs.
But there are lots of dog-friendly stores (places like Home Depot, Lowe’s etc.) you can take your puppy into to continue the fun socialization process. (You can Google “dog-friendly stores” to find more.) Plus there might be local places you can take them, just check with the management first. Our two local farm/feed stores are very pet-friendly. Just remember if you take your puppy into a place like your local feed store or PetsMart for instance, that you wouldn’t want to do any nose-to-nose contact with other pets because of the risk of exposure to diseases and the possibility of your puppy having a harmful experience (mentally or physically) with another dog. And when visiting any stores with your (not completely vaccinated) puppy, I would suggest you take a dog bed or blanket to put in the grocery cart and let your puppy ride in there instead of walking in with you.
Another great thing you can do for your puppy at the stage is to get them enrolled in a puppy socialization class. Please do some research before-hand to find a class where positive re-enforcement is used to give your puppy the very best. A puppy class should be a safe place in a contained environment with other healthy, vaccinated puppies which should have a great impact on your puppy’s life in a safe place.
Or better yet, take advantage of our partners at Baxter and Bella for some wonderful online training resources!