As soon as you bring your puppy home, he can go outside, with some important considerations to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know about navigating puppyhood and determining how and when to take him outside.
When You First Bring a Puppy Home
When you first bring your puppy home, it is safe to bring him outside, especially within the confines of your own yard. You should take your puppy outside to use the bathroom every few hours. If you have a yard, your puppy should have no problems exploring, with your supervision. If you have to walk him outside on a leash, you should closely monitor your surroundings.
Between 8 and 12 weeks is a crucial socialization time for puppies. According to PetMD, puppies are most accepting of new experiences during this time. As your puppy gets older, it becomes increasingly more difficult for him to accept things he’s afraid of. Therefore, as soon as you bring your puppy home, you want to expose him to as many people, places, and things as you can. If you keep your dog inside, he’ll miss out on this important period of socialization. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), missing out on this phase can lead to behavior problems as he grows.
You should start by bringing him outside to use the bathroom, play in the yard, and go for walks around the neighborhood. You can also expose him to loud and different objects around the house like suitcases, umbrellas, and vacuum cleaners. Bring in people and pets that you know and trust. Then you can begin to venture to clean public areas like malls and cafes. You can enroll your dog in a puppy class, but he should have had at least one round of vaccines before attending. If you’re walking with your dog in a public area that looks unsafe or unclean, pick your dog up.
Do not let your dog interact dogs you don’t know for an extended period of time until he has had his last round of vaccinations. You also will want to avoid areas frequented by other dogs like dog parks, hiking trails, etc. Until your dog has had his last set of vaccinations (typically 14-16 weeks), he is safe to be outside but at a greater risk of disease. Keep this in mind as you work on his socialization.
Can I Take My Puppy Outside After the First Vaccination?
After your puppy’s initial vaccination, you should make sure that he does not have an adverse reaction. If all goes well, it’s still best to wait a few days before letting your dog interact with any other dogs outside. While your puppy will still need to complete his vaccination regimen, even after the first dosage, he should be fine to do some exploring in the outside world.
Nevertheless, it’s best to stick to dogs and areas you know. If you have a backyard, you can let your dog spend as much time there as possible, to let him exercise and experience new stimuli. Keeping your puppy in a controlled area will decrease his risk of catching a disease. According to the AVMA, puppies may freely enroll in a puppy or socialization class after their first vaccination as long as it’s held indoors and the other dogs attending the class are free from illness. Even after the first vaccine, it’s best to avoid highly trafficked and public areas. Your dog is more likely to catch an infection or disease in these areas and his immune system is not fully prepared just yet.
Again, this socialization period is crucial to your puppy’s future. Safely exposing him to as much as possible will prevent the likelihood of behavior issues later in life like separation anxiety and aggression. If you’re unsure of the socialization timeline after your dog’s vaccinations, ask your veterinarian for tips.
Can I Take My Puppy Outside At 8 Weeks?
Generally, puppies should remain with their litter until at least 8 weeks of age. Most puppies go to their forever homes between 8-10 weeks. This is also the crucial period of puppy socialization.
If you receive your puppy at 8 weeks, you can safely take him outside, but with precautions. You should take your puppy outside to use the bathroom and start activities in the home. The AVMA states that activities should be limited to areas that are not used by unvaccinated animals. At this age, your puppy’s vaccinations are not complete and he has very little left of his mother’s immune system.
Furthermore, you should avoid contact with dogs of unknown temperament, health, or vaccination status, as well as areas that could be soiled or harbor diseases like parks or woods. While your puppy is still this young, socialization classes and known dogs are great opportunities for exposure experiences, as long as the playmates are vaccinated. You should continue to take these precautions through your dog’s vaccinations. Once your puppy has had his final round of vaccinations (typically 14-16 weeks), you can extend the areas and dogs that he is exposed to.
Overall, your puppy can go outside as soon as you bring home. You do not have to wait to take your puppy outside. Keep in mind, however, that your puppy is not fully vaccinated and his immune system is not fully functional. Ensure that you take the necessary precautions and your puppy should be fine. This is a period of socialization you do not want to miss out on. Therefore, exposure to new dogs, environments, and experiences should be balanced with caution and care.
Author Bio – James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast and owner of Release the Hounds, a professional dog walking and boarding company in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his company, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners.