Before diving into the steps of socializing your puppy, it's important to make sure you first consider their health. While you can try your best to be a responsible pet owner, you never know the health status of other dogs your puppy may cross paths with. Because of this, it’s important for your puppy to be fully vaccinated before going into a public setting with other dogs. This includes a distemper-parvo combination vaccine, as well as a rabies vaccine.
This can take up to four months, leaving owners at 16 weeks before socializing the puppy with other dogs. If you are set on socializing your puppy before they have received all 3 series of vaccines, you can contact local puppy training facilities to see if they offer any classes for puppies currently undergoing their vaccine process.
Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, it is safe to begin the socialization process in a controlled setting. A controlled setting can mean a public puppy training class, within the safety of your own backyard, or even with a well-behaved pup in the park while they are both leashed. It’s so important to have control in any socialization setting, meaning you should always have every animal on a leash while you are learning their responses to other dogs.