Socialization during COVID

We will be getting our puppy on Nov. 21st. I'm concerned about two things: parvo & socializing during OUR social distancing. We are now living in an apartment with no private yard. After Thanksgiving (approximately a week after bringing our puppy home), we'll be moving to a house with a yard. Any suggestions on how to protect the puppy from parvo while still at the apartment? I read one suggestion that said to call the vets near us to see if there had been any cases of Parvo. We have several grassy areas as well as some with only bark and of course sidewalks and streets. We've never brought a puppy home to an apartment before. It makes me very nervous. We have an older doodle and had another one until March, right before we moved. We chose this complex because it is such a dog friendly area. 

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  • Is there any possibility of your breeder keeping the puppy an extra week or so? I would think that under the circumstances, a decent human being who cared about the welfare of her puppies would be happy to accomodate that. I know most doodle breeders want $ for every minute they have to feed or care for a puppy past the "pick up" day, but maybe some arrangements could be made? I think that might work best for all concerned. 

    • Thank you for the advice, but I'm not even going to ask the breeder to do that. She's already requested everyone pick up puppies a few days before their 8th week, because she has another dog who will most likely deliver the weekend of the 21st. She has been adamant about pick-up dates. I do appreciate your response. 

      • I'm sorry to hear that. In my experience, (which is considerable), puppies need every minute of that 6-8 week period with their mothers and litters in order to develop bite inhibition. 
        A doodle breeder being 'adamant" about pick-up dates doesn't surprise me one bit. 

        • Agree. While searching for a breeder, that was one of the main requirements I looked for. Unfortunately, the situation with the date of our breeder's second female's litter being born a few days before their 8th week presented the problem. The first choice breeder wasn't going to have a small-size litter for another year or so. I probably would not have gone with this particular breeder if my first choice didn't know and recommend her. 

          All will be fine, I know. We may even have access to the house by the time we get the puppy. All the dates have not been decided as yet. Again I appreciate your comments. Was hoping someone may have had an experience bringing a puppy home to an apartment and had some helpful advice. 

  • I know some people have had success making a little "potty area" out on a balcony if you have one.  It would only be temporary since you'd be moving to the new place with a yard soon after bringing pup home, so something to consider.  Something like a small artificial grass mat over some pee pads might work.  That way pup gets the idea of "asking out" but without having to expose them to other dogs.

    • Exactly what I was thinking! We DO have a nice deck. I'd thought of putting some pee pads out there but never thought about artificial grass. BRILLIANT!! Thank you.

  • I'm feeling annoyance on your behalf that the breeder's kicking out the puppy before they even turn 8 weeks.  That's kind of irresponsible and sometimes litters don't line up perfectly, but that's her job to deal with it anyway.  In any case, that's not an answer to your question.  I like the potty on the balcony idea and it should work fine for a week.

    As far as socialization, it all depends on your comfort level. Parvo is "everywhere" but I can't handle the idea of keeping my puppy hidden inside out of fear and if you are careful you can minimize your risk.  I'll share what I did for socialization and maybe that will give you some ideas or spark new ones that fit your comfort level.  Our vet would have preferred we went NOWHERE, but I couldn't chance a dog afraid of the world because he'd been kept out of it for his first 4.5 months.  In my area, parvo supposedly spikes in fall but I don't know if that's true.  We were done with shots around the first day of fall:

    - Friend's yard to meet some people and her very nice dog. Easy to stay physically distant in a yard, you can wear or not wear masks as you see fit. 
    - A couple friends came to our yard for a meet and greet
    - Front yard "TV" where we sat on a blanket on our front lawn and watched traffic, passerby, bikes, etc.
    - In-arms trip to Farmer's market
    - Cart trips to Home Depot -- wiped down cart and put a blanket on the bottom to make it more comfy.  Took lots of treats to help make it positive.  Because those carts can be rumbly, we moved slowly and then would just stand in one spot, pump puppy full of treats and slowly move to a new spot.  
    - visit to a friend's farm where puppy met her husband and teen son, alpacas, chicken and a small dog he played with.
    - trips to my office (carried him to the door) and there is very little traffic inside and no dog has ever been in my office besides my own.
    - trips to a safe building with an elevator for a ride (carried him into the building)

    After 12 week shots we:
    - walked up and down the street just in front of the house
    - local private university grounds
    - walk in Hobby Lobby
    - farther down my street
    - friend's yard sale before other people got there
    - a family with a bunch of little kids because he showed me that he was unsure about toddlers so I needed to expose him to more of them.
    - And we had another friend and their dog come to our yard and we visited a different new friend and her puppy.  

    • To add to that I'll say what one of my neighbors is doing.  He has a young Golden puppy who will be trained as a service dog, I think they are a Guardian family for puppy.

      They have been posting on Facebook saying "Please come walk by our house and "meet" our puppy during X time!  Funny hats, strollers etc. are encouraged.  No physical touching will be allowed.".  

      They've had pretty good luck but we live in a pretty dense suburb with lots of people who are working from home these days so easy for visitors to come by.

      I think the exposure that puppy is getting is probably doing wonders.


      • That's great!  Puppy doesn't have to interact or TOUCH 100 people to learn to be comfy around people.  

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