Socialising Your Unvaccinated Puppy

Read our advice for coping with and starting to socialise your puppy at home whilst it is unvaccinated.

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Socialising your unvaccinated puppy is important. We share tips on how to socialise your puppy and introduce them to their new family.

Socialising Your Unvaccinated Puppy Outside

While your puppy still can be carried, take them out with you daily. This will help them to be exposed to the outside world of noise and seeing things. You can also take them out in a doggy buggy/pram. This is all part of the important phase of puppy socialisation and habituation skills that puppies require between the ages of 3-15 weeks.

Do not let your puppies walk outside as the risk of parvovirus and leptospirosis with unvaccinated puppies is high.

Habituation Skills For Puppies

Noise Phobia

Introducing your puppy to loud noises and scary sounds from a young age can get them used to them and help reduce them developing a noise phobia. Dogs Trust offer sound therapy advice (with free soundtracks to download), which you can use as part of your training.

Dressing Up

Introduce your puppy to different items of clothing such as hats, helmets, umbrellas, high vis jackets etc. Walk around your house and garden wearing them so puppies can get use to people looking different.

Entertaining Your Unvaccinated Puppy

Scatter Feeding

Brighten up feeding times and use them as time to entertain your puppy. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, the food could be scattered around the garden, patio or in a room of the house so your puppy has to wander around finding its food.

Slow feeders are another option, so puppy has to work out how to get the food. These are a great mental stimulus and can help keep puppy entertained for longer.


Puppies need things to chew – providing them with lots of different options prevents them choosing inappropriate things to chew. Examples of things you could use include:

  • Frozen slices of apple and carrots
  • Cardboard boxes with treats hidden inside
  • Plastic drinks bottles with top removed place food treats inside for puppy to move around and treats fall out.

Play Hide and Seek

Get one person to hold the puppy, while another goes and hides with some tasty treats. Start simple by just going into another room and calling puppy to you. Once puppy finds you reward them with treats.

You can then start to make the game harder by hiding behind furniture or curtains.

Command Training

As puppies are currently unable to attend any training classes it is important you start some training at home. Keep the training session short, at about 10 minutes at a time.

Start by teaching commands such as “sit” and “down”. You can then progress to making puppy stay in position for longer each time before a reward is given.

Trick training can also be started at an early age. Some simple exercises you could do are:

  • Teaching them to follow a treat though your legs
  • Following a treat in a circle to teach a spin.

Getting Puppies Used To Being Around Children

Children can form strong positive relationships with your puppy, but these can easily go wrong without you realising there is a problem.

Prevent over excited running and chasing games. While puppy is small it will be fun, but as puppy grows up bigger and stronger these games will lead to children being injured or scared as dogs jump up and nip.

Encourage children to be involved in command training, and play with toys that can be removed if puppy gets over excited.

Remember, if it is getting all too much separate puppy with a chew toy or food treats into their safe haven.

Provide A Safe Haven for Your Unvaccinated Puppy

Remember puppies can start to misbehave when they get tired or over excited so they need time out on their own to relax.

Providing a crate, puppy pen or separated area in the house using stair gates will mean you can have time apart. This place is not a punishment and it must be an area where the puppy wants to go.

To achieve this do not tell puppies off and pick them up to place them in the area. Instead use food treats and toys to lure into area. When your puppy  follows you can reward them for this behaviour.

If you have any concerns about socialising your unvaccinated puppy, please contact your local practice to book an appointment.

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