Preparing to bring home a puppy!
I see/read/hear this a lot.....
"oh i'll get them out / visit 'x' / once it's safe or once they're old enough."
For me, 'old enough' is NOW.
Contact your local vets and find out the risks in your area. Particularly for Parvo and other contagious diseases. If there have been no recent outbreaks reported in your area then i want you to get your puppy out right away.
This doesn't mean take them to a crowded dog park where its a free for all. But it does mean you should take them out to less dog populated places and let them see, hear, learn and explore.
People have the best of intentions and will kindly advise you that your puppy is too young to be out. Nod and smile. They have good intentions but I truly believe the pro's outweigh the con's. The puppies will receive their first vaccination at 6 weeks. They'll be 2 weeks in by the time they come home to you at 8 weeks old. They're either still covered by mums antibodies or hopefully that vaccination. The next one is usually for between 10-12 weeks. You don't want to keep your puppy home for a month. On the advice of the Aust. Vet. Assoc, (AVA) their last vaccination should be at 16 weeks. 4 months old!
You certainly don't want them staying housebound for 2 whole months! 8-12 weeks is a critical time for a puppy to be experiencing all the things you want them to take for 'normal'. 12-16 weeks the window is closing to really imprint all the things you need them to experience before a puppy fear phase could kick in and new experiences can actually scare them. General concensus is that by 16 weeks that window has closed. Don't take just my word for it. Here's one little handy link i could find straight off a google search which considers both arguments https://www.thelabradorsite.com/when-can-i-take-my-puppy-out/
I took my 8 week old puppy to Bunnings. I put her in a trolley with a bed, puppy pad on top and frozen water bottle. She met people, was loved and adored and fell asleep in the trolley to the sounds of everyday life.
I took her to a cafe where i held her on my lap, let her explore the garden and sit on the pavers. She shared my friends grilled cheese sandwich and even met a guy dressed up in a Mario Bros suit (seriously i couldn't have been more lucky. How often do you get to see people dressed up in those massive costumes?). Winter was held by a giant weird thing and patted by a pair of giant hands. It never occurred to her that it wasn't completely normal. She met my friends Aussie Shepherds, both a geriatric and a young one and learnt how to greet both.
We took her down the beach at 9 weeks and she ran along the beach off lead following the older dogs and exploring. She ran into the water, dug in the sand, climbed the wooden steps and slept like the dead afterwards.
We also took her to a carnival where there were crowds of people, other dogs and carnival rides. Lots of noise and sound. And she handled it like a complete pro.
I took her to visit my friendly chiropractor, who also treated dogs, so they were welcome in his rooms. She wasn't being treated, but she was patted and adored and even held by other clients while i was getting treatment. There was no way i was passing up that opportunity.
She also went to night dog shows and Agility comps and walked around and met dogs and people. Even before she was old enough to enter. And they can enter shows at 3 months old. Dog shows are amazing for teaching a dog how to behave, settle in a crate, and be around other dogs. It's awesome for teaching a puppy to work under distraction, which becomes a right beast to teach them when they're a little older, and you'll be thankful you put in the time to take them out when adolescence kicks in and they become willful teenagers, who don't need to listen to you.
All of these things she did well before her course of vaccinations were complete. I monitored her to make sure she wasn't overtaxed (which could potentially make her more susceptible to illness) and i kept her away from dog poo and anything that looked a bit too suss. (settled water, goopy mud and high traffic dog parks). But she's the best socialised dog i have now and i don't for a second regret the decisions i made.
Each of you have to make a choice, and i won't harp on about it too much if you choose a different route, but I really feel you're making your future more difficult than it needs to be if you don't commit to early socialisation. I urge you to get in touch with your local vets and find out the risks in your area. And to also do some independent research on the benefits of early experiences for your puppy. I'm sure once you do you'll agree that its in the best interests of you and your puppy to get them out early and often.