This is a great question that was a comment on one of my YouTube videos. The short answer is "Yes, But Follow These Rules To Stay Safe."
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Welcome to Puppy Talk, episode number 59. Today I want to talk about an important question I received on my YouTube channel regarding potty training your puppy before they have all their shots. In other words, this lady's comment was that her vet said that her puppy could not go outside until it was 16 weeks old. It had its third round of boosters and its rabies vaccine. So I want to talk about that in this episode and give you enough information to decide whether or not to take your puppy outside safely, what the risks may be before they have all of their vaccines, and any information that I've found online related to this topic, including the links of this information in the show notes. Let's get started. Just to remind you, I am a dog trainer. I am not a vet. I am not trying to start a disagreement with your vet.
My job is only to provide information that I find online in this episode and provide you feedback of what I have found from my own dogs and the dogs that I have trained. The bottom line is if your vet says that you should not take your dog outside, you probably have to listen to your vet. This is unfortunate. I may disagree with it, but you're gonna have to make the final decision. Try not to rely on this information and bring it back to your vet to have an argument happen and have them contact me or something legal against me that I'm doing wrong. So that's a disclaimer. I release all liability of anything that can happen to your puppy in public, in the grass, while you're trying to potty train them. Here is an article I found on a website called pawsgeek.com. I'll put the link in the show notes.
It's titled, Can I Take My Puppy Outside before it is Vaccinated in quotes, Yes, but follow these rules to stay safe. It continues with this statement. You brought your puppy home and want to show him to the world he wants to play, and you need to start potty training as soon as possible. However, he hasn't finished his puppy vaccinations yet. Is it safe for him to go outside the next paragraph in bold letters within reason? It is completely safe for your puppy to go outside before it is vaccinated. While there is a very low chance of your puppy contracting an illness from playing in the yard or going on a walk, minimize any canine socialization until after his shots are complete. So what they're saying there is if you have a yard, it's probably okay for your puppy to go in the yard. You don't wanna socialize your puppy with other dogs that may not be vaccinated and may have some type of disease that is unknown. You wanna wait till your puppy is fully
Vaccinated. In other words, you're not taking your dog to the dog park <laugh>. You're not taking your dog to daycare. You're not taking your dog to places like that, but if it's in your own yard, it should be okay. My puppy, Dixie got Giardia, which is a parasite several times when she was a very young puppy because there was a lot of contaminated feces in the grass of the apartment community where she lived. Our vet said, Use P pads inside the house. Don't take her outside. And I said, No, I'm not gonna do that. If she gets Giardia and she has a little bit of diarrhea, that's okay. It's worth it because she's already potty trained outside. She's not gonna use P pads, and this is what I teach my clients to go potty outside. He understood that, and he went along with it and everything ended up fine.
She's three years old in February, and she's completely fine. Now, the thing is, when you start taking your puppy to other areas that you don't know what dog feces are there or other animals, feces or other animals', diseases are in the grass. This is the problem. If you have a yard with a fence, especially a backyard that no other dogs have been in, it should be fine. Here's another article I found on thepamperedpup.com titled, When Can Puppies Go Outside? Because there's another element to this potty training issue of taking your puppy outside. It's socialization. As I've said in many other episodes and on articles that I've written and in my book, The Complete Puppy Training Manual, the critical period for socializing Your puppy is gonna be from eight to 16 weeks old and even from four to eight weeks old from the breeder.
Here's what this article says "When you get a puppy, not everyone understands how important socializing a dog is to his development. We all know to feed him and play with him, but you also need to teach him how to interact with other animals as well as people in his environment. This will help him understand what is safe in the world as well as appropriate behavior for him around others." This is a great article. It even says there, By the time the puppy is 16 weeks old, the socialization period has ended. You have to socialize your puppy before 16 weeks old. Most new puppy owners receive their puppy at eight weeks old, so you've got eight weeks to socialize your puppy and take them outside. Potty training is a form of socialization. It gets them out of the house. The next section of this article goes on to say this,
When you decide it's time to take your new puppy outside, it's important to find how the vaccine he needs work in the decision making process. A puppy shot schedule usually consists of several injections with the same vaccine at six in eight weeks. The vaccines are repeated every eight weeks until your puppy is 16 weeks old. Then it goes on to say how to protect your puppy. Get your puppy all its vaccines as recommended by your vet. Do not take your puppy to a place that other dogs tend to frequent like a pet store or dog park. Make sure to carry your puppy in and out of the vet. Do not let your puppy interact with any animal feces as he is walking, and don't let him interact with other dogs. If you aren't aware of their vaccination history. Always make sure that the other dogs in your home are current on their vaccines, and the last bullet point is only let your puppy access a fenced yard or one bounded by an invisible dog fence. If your neighbor has a dog, make sure to let them know your P has not been completely vaccinated yet, and then it goes on to talk about socializing your puppy, which is very similar principles as potty training your puppy.
You need to get your puppy socialized. You need to get your puppy potty trained. If you are adamant about following the rules of your vet, and your vet says, Absolutely no way your dog's gone in any grass until they've had all of their vaccines. Trust me on this, and you've used this vet before and you're not changing your stance. Here is one final option, a separate episode. I talked about this. It's called Fresh Patch. It's real green grass patches that you can get in two feet, four feet, and so forth. You get these patches. They're shipped to you every two weeks. You put them on your back porch or your front porch. You have them go potty on the fresh patch to learn the texture of the soil, learn the smell of the grass, and to go on the grass. I strongly advise you not to use pee pads in the house.
If your vet says, You've got to not take your puppy to the grass, please do not use pee pads inside the house because every time I go to a client's house to train a puppy and they're not potty trained, they've always used P pads in the house, and the puppy has associated that going in the house is what they're supposed to do. They've actually been trained to go in the house. Now we have to try to reverse that and take it outside. It's very, very hard to do once the puppy has learned to go potty inside. I hope this information was helpful. As always, you can contact me in three different ways through the website, puppy talk podcast.com through my new website, Puppy training.dog, and through my dog training website, top gun dog training.com. Also, be sure to check out my new book, The Complete Puppy Training Manual. The link is in the show notes. It's available on Amazon. Have a great day.