Taking your Shih Tzu puppy outside on a walk is a great form of socialization. Socialization is an important part of puppyhood. But, it is best to wait to take your puppy on a walk outside of your home perimeter after the puppy shots are complete. Your Shih Tzu puppy may come in contact with a disease if he or she goes on a walk through the neighborhood before the puppy vaccination series is done at 16-18 weeks.
I recommend outdoor socialization take place in a safe area of your yard until vaccines are complete. You can carry your puppy in your arms during walks off property to keep all 4 paws off the floor. Or, you can purchase a puppy stroller for trips around the block. The goal is to avoid harmful pathogens until inoculations are complete.
This doesn’t mean you cannot work on leash walking. Feel free to put a harness and leash on your Shih Tzu puppy and start walking around your yard. You will probably notice that your puppy doesn’t know exactly what to do on a walk anyways. This is a good time to teach the basics. By the time basic leash walking skills are understood puppy shots will most likely be complete.
It is important to also do a quick check of your yard before bringing your Shih Tzu puppy outside. Make sure there are no snakes, scorpions, coyotes, hawks, etc on property. I always recommend going outdoors with your Shih Tzu. It isn’t safe for your puppy or adult Shih Tzu for that matter to be outdoors alone in Arizona. Check out my article on Arizona wildlife to learn more on protecting your Shih Tzu from animals that may enter your property.
If you live in an area where wildlife may gain access to the yard it may be best to section off a small area of the yard for outside time until shots are done. Animals such as Coyotes may carry Parvovirus which can be deadly to puppies that have yet to complete the vaccine series. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
There are plenty of socialization opportunities that your puppy can participate in while waiting to complete puppy vaccines. Indoor socialization with other dogs is a great way to keep your puppy busy and happy. Check out the video above for instance of a past litter of Shih Tzu Puppies from my breeding program having a puppy party. Although these puppies weren’t yet fully inoculated they were still able to socialize with one another.
It is also okay to socialize your Shih Tzu puppy with other dogs as long as you know their temperament and vaccine status. The goal is to avoid unvaccinated animals until the puppy shots are complete. Just be sure to go slow with dog introductions. Not all adult dogs are fond of jumpy puppies. Feel free to check out my blog article on how to Introduce dogs to one another. Once vaccines are complete, puppy socialization classes and training are a great way to continue the socialization process and set your Shih Tzu puppy up for success!