Socialization is to...
teach puppies to live without fear in human society and behave in a way that's not disruptive.
How do we do that?
We teach puppies through positive experience. Pups learn that most things in our society are not threats. They may look, sound, act and smell like threats but they are just part of the human experience.
I hear the same story again and again...
"We were told to wait until 4 months to socialize."
Most Veterinarians I speak with now are on the same page with "Safe" early socialization that does not expose puppies to dog germs.
Here's what the professionals say
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)
Link to document Puppy Socialization Position Statement
Quote: "American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated. Puppies should be about the same age and have the same level of vaccinations if they play together.
Humane Society of the United (HSUS)
Limit risks, while allowing puppies to play.
Quote: "Skills not acquired during the first eight weeks may be lost forever."
Link to article "Puppy Behavior Basics" on HSUS.org web site.
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Quote: "Socialization classes can offer excellent opportunities to properly socialize puppies, but there is a disease risk. To reduce the risk, puppies in the classes should be of similar age and vaccination history and should be examined and found to be healthy by a veterinarian prior to starting classes. The puppy's first vaccine should be administered at least seven days prior to the first class."
Link to article "Puppy Socialization and the Risk of Disease" on AKC.org web site.
Not socializating puppies can increase fear as they get older.
Fear can lead to biting
Biting can cost money and sorrow
How your dog's fear can hurt your wallet.
To be even more clear: Fear can lead to biting. Biting leads to even more behavior work ($ ching ching $) or worse, you get taken to court for your dogs actions and or your dog goes bye-bye forever.
Socialization and Training are insurance against most behavior issues later.
It will reduce your chances of being liable for your dog's inappropriate actions.
It will increase the likelihood of your dog being the exact dog you always wanted.
Trainers actually see these issues with clients who don't socialize. I'm not trying to scare you. Just giving you the inside information on what really happens in the world of dogs. Starting to see why I think risk of not socializing may be worse than risk of dog germs? It's your choice, I'll work with you whatever you choose to do.