Man, will I ever NOT worry about socialization? If it's not my poor, sheltered, un-socialized homeschooled kids (joking!), it's the puppy. Just like with children, socialization is crucial for puppies. Unfortunately, at 8 weeks old, Luna isn't fully vaccinated and isn't technically supposed to leave our house and yard. But I'm certainly not waiting for two whole months to socialize her, because that critical fear-imprinting window will have closed by then. Thankfully, there are ways to get around that.
Luna has come with us to Lowes, Petco, and Petsmart, riding in the cart while we shop (usually taking a little longer than we would otherwise, because we get stopped a lot by fellow shoppers). She gets to see different, unfamiliar things, and meet different, unfamiliar people, all from the safety of her towel-lined cart.
We've gone through the drive-thru, even though it wasn't quite lunchtime, just so she'd have the experience (and yes, we did get a cup of water just for her). She usually naps on the way home, 'cause shopping is tiring.
Some socializing we do at home. We've spent time wearing large and/or funny hats so she won't be scared of people in hats. We usually listen to a recording of rain and thunder as we fall asleep, so there's thunder taken care of (though I did read a suggestion to rub your dog with a dryer sheet if a thunderstorm is approaching, because most of the time, they're freaked out about the static electricity in their coats rather than the noise). We've spent lots of time out back listening to the birds, and out front, we watch lots of different types of cars drive by. We even got to see Tru-Green spraying a neighbor's lawn, and a front end loader doing some work across the street.
This evening, we went to a farmer's market and just carried her the whole way (so no pics, sorry). She got lots of pets from a wide variety of people, saw a 3 month old puppy (no contact, though), and heard plenty of car horns. Tomorrow we're having friends over. I have a few repeat and prospective dog-sitting clients who I need to do meet-and-greets with, so we'll hopefully set those up next week or the week after, so she learns to accept other dogs into our house.
Whew. I forgot how much work puppies are! I've got to look up puppy classes, too. Petsmart does them starting at 10 weeks, but honestly, I'm not thrilled with the idea of a Petsmart trainer. Although, it's the puppies I care about, not so much the training at this point. We'll see.