After agonising over the pros and cons of early socialisation and seeking veterinary advice on the subject, I ultimately decided to allow our puppy Lila to play host to a few fully immunised canine guests during the month before her second vaccination at twelve weeks. I didn’t want to isolate her during that critical period of development and risk her becoming a social misfit (in the doggy world). I therefore set about inviting the kindest of dogs with the most accommodating of owners to our home. Lila learned a lot. And she remained disease-free.

With her second vaccination finally under her belt, we headed off to a puppy preschool with the expectation of plenty of opportunity for her to mingle. To my amazement, most of the other owners were even more protective of their pups than I! Strangely so. Every time our sweet little chocolate Lab approached, the owners would swiftly reel in their charges. Terribly disappointing for Lila. And for me. The puppies were expected to line up like robots while the instructor delivered a lecture. (Lila couldn’t be bothered with this and would instead take great pains to distract the puppy sitting quietly next to her and invariably annoy its owner.)