All dogs have a critical development period, this has established by many very reputable researcher as being during the 8 to 12 week age. During this period, the dog learns more about being a dog than any other period. There are many books on the subject, especially regarding bonding during this period. Is there truth to this 8 to 12 week period for basenjis, by all means! Basenjis deprived of interaction with other dogs during this period tend to be anti-social. Please socialize your puppy with all aspect of environment you plan expose him to. Make sure he / she has a positive experience. Continue this socialization long after the twelve weeks. We have found that basenjis often go thorough another imprint period at 10 to 18 months, when the adult hormones begin to peak.
As far as the vaccines are concern, these stimulate the body to produce antibodies. The goal with the series of vaccines is to continue this stimulation over a long enough period to trick the body to think it is under constant attack and thus should continue producing these antibodies all the time. While being stimulated, the pup is protected unless he is unable produce enough antibodies to fight off a serious attack. It is possible even a well vaccinated puppy can succumb to a disease, thou the odd are very minimal. How much stimulation there after is under debate, thus our current once a year booster. As for the pup’s first vaccines, there is much debate at to the effectiveness. A lot depends on when the mother stops nursing. The mother passes along maternal antibody in the milk to protect the pup, so the pup does not have to produce these on there own. There is a concern the pup may not produce their own antibodies when still protect by the mothers milk even if vaccinated. This is the reasoning behind not exposing your puppy to possible infections until the second shot. This exposure means more than just keeping him away from other dogs which maybe infected, it also means staying out of the area which infected dogs may have been and being careful of where your shoes have been.
We give our first vaccine at 7 weeks or so, depending on when mother totally stops nursing and follow up 3 weeks later for the second, thus two vaccines by ten weeks. We place our puppies at ten week. As far as staggered individual vaccines components, this is another debate. The theory is that we are asking the pup's body to produce antibodies for too many diseases at once, an over stimulation which is not natural, and can be stressful to the immune system. The other side contends we have years of vaccination which has proven this is not an issue except in a very very small portion of the population. Vet’s tending to side on caution, and their income. It’s been a very interesting debate.