Puppy Kindergarten FAQ

How do continuous Puppy Kindergarten classes work?

Our Puppy Kindergarten classes run all the time. Instead of a whole group of puppies starting a new class on the same day, start dates are staggered  and space for new puppies to start is created when current puppies graduate. There are many benefits to this format:

  • We can get you started as soon as possible – no need to wait for the next class to start!
  • Your puppy will have the opportunity to socialize with a variety of other puppies, instead of the same group for all six weeks of your class.
  • Puppies and handlers approaching graduation are good role models for those just starting, giving brand new puppy parents a view of where they’ll be in just a few short weeks and creating a supportive, collegial (dare we say “heartwarming”?) environment.
  • We can set a start date that works best for you! Although you must attend six consecutive weeks of class once you begin, you can start on the week that fits your schedule best.

Our pre-class orientation and lesson plans are carefully designed so you can start class any week and not be behind. Our experienced, professional dog trainers can’t wait to welcome you to class!

How many puppies are in a class?

The maximum number of puppies in Puppy Kindergarten class is six. For a more specific number, just ask us when you register!

My puppy will be 5 months old by the time they graduate. Are they still eligible?

Yes! Your puppy only needs to be under four months when they start Puppy Kindergarten class; their age at graduation doesn’t matter.

My puppy isn’t done with her vaccines. Can she come to class?

Yes! The critical socialization period (that socialization period you always hear about) ends between three and four months, depending on the dog. After 3 or 4 months of age, puppies become much more wary of new experiences, and thus much harder to socialize properly. Unfortunately, 4 months of age is when most puppies are done with their vaccine series. This means that it’s actually imperative to get your puppy into class before their vaccines are done. We keep the training center very clean (click here for our disinfection and hygiene practices), and do not allow unvaccinated or ill dogs to come inside. It is as safe, or likely safer, than your vet’s office. Click here to read more about how puppy socialization and vaccine protocols should go together.

On that note, how do you clean the training center?

Each week we sanitize the floors with Rescue Disinfectants. We also clean up any “accidents” with Rescue disinfectant. We see vaccine records for every dog who goes through the training center, and on the very rare occasion that a client brings a dog who is ill or acting lethargic to class, we will ask them to leave. Each dog gets their own paper water bowl (there is no communal water bowl), which is recycled after class. If we loan you a stuffed toy, towel, or food puzzle toy (like a Kong,) it is washed in the washing machine and dryer (or dishwasher, for Kongs) before being returned to the training center. If you have any questions about cleaning protocols, please ask – we are happy to answer them!

What’s the difference between socializing and training?

Socialization is the process by which a baby animal learns about its environment – what’s safe, what’s dangerous, what looks dangerous but is actually safe – generally, how to function appropriately and stay calm in different situations. Contrary to popular belief, “socialization” isn’t about other dogs – it’s about all the things in the world that you want your adult dog to handle gracefully. Dogs aren’t born understanding how to handle the various sounds, animals, people, places, objects, and obstacles that they will encounter in a human society for the rest of their lives, and they have a very short window in which to learn those things (by the time they’re 3 or 4 months old, it’s over), so we need to make the most of that time!  This is why we use the Operation Socialization system – to pack as much socialization in as we can, while having fun!

Training is usually the term that people use when they mean they want their dog to learn to sit, down, stay, heel, and come. While we do address those things in Puppy class, and your puppy will come away with some nice obedience skills, our first priority during puppyhood is always confidence and socialization, because if your puppy is afraid of the world due to lack of socialization, she could have the finest manners in the West … and no one will ever see it because she’s too overwhelmed to perform. If you want a well-trained dog, you need to have a well-socialized dog first.

I have another dog at home. Isn’t that enough?

No. Did you have siblings growing up? What if you had never played with any other kids, as a child? Would only interacting with your sibling be enough to develop good social skills as an adult? Developmentally, a 4-month-old Labrador Retriever is about equivalent to a 10-year-old child. What if you hadn’t left the house until you were 10 years old? Would you be well-adjusted? We didn’t think so.

Can my kids/spouse/parents/dogsitter attend class?

Yes, absolutely! The more the merrier. School-aged kids do best in Puppy Kindergarten class; toddlers and pre-schoolers find it boring and get restless and irritated. Even school-aged kids might want to bring something to do if they get bored. Older kids make GREAT dog trainers. Bring the whole family, because if everyone is on the same page, your dog training will go that much faster and smoother!

Click here to get started training NOW!