How many puppies are in a class?
My puppy will be 5 months by the time they graduate. Are they still eligible?
Yes! Your puppy only needs to be younger than four months when they start Puppy 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, and do not allow unvaccinated or ill dogs to come inside. It is as safe for your puppy, or likely safer, than your vet’s office. Click here to read more about puppy socialization and vaccine protocols.
On that note, how do you clean the training center?
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? Wouldn’t only interacting with your sibling be enough to develop good social skills as an adult? To use an example: developmentally, a 4 month old Labrador Retriever is about equivalent to a 10 year old child. What if you didn’t leave the house until you were 10 years old? 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 much faster and smoother!