Even before you take that cute bundle of fur home, your puppy has been exposed to training from his or her mom, siblings, and the environment in which he or she was raised. If you want to continue your puppy’s training and help him or her get off on the right paw, you need to find and enroll in a puppy socialization class.
There was a time when veterinarians were concerned with communicable diseases, especially parvo, and strongly urged puppy owners to wait until the puppy received all vaccinations before taking a training class. Now, thanks to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists, veterinarians are urging clients to enroll their puppies in puppy socialization classes to reap the benefits of early socialization. Puppies who take these classes learn to be more comfortable with new people, places and things, resulting in dogs that are more resilient living in a human world. If you are interested in reading the AVSAB position paper on puppy socialization, you can find it here: http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position_statements/puppy_socialization1-25-13.pdf
The most important reason to enroll your puppy in a class is the socialization these training sessions provide. Early scientific studies, including work by Scott and Fuller (for more detailed information read their book entitled Genetics and the Social Behavior of Dogs) indicated that puppies go through a sensitive period of development between the ages of approximately 4 weeks to 8 weeks. Consensus now suggests that this period extends until approximately 12 weeks of age. It is during this time that puppies are highly social, outgoing, and less fearful. Providing positive experiences to people, animals, objects, noises, and environments during this time helps puppies develop into dogs better able to cope with our world. Puppy socialization also helps to prevent behavior problems. Socializing your puppy does not end at 12 weeks of age. It continues throughout the life of your dog.
Socialization classes are such fun. Imagine watching puppies play together. Is there anything cuter than that? Puppies learn how to play appropriately. Well run puppy classes will also provide positive experiences to a variety of stimuli, including vacuum cleaners, skateboards, handling, noises, people, and so on. What is most important is that the puppies have positive experiences. Good instructors are will take care to ensure this happens and will help you if your puppy shows any signs of fear.
And the look on owners’ faces when their puppy learns to sit, down, go to a mat, stay, leave a treat on the floor, walk on a loose leash, etc. is priceless. During this time, you are also building a relationship with your puppy based on clear communication, trust, rewards, and enjoyment.
Taking your puppy to a socialization class is a win-win. Your puppy has positive experiences with a variety of things he or she may encounter in the human world. Your puppy learns basic behaviors that are important in the development of a well-mannered dog. And your puppy spends time playing with other puppies in a supervised atmosphere. What could be better than this?
Pawsitive Companionship offers a Puppy Manners class. For details check out our website at www.pawscompanion.com/dog-training-classes/.