Diamonds in the Ruff

How early can my puppy begin classes?

As early as your veterinarian gives the okay!

Read the position statement on early puppy socialization from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior here.

What vaccinations does my puppy need to start class?  We leave the advice of what and how many vaccinations up to the expertise of your veterinarian.  How many will depend on when your puppy started his vaccination series.  He does not have to have "all his shots" to attend.  He does need to be adequately protected and seen by a veterinarian to assure he is healthy.  When discussing the start date with your vet, remember that week one orientation is people training, pups stay home, so your puppy won't actually be in the classroom around other pups until week 2.  Download, print and take your VETERINARY PERMISSION SLIP with you to your next appointment.

Let's get started shaping your puppy's future:


1. Before  your vet gives the okay to begin and signs your vet permission slip you may schedule private lessons to help you get off to a good start.   Visit the Behavior FAQ section for hundreds of free articles which includes a large puppy section on everything from mouthing and biting to house training.  


2. Resources for new puppy owners - This page will give you information to get you off on the right paw with strategies for early socialization and confidence building.


3. Sign up for class!  Puppy Preschool or Puppy Kindergarten?   On average, puppies tend to be 12-18 weeks in Preschool and 16-20 weeks in Kindergarten.  Preschool is specifically for the youngest pups, 4 1/2 mo and under, but you may select Kindergarten if the Preschool is full, or if your schedule won't allow Mondays.  It's the same class curriculum. 

Please talk to your veterinarian and get a timeline of when they will give permission to attend and then reserve your spot.  (Please, don't register and then wait until the last minute to get your vet's okay.  If you hold a spot and then can't attend, it's not fair to other puppy students who couldn't get in because the class was full!)

Can I begin Puppy Confidence sessions before my puppy's class begins? 
Yes. If you are taking advantage of our Puppy Confidence Building sessions, you may begin the supplemental sessions prior to the start date of your puppy class as long as your vet permission slip is signed.  Please contact your veterinarian prior to registering to get their recommendation for when your puppy will be ready to start classes.  
Puppy Confidence is rolling admission, so you may start any time.  Check the website for dates and times, as they are not held every month of the year.

Check out this great webpage:  How to Socialize a Puppy With Other Dogs, Humans, Sounds and Places  

Is your puppy too young or your vet hasn't signed off to begin classes? 
Do you need help now,
before classes start?
We can help! 

Click here for information about Private lessons and our Supplemental Puppy Games & Confidence Building sessions. 



OOPS!  I waited too long and Preschool is full. 
Can I still start now in the Puppy Kindergarten class?  or should I wait?

The Preschool and Kindergarten classes are identical in curriculum.  The only difference

is the maximum age of the puppies.  If Preschool is full or the day of the week doesn't

work for you, you may begin class in the Puppy Kindergarten.

If all the puppy classes are full, register for next month and ask to be put on a waiting list for the class you wanted.  You may begin the Sunday supplemental Puppy Confidence sessions prior to the start of your regular puppy class.  You may also want to take advantage of our Puppy Primer private lesson package.


Enroll as an auditor.  Limited auditor spots are available.  Attend classes without your dog and practice at home.  (If a spot opens up, you may still be able to bring your dog.)  Most of the class experience is training you how to train your dog and the real training happens at home anyway.  You will learn a lot by watching other students without the distraction of your dog.  You will receive all class materials and can ask questions like all the other students.  This is a perfect solution for those whose puppies have not been given veterinary clearance to attend.


I want to enroll my older dog in class, too.  Can he attend puppy class with us?  Older dogs are not admitted in the puppy classes, but you may enroll your puppy in an older dog class.  We also occasionally offer a Puppy K/Headstart combo class for all ages. 


Recommended Reading

Puppy Start Right

- Kenneth & Debbie Martin


Life Skills for Puppies

- Zulch & Mills

I have two puppies.  Should they attend the same class?  Reality is, they live together so they will need to work in each other's presence in "real life" so it's fine to enroll them in the same class ...


  • they are extremely distracted by each other and would be totally unable to focus on you

  • or if they are co-dependent (can't function in each other's absence) and need to learn to bond with you more than each other

In either case, attending different classes would be a good idea.  See this article for more information on "Living with Littermates"

You will also need to take them to separate classes if you would be the only person handling two pups. 


PLEASE NOTE:  If you are reserving multiple spots in the same class, pre-payment is required.  If you must cancel, your tuition is not refundable unless we are notified early enough that we can fill those spots.