Diamonds in the Ruff
Why start early?
Your puppy should begin classes as early as your veterinarian says it's okay.
Puppies who receive early and ongoing socialization to a wide variety of people, places, sights, sounds, smells, surfaces and environmental stimuli are more likely to grow into well-adjusted dogs who can handle new things.
Why the earlier, the better?
Read this article on early puppy socialization.
Puppies who are kept at home and don't meet a large variety of people of shapes, sizes, and ages of adults and children and only see the inside of their own house and yard, miss the critical socialization window. This exposure starts while still at the breeder's and continues after they go home to their new families.
Under-socialized dogs statistically grow up more suspicious of strangers and stressed in new environments. Instead of enjoying accompanying you on vacation trips, they find new places and car trips traumatic. Some shiver and hide, while others bark and lunge to make the scary thing go away. They struggle at the veterinary clinic, are difficult for the groomer, and may be unsafe with visitors to your home. They are more likely to be relinquished to shelters.
It is gentle exposure to people, places, sounds, smells, surfaces, and environments. Socialization broadens their world view. Socialized dogs are safer because they are more comfortable with new people, places, and things.
Is Puppy Class Safe?
What about Parvo?
Your veterinarian cautioned you to avoid taking your puppy anywhere until they've had "all their shots" to avoid exposing them to diseases before they've completed their vaccination series. But then they recommended that you attend puppy classes!
How can you do both? If you wait until your puppy has had "all his shots" he'll be too old for Puppy Preschool!
Early puppy socialization classes: Weighing the risks vs. benefits - from DVM360
Puppy Socialization and Vaccination – A Balancing Act - from the Academy for Dog Trainers
The purpose of the Vet Permission Slip is to ensure that all dogs attending classes at Diamonds in the Ruff have been seen by a veterinarian who has verified that the dogs enrolled in classes are healthy and adequately vaccinated for their age. You should continue to follow your veterinarian's advice and not take your puppy to public parks or allow them to interact with dogs that you don't know are vaccinated and healthy, for your puppy's health and safety and the health and safety of other puppies in your puppy class. You can still take them out in the world, just avoid putting them on the ground in public places until they have completed their vaccination series.
For his mental and physical well-being, PLEASE DON'T TAKE YOUR PUPPY TO THE DOG PARK! The soil in the dog park is contaminated with germs and parasites from dogs that you don't know are healthy, and exposure to dogs you don't know are safe. Don't take unnecessary chances.
Is there a risk? There is always a risk. For that matter, your puppy could come in contact with germs tracked in on the bottom of your shoes, the same way you can catch the flu from the handles on the shopping cart at the grocery store. We sometimes get the flu even though we've had a flu shot.
Do some dogs need more careful socialization than others? Are some dogs more at risk of anti-social behavior as adults?
Some breeds mature more quickly and therefore their socialization window is shorter. Many herding breeds, like Heelers, Cattledogs and Border Collies as well as many Asian breeds, like the Chow and Shar Pei, need 'uber' socialization - early, extra and ongoing.
Singletons, orphans, pups whose early weeks were without mom or were the lone survivor or member of a small litter.
Pups who left the litter prior to 7-8 weeks.
Shy or cautious personalities - if you picked a puppy to was slow to approach or took time to warm up, you need extra positive socialization opportunities.
Genetically aloof breeds. If the breed standard says "aloof with strangers" or "one person dog", you need EXTRA socialization.
Puppies whose parents (especially mom) were uncomfortable with strangers. (Puppies learn by observation. Mother's prenatal stress can affect puppies in the womb.)
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!
Don't miss the extensive Puppy Section from the Behavior FAQ section of our website!
(Great socialization starts long before you take your puppy home!)