We offer a puppy socialization class! Puppy class is one of the most important things you can do for your puppy. Since inception, almost 900 puppies have joined our class.
Socialization is a vital experience for puppies in order for them to be a safe, enjoyable member of the family. Puppies go through a critical socialization period from 6 to 16 weeks of age that will dramatically impact their behavior for the rest of their lives. Their brains are like tiny sponges, soaking up experiences and filing them away for the future. This is a crucial developmental stage during which your puppy learns to accept new things, enjoy being around people, and develop appropriate social skills with other dogs. Socialization is exposing a puppy to all sorts of thing that things s/he might encounter throughout a their lifetime. BUT, exposure to things is not good enough; in order for socialization to be effective, the associations must be positive and the puppy must set the pace, not you!
Our class is not a traditional leashed class nor is it a puppy free-for-all. Your puppy will engage in highly supervised, controlled off leash interactions and settle down periods. The main objective of class is teaching you how to "read dog" while observing your puppy during playtime so you learn what healthy canine interaction looks like. Puppies should engage in appropriate canine play with dogs of a similar age and play style; your puppy might learn the wrong lessons if they are interacting with inappropriately playing puppies or adult dogs. During playtime puppies work on bite inhibition and appropriate dog-dog relations. When they are not playing, puppies are working on settling and focus on owners during mat training. We also discuss common puppy topics such as nipping, appropriate child-dog interactions and general training principles to help prevent future behavior problems.
Our class is done on a rolling enrollment basis, so a puppy may enter the class at any time provided there is space available. This is not only beneficial to the individual puppy by keeping within the critical socialization window, but to the class as a whole since your puppy will continue to meet new puppies. Puppies need to be under 14 weeks of age, current on distemper and bordetella shots, have a stool check, and be declared healthy by a veterinarian.
Class is taught by Darci Reagan, CPDT-KA. Darci is a DVH staff member certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, the first national certification for dog trainers. She is also certified in behavior modification through Purdue University CVM.
Please call the hospital at 630-665-6161 and speak to Darci for more information on puppy class or private lessons.