Experts agree, puppy socialization is THE most important thing you can do for your new puppy to give them the best start in life!
Why socialization is important
Animals are genetically programmed to be fearful of the unknown – it is a ‘default setting’, built in to keep them safe in the natural world, that is full of predators and other dangers. But in our domestic animals, including dogs, this fearfulness isn’t necessary or desired. In order to overcome this natural tendency, we have to provide loads of positive experiences during a very specific period of time, when they are highly impressionable and primed for accepting new things.
We call this period of time the “Critical Socialization Window” and it is begins at 3 weeks of age and starts to close around 12 weeks of age. During this important window of time, puppies learn what is “normal” and “safe” in their world through a variety of carefully introduced, positive experiences with new people, places, animals and environments.
Puppies who have a wide variety of positive, experiences during this critical window of time have a much greater chance of growing into well-adjusted, confident adult dogs. Puppies who lack these early positive socialization experiences are at a far greater risk for developing fears, anxieties, and aggression as adult dogs.
Click this link to see what veterinarians say about early socialization for puppies:
What makes our Puppy Classes Different?
Our puppy classes are co-led by a team of highly trained experts consisting of our Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Christine Michaud, CTC, PMCT, CPDT, and a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Amy Pike, DVM, DACVB. In addition to being experts in all things puppy, including socialization, training and behavior, both Dr. Pike and Christine are Certified Fear Free Professionals. We believe puppy class should be led by the most experienced and educated professionals, given what’s at stake during this critical period of development that sets the stage for your puppy’s entire life. If you are looking for experts, who will be there for you, every step of the way, who maintain the highest level of professional standards and ethics, are committed to using only the most up-to-date, scientifically sound methods of training, information and advice, then sign up today!
Puppy Socialization Class
Taking puppy socialization classes is like “vaccinating” against serious behavior problems. The primary focus of this class is socialization, although you and your new puppy will learn a few handling skills, too. Our experts will be there to answer your puppy-related questions and guide you through this important phase of puppy development.
This 5 week course is held on Thursday evenings from 7:00 – 7:55 p.m. We have rolling admissions so you can start as soon as your puppy has been examined by a veterinarian and has at least one distemper-parvo vaccine. Puppies must be up to date on all vaccinations based on their age when starting class and throughout the course. Puppies can start class up until 16 weeks of age.
Puppy Basic Skills Class – starting mid-February 2019
This 7 week course is from 8:05 – 9:00 p.m., and will take your puppy into adolescence, shifting the focus to teaching you and your puppy basic life skills. This course has rolling admission, and puppies may begin anytime up to 20 weeks of age once they have been examined by their veterinarian, received at least one distemper-parvo vaccine, and are up-to-date on vaccinations for their age. Skills include come (quickly!) when called, leave it, walk nicely on leash, go to place, down, stay, sit for greetings, and more. Additionally, you and your puppy will receive introductory training for positive grooming (nail trims, brushing and clipping) and vet procedures (handling for exams, vaccinations and blood draws) so these things aren’t so scary or stressful (for you or your puppy)!
Classes are held at Franklin Farms Veterinary Clinic in Herndon, VA. Sign up today, using the registration form at the bottom of this page.
Click on this link to go over to our Puppy Primers page to see training packages that include group classes and private puppy training: