Puppy Class & Socialization – When to start?


The Late Dr. Sophia Yin

The truth is that puppies need to start vaccines as early as possible  so they can begin a group class as early as possible. Training at home should start even earlier – the moment you bring your new bundle of joy home.

Socialization goes hand in hand with dog training. Do note that socialization does not simply include meeting dogs or a visit to the PetStore. It means very carefully evaluating if you puppy is afraid of something and addressing it with a Certified Trainer. This key socialization period is about 8 to 14 weeks. You can see why its important to get that first set of shots as early as possible! Please view this link to Dr. Sophia Yin’s excellent socialization checklist!  It’s an oppurtunity to explore the things that you not realize you needed to socialize. Remember that phobias and fears frequently escalate. Don’t hesitate to call me to address the issue.

But what happens when your vet says that your puppy needs all 3 rounds of shots and rabies before leaving the house? Just in case, print out the linked articles for your vet. Ultimately make being an advocate for your dog is the most important part! If you live and are seeking a vet, in Lake County, IN, I highly recommend St. John Animal Clinic in St. John. Their contact information follows.

The real problem is your veterinarian may not be aware of the guidelines from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB). The AVSAB “encourages veterinarians to recommend puppies be socialized before the vaccine series is complete.”

Shockingly they go onto say “While veterinarians are appropriately concerned about infectious disease in young puppies, the fact is that behavioral issues—not infectious diseases—are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age, according to the AVSAB. Veterinarians contribute to these behavioral issues when recommending pets be kept away from possible germs until their vaccine series is complete, the AVSAB stated.” Here’s a link to this article Early Training and Socialization from the AVSAB. Here is yet another link from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Remember socialization and training are for life!

St. John Animal Clinic


8661 Wicker Ave.
St. John, IN 46373

Phone: (219) 365-8531
Fax: (219) 365-1032


Monday: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday: 7:30am – 6:00pm

Saturday: 7:30am – 12:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Closed New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Riding in the Car

I’ve been thinking about one of our dog’s favorite past times quite a bit lately. The warmer weather is here and our dog’s heads are hanging out the car window, no doubt capturing each and every scent. The problem is there’s nothing safe about this scenario. You would never let your child run free in the back seat (or gasp! the front seat).

Your dog poses an amazing distraction to you as a driver. I hear time after time how Poochie has to sit up front. Don’t forget how dangerous the air bags are! If you are in a wreck and the air bags deploy with such force, you are risking your dog’s life!

While it’s not the perfect way to transport your dog, a car approved harness that was scientifically tested by the Center for Pet Safety can be one option. It helps strap your pup in the backseat safely. No air bags, no roaming, no distraction. Studies have shown that these offer less than ideal safety but they are always improving. Seat belts work by attaching a car approved harness to the seatbelt. It is the best option for larger dogs who can’t be crated in the car.

Dog Safety & Summer Holidays

Summers here and its all about safety and holidays! Get the lawn chair and the kiddie pool for your pup. It’s easy to get caught up in the picnics and festivities, we sometimes miss signs the of stress and the general safety of our dogs.

First, let’s talk signs of distress that may occur during the holidays, storms or fireworks, in a situation with too many kids and adults and even other dogs. Be sure to read the BEET. BEET stands for body, eyes, ears, and tail. It over simplifies canine body language but B gives you a starting point. Look for stiffness in the body or cowering and look at E for eyes, partially white eyes. Then look at E for ears. If they are tucked, your pup may be under stress. Finally the T in tail. A tail waving to high may mean trouble. Just like a tail too low. We want tail about neutral height and preferably wiggly summer time tail! Learn more about canine body language thanks to Victoria Stilwell.

1. Do NOT EVER leave your pet in the car. No, leaving the windows open does not work. Keep them at home or with lots of water and shade WITH YOU!

2. Leash your dog with ID tag at all times. More dogs are lost during holidays than any other time of the year.salty dog kisses

3. Cooked bones are dangerous for dogs. They are usually thin enough to cause choking in and of itself but all cooked bones will splinter.

4. Avoid leftovers. Tons of harmful chemicals lurk in those hot dogs and other processed foods. Not to mention the condiments we slather our food with. Think about the sodium, sugar, and uber fat load. Just skip it.

5. Finally, train them for all summer events. Teach them to not jump on guests, not to beg for scraps at summer barbecues, and even to go to a kennel on cue in the event you or your pup needs break. If you are seeing any of these issues, call me at (219) 973-7538.

Happy Summer!