Blog post

Puppy Class & Socialization – When to start?

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The late Veterinary Behaviorist 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 in a positive reinforcement environment like that I offer at Petco Highland. 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 pet store. 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.

Always follow your vet’s advice. But double check. Most vets recommend 1 set of vaccines before socializing so you don’t miss out. Rabies vaccines are required for dogs 4+ months of age.


What if my vet says I need to wait for my vaccines?

Just in case, print out the linked articles for your vet. Ultimately making being an advocate for your dog is one of your priorities as a dog parent.

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, the AVSAB goes on to 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.

Starting with an individual 101 session or enrolling in a group class with me at Petco will give you an opportunity to work on all of these goals in a controlled setting with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). My years of experience and expertise give you the tools to continue to practice with your dog at home and continue to socialize in an easy and family fun environment.