Puppy Preschool is a socialization and problem prevention class for puppies 16 weeks of age and under. Geared specifically to your puppy’s developing physical and social needs, this class is a precursor to our Canine Academy Program or Private Lesson Series.
Like humans, canines have biologically prepared critical periods for social development commonly called socialization windows. Most of these windows of opportunity close by the time a puppy reaches 16 weeks of age.
Puppy Classes are ongoing. Join as soon as your puppy meets the veterinary requirements (see below).
Saturdays at 9:30am
PLEASE COMPLETE THE FORM BELOW TO REQUEST A SPOT IN PUPPY CLASS:
What is socialization and why is it important?
This time in your puppy’s life is your opportunity to build the best possible dog. To build a solid house certain elements need to be in place at the beginning. The first thing you need is a good foundation. In canines, that’s your puppy’s genetics. Just as your puppy will never be larger or smaller than it is genetically programmed to be, your puppy’s behavior is also genetically programmed and there will be certain behavioral barricades it cannot go beyond.
Socialization is the framework we put on top of that foundation to make the most of the behavioral constraints genetics have imposed on us. Without good framework, a house will not stand up. Without good socialization, a puppy is at greater risk to develop behavioral problems as an adult. Puppies need a wide variety of experiences to stimulate neuron connections in their brain. Puppies that don’t receive this environmental enrichment will never develop to their full potential.
Most of us prefer a house with indoor plumbing – that’s what house training is – installing indoor plumbing! To complete the essentials of our house, we need to install wiring. Many hard wired behaviors that puppies need to learn to be safe and stable adult dogs are best installed during this period. Behaviors such as bite inhibition, sharing treasures (a.k.a.: Object Guarding), and coming when called are critical to an adult dog’s safety and life.
We only get one chance to build our dream dog from scratch. Sure, we can install plumbing, wiring, and framework in a home after it’s built, but it is messy, time consuming, and expensive. It will always be a “remodel” job rather than doing the job correctly in the first place.
After a puppy’s socialization window closes, it may be possible for dogs to learn how to respond to situations in an appropriate manner, but it will never be as easy, nor will it have the same beneficial and long lasting effects as it does during this critical period in your puppy’s life.
What can I expect from puppy classes?
Our Puppy Preschool is designed to put all the foundational elements in place and prepare your puppy for adult life. We address house training, mouthing and bite inhibition, appropriate play and toys, dog/dog socialization, human/dog socialization, grooming, acceptance of handling, and confidence building with different objects, surfaces, and sounds. Exercises are taught in a real life context to help set you and your puppy up for success! Classes are structured to address each puppy’s individual needs, so that shy puppies learn to be more confident, and bolder puppies learn how to be more polite.
When can my puppy start Puppy Preschool?
Puppies up to 16 weeks of age can participate as soon as our health/veterinary requirements are met and are ongoing so no puppy ever has to wait too long to get into a class. This allows puppies the opportunity to a variety of other puppies in class.
What are the health/veterinary requirements?
To attend class your puppy must:
1. Have had at least one round of DHPP administered at least 10 days prior to class. The vaccine should be administered no earlier than 6 weeks of age by a veterinarian* with boosters on schedule.
*If the first DHPP was administered at 6 weeks or later by a breeder, the puppy's local veterinarian must review and approve the provided vaccine records. The puppy must have a wellness check with that veterinarian 10 days prior to class and the veterinarian must confirm with us that the puppy is cleared to come to puppy class.
2. Have been in your home at least 10 days.
3. Have had at least one deworming and be clear of parasites on most recent fecal exam.
Vaccination and fecal test verifications must come from a veterinarian.
4. Be symptom free (no diarrhea, coughing, vomiting, or worms) when coming to class. Puppies showing any signs of illness at class will be excused from class and confirmation with the puppy's veterinarian will be required before the puppy can return. If a puppy shows any signs of illness between classes, this must be reported to us so we can advise other students. Clearance from the puppy's veterinarian will be required prior to returning to class.
5. Have NOT visited dog parks, “big box” pet stores, or gone for walks in unprotected areas at least two weeks prior to coming to class and refrain from going to those places while in our puppy class. Other public areas where dog traffic is light and/or homes of friends and family are fine as long as precautions are taken. Please check with us for details and if you have questions on this.
We verify the health of every puppy before they come on the property by reviewing copies of veterinary records and by calling your veterinarian if necessary. All veterinary records and the puppy registration form must be received 48 hours before puppy class to allow us time to review and clarify any questions.
Where do classes take place?
8618 McMeans Trail, southwest, in the Oak Hill area, near the Circle C golf course.
What does it cost?
$25.00/class for each week your puppy attends, up to the cut-off age of 16 weeks. We also offer our puppy clients a one time discounted house call rate of $115 for up to 1.5 hours ($145 total with a $25 pre-paid puppy class) to have a trainer to come help your puppy be most successful in your home and/or get you off on the right foot if your puppy is waiting for medical clearance to attend class.
How do I register?
Complete and return the registration form to our office with your payment. Your spot is reserved when we receive your paperwork (including veterinary records) and deposit.
What other services do you offer?
We also offer group classes, private lessons, Rally Obedience, and consultations for aggression, phobias (including Separation Anxiety), and other behavior issues.