A well run puppy class is worth your puppy's weight in gold. Lack of socialization is the number one cause of unwanted behaviors such as fear and aggression. Unwanted behaviors are the number one reason dogs end up in shelters and ultimately put down if decided un-adoptable. I have known for a long time that training is the number one way to solve the unwanted animal crisis in America.
My classes will focus on exposing puppy to a myriad of new people, dogs, surfaces, and situations. When people think of socialization they tend to think about having their puppy meet new people and dogs but that is only part of the puzzle. When puppies are young (8-16 weeks) they are learning what is normal in everyday life. Now is the time to prepare your future dog for what they will experience in their day to day lives.
The other very important piece of the puzzle is that experiences must be pleasant not just happen. If your puppy is worried about a new person, dog, or thing allow them as much space as they may require. Use treats and praise to help your puppy recover and relax but do not force them closer or put them in the "scary" person's lap. A negative experience could mean months or even years of recovering. Calm, gradual, and thoughtful socialization is the key to confident social dogs.
Click "Read More" for the puppy checklist I will be providing to my students on their first night of class: