Puppy Socialization Class Reduces the Risk of Aggression in Dogs

lap puppy looking over 640x427Puppy class is proven to reduce the occurrence of aggression in dogs by helping to socialize them early on! A recent study examined almost 4,000 dogs and owners and they were looking at aggression cases. One of the most incredible findings is that going to puppy class at least twice before a puppy turned 3 months of age was associated with reduced risk of aggression to unfamiliar people both in and out of the house.1

Under Socialization Might Not Show Right Away

Experience tells me that an under socialized puppy will appear normal until 6-12 months when it enters the adolescent period. That’s when I see clients with dogs exhibiting signs of fear and aggression that are seemingly out of the blue. Often this is occurring because the puppy did not have enough good experiences with novel stimuli during the socialization period of 7-12 weeks. That’s right I said weeks not months. The period between 2 and 3 months of age is the most influential time your puppy will have during its entire life.

This is not time you can get back either. No amount of trips to the dog park are going to fix this if you missed the chance to properly socialize your dog.  I hear so many people talking about socializing their new puppy and all they are looking for is safe places to meet other dogs. That’s great! I am so thrilled you are trying to socialize your dog, but let us not forget the other 99% of things in the world that I would include on a socialization checklist such as people, all ages of people in different shapes and colors too, noises, a variety of sounds from vacuums to construction, wheeled objects, starting at skateboards and going up to trash trucks, and so much more.  You can live with a dog that isn’t great around dogs but life with a dog that’s not comfortable around people will be forever challenging, and probably not the life you imagined when you got your puppy.

So How Can You Safely Socialize Young Puppies?

Group class is the perfect place to safely socialize your puppy. A good trainer will set your puppy up to have fun with new experiences every week and gauge that every encounter is at a level your puppy can manage. A good facility will ensure all puppies have age appropriate vaccinations to minimize health risks.

Our classes include a variety of activities that your dog will encounter in real life eventually, such as wearing hats, pushing wheelchairs, handling puppies for examination, street safety, obstacles courses, and more. We incorporate games in our puppy play parties, which are offered in addition to puppy class, and these are fun socializing hours where we play sounds like thunderstorms and construction noises during playtime for a full sensory socialization package.

Puppy class gets full quick so be sure to sign up now and start learning what more you can do to socialize your puppy.
1- Human directed aggression in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): Occurrence in different contexts and risk factors
Rachel A. Casey, Bethany Loftus, Christine Bolster, Gemma J. Richards, Emily J. Blackwell
Applied Animal Behaviour Science 1 March 2014 (volume 152 issue  Pages 52-63 DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2013.12.003)

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