Socializing your puppy is the most important thing you can do for your dog.
How do I socialize my puppy?
Socialization is critical during the first 16 weeks of your puppy's life. During this time, your puppy is more accepting of new environments and experiences. An adult dog's behavior is a result of the experiences as a puppy, so it's important to be proactive during puppyhood to prevent any unwanted behavioral issues down the road.
The key to proper socialization is creating POSITIVE experiences. Exposure is not enough. Be sure to pair these experiences with lots of treats and praise. And never force your dog to do anything he is visibly uncomfortable with, you could end up doing more harm than good.
Be sure to take advantage of our puppy socialization opportunities. Puppy Socials are a blast for you and your dog!
Should I wait until my puppy is fully vaccinated before enrolling in a socialization class?
Most puppies are well outside the socialization window by the time they are fully vaccinated. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age. For this reason, the AVSAB believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.
However, the AVSAB does not suggest that puppies should join classes with zero protection. In general, they suggest that puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class.