Why Take a Puppy to a Puppy Social?
Taking your puppy to a well-run puppy social fills a need every puppy has, to be introduced to their world at a young age. The first three months in your puppies life is a critical time. This is the time that puppies are most open to new experiences. After this time period your puppy will naturally begin to develop fears of the unknown.
But there is a catch. It is essential that you do not expose your young puppy to germs that can be harmful to them before they are fully vaccinated. This makes the task of exposing your puppy to all the sights and sounds of everyday life including interacting with other dogs difficult. To fill this need many dog trainers are now offering puppy socials.
The key to a happy, well-adjusted, well behaved dog is to socialize them properly as a puppy. The reason for this is that puppy socialization teaches your puppy how to be comfortable in our world. To learn more about Puppy Socialization and what you need to know to get started read: Puppy Socialization Basics
What Happens at a Puppy Socialization Class?
A puppy socialization class is a safe supervised place where puppies younger than 5 months old can run and play with other puppies. The Puppy Social we attended consisted of 45 minutes of playtime with other puppies plus time with toys and fun obstacles. The trainer-supervised play sessions guaranteed safe play opportunities for all the puppies while teaching us what normal puppy behavior looked like.
What to Look for When Choosing a Puppy Social?
When deciding on which Puppy Social you should attend look for the following features to help ensure it is a fun and safe place for your puppy:
- Required age limits –Dogs should be close in age for safety.
- Require proof of up-to-date vaccines and deworming before allowing puppies to participate.
- Supervision – Make sure there is adequate knowledgeable supervision to deal with any issues that may arise.
- Look for a social that limits the number of participants
- A well run puppy social will divide the dogs by size and temperament.
My Dog’s Got Class Dog Training
We chose the My Dog’s Got Class Dog Training – Puppy Social for our 13 week old puppy Bella because of the great reviews, convenient location and required proof of age appropriate vaccines. They were also recommended by our veterinarian who resides at the same location.
Signing up for the puppy social was easy to do. Once we created a profile, we signed-up for the class on line. Payment could be made either on-line or at the start of the class.
Room set up
After walking through the front door we entered into a small foyer with low wooden gates. We were instructed to unleash Bella and then open the gates to let her into the main area. This safety feature was to prevent other dogs from rushing to her, possibly overwhelming her, while we were trying to take her leash off.
Once inside, the large room was divided between large and small breed puppies. Since there were twice as many small breed puppies they had twice the room to run around. Both sides of the room had different tactile objects like tunnels and Fit Paws balance equipment to run around, jump on and play with. The puppy owners were asked to sit off to the side and not interfere with the puppies, while the trainers that were stationed on both sides kept watch making sure the dogs played in a safe, polite manner.
For Bella this was the first time since she was brought home at 9 weeks old that she had a chance to play with other dogs. It was clear that she did not know how to play properly with other dogs. She was more aggressive then the other puppies. We were assured by the trainer that she would settle down after awhile once she found her place.
At one point she was playing too rough with a Bernice Mountain puppy who was much larger than her and the tables were turned. Bella became the one running away, scared, but it taught her a valuable lesson. If you want someone to play nicely with you, you need to play nice too.
The dogs were given water after about 20 minutes of running. Then it was time to bring them outside for a bathroom break. Just outside the entrance was a fenced in yard for the dogs to use. There are also waste bags to clean up after them. Once the puppies were done with their business they went back inside to run and play some more.
From time to time the trainers would throw out cheerios for the puppies. This was done to encourage breaks in the activity, especially when some of the puppies started to get too excited. My daughter and a couple of other young girls were asked to help toss the cheerios as a way to familiarized the puppies to young children.
During the second half of play time Bella was calmer and tired. She became less interested in the other dogs and more interested in the tennis balls and cheerios. You can see her here hoarding tennis balls. We think it was a great experience for her.
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