Got a new puppy in your life? Bet you’re busy with house breaking, leash training, crate training and teaching about appropriate chew toys. All these are important steps for a puppy to become a well behaved and cherished family member. Another equally important area for training is socialization. Puppies need to learn how to get along with not just the people in their lives, but also the other critters they will encounter. In a pack situation, puppies would be learning how rough to play, how to tell when another pet is not in a playful mood, how to share a kill or a stick for play. Most people do not have a pack situation in their homes. It is unfair to bring the pup into the dog park or your child’s soccer game and magically expect him to know how to behave, if they’ve not been introduced to other dogs.
Puppies have a wonderful early developmental/socialization period that starts to close around 20 weeks. Of course they can still learn new things after that but the prime developmental window will start to close. Your puppy will contact other dogs throughout his life: on walks, playing in the park, visits to the vet’s office, people simply walking their dogs on the sidewalk in front of your house, to name a few occasions.
To help people raise well-adjusted puppies Dr. Johnson will be organizing free puppy play groups at the clinic. Our space is limited, to allow the puppies enough room to play together, we ask owners to register for the classes. Puppies will interact with each other and owners will get some tips on what to do if their puppy is misbehaving in a social situation. Besides learning how to interact with other pups, the puppies will also see that the vet clinic isn’t a scary place. Who wouldn’t like easier vet visits?
The puppy classes are open to puppies 8 weeks old to 5 months of age. They must be up-to-date on all age appropriate vaccinations. The next class will be held Saturday, Feb. 20th at 3-4 p.m. Call for reservations 703-569-9600.