Are Puppy Kindergarten Classes Necessary?

The question is, should I take my puppy to kindergarten classes?  The answer is, maybe and maybe not and let me tell you what I mean.  There are a lot of pros and cons on whether a young puppy should be socializing with other puppies and running the risk of catching a disease such as Parvovirus.  Let’s talk more about it.

When I talk about a puppy I’m talking about a dog younger than 16 weeks of age.  Usually puppy kindergarten classes are for dogs from 8 to 16 weeks old.  The main purpose of a puppy kindergarten class is for socialization because at that age there are actually two young to do any formal obedience training.

Let’s go back to the parvovirus question before we continue.  A lot of vet’s will tell you that your dog should not be around other dogs until it’s had its final parvovirus vaccination at about 4 to 6 months.  I’ve never really been that concerned as long as I knew that the other puppy or dog that my puppy would be around was current on all it shots. If the class you are attending requires vaccination records from your vet then the other dogs in the class should be safe as well.  If they don’t ask you about vaccinations they didn’t ask anybody else so I would not be going to that class.

So since you are not going to be doing any real formal obedience training should I really invest the time and effort to attend these classes?  That will depend on you and how much socialization you do with your puppy.  I always suggest that a new puppy owner take their dog to three different places a week once it’s received its third set of vaccinations.

Exposing your puppy to as many people, kids, and strange places as possible is an excellent way to socialize your dog.  That period of socialization for any puppy is from birth to 20 weeks old and it’s important that it’s done during this period.

I also like to expose my puppies to other dogs.  I select those dogs carefully based on whether or not they will be friendly with my puppy and if I know that the dog is current on all its vaccines.  Doing this a lot/bunch before your puppy is 20 weeks old is a must if you intend to have it around other dogs later in life.

So now it’s back to the question should I take my dog to puppy kindergarten classes.  As you can clearly see this is up to you if you’re not going to do a good job of socialization on your own then certainly these group puppy classes will be a big help.

Some trainers actually offer a one lesson program for new puppy owners to teach them how to potty train their puppies and all the other things they need to do to eliminate biting, chewing, etc.  If you will seek out one of these programs I think you’ll get everything you need to have a great puppy.

 

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Mark Mansfield
 

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