There is a newfound awareness in the world of puppy socialization today that is creating a huge dilemma and one that needs some rethinking.
We are learning leaps and bounds about dogs; raising them, training them and understanding them. However, in our fast paced world we seem to be moving in a direction that is too much and too fast for our puppies.
While it’s crucial to socialize puppies with other puppies, doing it in a puppy class can be overwhelming thereby doing exactly the opposite of what it is intended for.
Consider this. It is actually unnatural for a puppy to encounter 20 puppies at the same time, in an unnatural environment (a room or an enclosed space) and it’s causing undue stress on these puppies.The facilities that hold these classes are for the most part uneducated in dog body language, in healthy dog play, in knowing when to intervene or when to allow them to work it out and have way too many puppies in each class. Holding smaller classes wouldn’t be in their best financial interest. This dilemma is creating more and more pups with socialization problems as they mature.
There IS a way to hold a healthy puppy socialization class and that is to have no more than 6 puppies per class and to have educated and trained supervisors in dog/puppy body language and energy who are skilled in observation and know when to intervene or when to allow them to work it out.
An example of this class would be first or second timers only, letting them be together for no more than 30 minutes. Do this for a week and then they can be put in a different group as the educated supervisor of the group will have observed and evaluated each puppy’s progress; strengths and weaknesses and know if and when it’s time to move them to a different group.
Puppy socialization classes are not the only way to go. In fact, what a puppy would mostly benefit from is PROPER socialization with other puppies and adult dogs of all sizes, ages and shapes. By proper I mean, socializing a puppy with other well adjusted FRIENDLY dogs and puppies. Taking is slowly, introducing them little by little with one dog or pup at a time and then another one the next day. Do this in a friends back yard or your own back yard where your pup will feel safe in a known and more natural setting allowing them to meet, greet and play at their own pace. 100 faces in 100 days is so much better than bombarding a puppy with 20 faces in 1 day.
Some bandwagons just don’t need to be jumped on and the hype of puppy socialization classes is one of them unless they limit the number of pups and have gotten the education they need to facilitate healthy puppy socialization.
The Dog Gurus have developed a training program for day care centers to learn about body language and healthy puppy/dog play. They offer a certification course that every day care facility should take.
We only have one chance to raise our puppy right so take it slow, observe and move only as fast as your puppy can handle it. You can have the adult dog you’ve always wanted that you can take anywhere and who can get along with any dog any time.