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Puppy Kindergarten at PetsMart
Old 11-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #1
ClaireVoyant
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Puppy Kindergarten at PetsMart

Isabella had the most awesome experience in Puppy Kindergarten which is run by our local AKC Canine Partners. Unfortunately, we pick up Watson tomorrow (12 weeks on Sunday) and there's not another class scheduled until Jan 21 and the cut off is four months. The only option available is the dreaded PetsMart. Should I forego Puppy K all together and search out other social opportunities for socialization in the next few weeks or is it really that critical? Have any of you done the PetsMart program? We'll definitely be doing some of the other AKC classes, but I'm concerned about the socialization issues that could develop if we miss the boat.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #2
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He needs to have all his puppy distemper shots first, so wait it out. You might look to see if there is a all breed club or obedience club in your area that have classes.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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Thanks Becky . . .there's an AKC meeting tonight. I'll see if there's something out there, but as far as I know, this is the only one.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:52 PM   #4
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I bet the trainer would let you join in on the January class. I mean whats the big deal? What I liked about my class was the size of the room for training. The classrooms at pet smart seem so small. But the experience for being around other dogs and people would still be their.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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not sure why it's 'dreaded' we have found a FANTASTIC trainer at our local PetSmart that both TIllie and I adore. I love her training methods, the way she teaches, her personality, everything. In fact, she called me a few days ago to check on Tillie and see how she was doing after her UTI. So, My opinion is to GO and visit the classes and trainers and THEN make your desicio
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:18 PM   #6
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where do you live, are there no private training facilities near you? You have one month max to socialize, four weeks is coming to the end of primary socialization period. Most important time of their lives. Here's AVSAB position statement on socialization. http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit...ialization.pdf
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #7
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I will post this letter again. ,for those that have not seen it. ...

Letter from R.K. Anderson to vets.

A Letter on Puppy Socialization from Dr. R.K. Anderson, DVM, Diplomat, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Diplomat of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
TO: My Colleagues in Veterinary Medicine:
Common questions I receive from puppy owners, dog trainers and veterinarians concern: 1) what is the most favorable age or period of time when puppies learn best? 2) what are the health implications of my advice that veterinarians and trainers should offer socialization programs for puppies starting at 8 to 9 weeks of age.
Puppies begin learning at birth and their brains appear to be particularly responsive to learning and retaining experiences that are encountered during the first 13 to 16 weeks after birth [Dr. Anderson is saying that the prime time for puppy socialization stops somewhere between 13 and 16 weeks, although more socialization occurs after that time]. This means that breeders, new puppy owners, veterinarians, trainers and behaviorists have a responsibility to assist in providing these learning/socialization experiences with other puppies/dogs, with children/adults and with various environmental situations during this optimal period from birth to 16 weeks.
Many veterinarians are making this early socialization and learning program part of a total wellness plan for breeders and new owners of puppies during the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life -- the first 7-8 weeks with the breeder and the next 8 weeks with the new owners. This socialization program should enroll puppies from 8 to 12 weeks of age as a key part of any preventive medicine program to improve the bond between pets and their people and keep dogs as valued members of the family for 12 to 18 years.
To take full advantage of this early special learning period, many veterinarians recommend that new owners take their puppies to puppy socialization classes, beginning at 8 to 9 weeks of age. At this age they should have (and can be required to have) received a minimum of their first series of vaccines for protection against infectious diseases. This provides the basis for increasing immunity by further repeated exposure to these antigens either through natural exposure in small doses or artificial exposure with vaccines during the next 8 to 12 weeks. In addition the owner and people offering puppy socialization should take precautions to have the environment and the participating puppies as free of natural exposure as possible by good hygiene and caring by careful instructors and owners.
Experience and epidemiologic data support the relative safety and lack of transmission of disease in these puppy socialization classes over the past 10 years in many parts of the United States. In fact; the risk of a dog dying because of infection with distemper or parvo disease is far less than the much higher risk of a dog dying (euthanasia) because of a behavior problem. Many veterinarians are now offering new puppy owners puppy socialization classes in their hospitals or nearby training facilities in conjunction with
trainers and behaviorists because they want socialization and training to be very important parts of a wellness plan for every puppy. We need to recognize that this special sensitive period for learning is the best opportunity we have to influence behavior for dogs and the most important and longest lasting part of a total wellness plan.
Are there risks? Yes. But 10 years of good experience and data, with few exceptions, offers veterinarians the opportunity to generally recommend early socialization and training classes, beginning when puppies are 8 to 9 weeks of age. However, we always follow a veterinarian’s professional judgment, in individual cases or situations, where special circumstances warrant further immunization for a special puppy before starting such classes. During any period of delay for puppy classes, owners should begin a program of socialization with children and adults, outside their family, to take advantage of this special period in a puppy’s life.
If there are further questions, veterinarians may call me at 651-644-7400 for discussion and clarification.
- Robert K. Anderson DVM, Diplomat, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Diplomat of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:28 PM   #8
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Yogi went to puppy kindergarden at Petsmart too, and it was a lovely experience...Yogi was the star pupil, and she is now wonderfully socialized...unlike her little sister who didn't go to puppy kindergarden, and is nowhere near as socialized as her big sister!
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
where do you live, are there no private training facilities near you? You have one month max to socialize, four weeks is coming to the end of primary socialization period. Most important time of their lives. Here's AVSAB position statement on socialization. http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit...ialization.pdf
That's precisely my concern, Dave. (Thanks for the article) I live in Lubbock . . .and would definitely prefer The South Plains Obedience Training Club, but they're the ones who don't have another Puppy K class until the week of Jan. 21 and by then, he'll already be 19 weeks old.

PetsMart is dreaded because I'm paranoid about the germs in that place and the trainers tend to not be well trained themselves . . .based on personal experience with a Westie. I guess I shouldn't judge all petsmarts based on a bad experience, but I do know the classes are held in the middle of the store and the public stands around and watches. If they can't find something, they won't hesitate to ask the trainer and interrupt class to do it. Just wouldn't be my first choice . . .but if its my only choice, its better than nothing.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:44 AM   #10
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do you have any friends with new puppies that you can get together with for play dates? I would go ahead with the petsmart option. It's just socialization. As long as your dog's vaccinations are up to date there should be no problem picking up "germs" at petsmart.
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