I never did group puppy socialization classes because travel and timing got in the way but took Patti a few times for puppy training when she was barely 3 months old. The hour long private puppy training class was just too long and exhausting for Patti (and me) and she would fall asleep after about 30 minutes. I did continue to use the things I learned from class and this forum for indoor house breaking and other things one does such as teach them to come, sit, stay. We live in an intergeneration home with two grandsons ages 14 and 16 and our daughter. The boys were 12 and 14 when we brought Patti to her forever home.
Patti loves! the whole family, she picks favorites depending on what's going on. Initially, she was very shy around other people but as she's exposed more and more she's becoming more friendly and has started to approach strangers to play. She's not interested in them picking her up.
I occasionally take Patti to Petco and inside stores, walk her frequently where she runs into people and other dogs.
Patti is almost two years old. As she has aged she has gotten more interested in, interacting with strangers.
I don't want Patti to be fearful of people, just incase she ever gets away from me - I want her to go to another person for help.
I think you've Been very intuitive about what Patti has needed when she needed it.
I think "socializing" puppies is very important. Vitally important. But what that "looks like" for each individual puppy and family can vary a great deal, and can be done successfully in a number of different ways. "Puppy K" if it is WELL RUN, can be fantastic, especially for a family that is new to puppy raising. But it's only on hour a week, for 6 or 8 weeks. Not NEARLY enough, and if it's NOT well run can be a very bad experience indeed.
So while I still encourage people to try to find a well-run, appropriate Puppy K, it is also REALLY important to gently expose puppies to all sorts of other things AT THEIR OWN SPEED. And that part is SO important! Some puppies are super out-going, and everything is grist for their mill. Every person and every other dog is a friend. All you have to do s make sure they don't get hurt and everything is fine. But other puppies are much shyer, and slower to warm up. Those puppies STILL need to be "socialized", probably even more, but VERY slowly, and gently. At their own speed. Never forcing them. Letting them observe from a safe distance, as many times as they need to until they begin to get more comfortable.
There isn't one right path to socialization for every puppy and every family, and it's not something that happens in 8 weeks or in 8 months, for that matter. It's an on-going process through the life of the dog. A dog isn't really emotionally mature until well into their second year... sometimes later. There is a saying in the dog training world, "They can do at four what they could never do before."