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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-07-2011, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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New Puppy Owners

Don't miss the boat. Here's an important message to just about anyone who gets a new puppy. Your pup's first four months are sooo important. Please feel free to send it to your 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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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 12:14 AM
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Thank you - I agree 100%. In fact, I have always thought that, although I am no puppy expert nor did I have any concrete data to back it up
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 11:14 AM
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Eva starts her puppy kindergarten class this Saturday. Can't wait
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 11:26 AM
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We are starting puppy kindergarten next Monday I hope it is not to late she will be about 18 weeks

Maddie at 5mo old
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 12:06 PM
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dave got any ideas for socializing older pups who may have missed the window of early socialization?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unjugetito View Post
dave got any ideas for socializing older pups who may have missed the window of early socialization?
Suzi and Unjugetito , it's never too late to socialize. And it's something that has to be kept up. This article and the one I posted from AVSAB the other day basically are saying that this is the prime time to mold your puppies temperaments and form positive associations with other dogs and people. Dogs that don't get out often ,will become fearful of other dogs and people. Under the right circumstances, dog parks can be OK. The best way is to find suitable dogs and arrange with their owners to have some offleash play. On leash greetings are not always conducive to proper greetings. They actually can be counterproductive and cause leash reactivity, fear and therefore aggression. It comes down to getting out there and meeting people and their dogs. Here's an article for adolescent dogs ... http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...-weeks-2-years And here is an article by a good friend from Ireland http://pawsitivedawgs.wordpress.com/...socialisation/

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

Last edited by davetgabby; 03-08-2011 at 06:25 PM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 11:15 AM
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A friend of mine has a rescue dog that they haven't bothered to train at all. For awhile he was fine but apparently he's gotten into the habit of barking at any and everything. I suggested to them it might be time to think about bringing him to some training lessons. When I told them how much we were paying for Eva's (not much considering it's at Petsmart and we're so lucky to have an AKC certified trainer there) they said, "Oh that's too expensive, we'll just let the dog keep barking."
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 12:00 PM
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Tell them to try your local spca, in Houston here they have puppy socialization every saturday for 10$, and they offer other training classes on the cheap
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 07:26 PM
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You know honestly I don't think it's the money for them, it's just laziness and money is used as an excuse
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