Puppy Training & Socialization

Socializing & Training Your Puppy

The activities listed below will help your new puppy become incorporated into the household. This process is called socialization. Your new pet will become strongly attached to your family during this period of socialization between 6 and 12 weeks of age. This bond will last a lifetime. These initial activities will minimize the potential for bad habits and behavior problems such as dominance and aggression. It is vital that EVERYONE in the family practice these exercises.

The following activities should become part of the normal routine for your pup:

While the puppy is small, pick it up frequently.

Rub the puppy’s stomach while it is on its back.

Playfully handle every part of the pup’s body.

Brush the hair and trim nail tips.

Give the paws, ears and mouth extra attention as they are potential areas that may require treatment for nail trimming or medication administration.

During play, do not allow puppy to stand over you.

Avoid excessive tug-of-war games.

Encourage fetch and retrieval to help teach pup to come to you.

Teach the dog to sit. Use short but frequent sessions for compliance.

Awaken dog from sleeping.

Praise dog for compliance.

Teach pup to relinquish toys and trade for another toy.

Praise dog for good behavior even when resting quietly.

Place toothbrush with paste in pup’s mouth daily for 5 second intervals to familiarize for future brushing.

Have you pet obey commands prior to everyday activities; i.e., feeding, playing, going outdoors, etc.

Effective punishments are passive; i.e., leave the room, ignore bad behavior. Puppies are extremely impressionable. How you manage him or her will have dramatic and long lasting effects. You can make your puppy a better pet and prevent behavior problems by taking a few precautionary steps.

If you travel a lot and plant to include your dog, familiarize him with the road early. If you plan to travel without your dog, familiarize him with a pet-sitter or kennel (even just for an overnight stay) as soon as possible after his vaccines are finished.

Benefits of Early Socialization: Enroll Puppies in Training Classes Earlier

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) of which we are a proud member, released some much needed updated Animal Behavior guidelines. In collaboration with Jody Rosengarten of The Bark Stops Here, we have changed the way we enroll puppies into training classes. AAHA recommends that puppies under 16 weeks should be allowed into training classes as early as possible to take advantage of prime socialization periods.

Previously, the concern was that complete protection against important transmissible viruses such as Parvovirus was not verifiable by scientific study until the 16 week vaccine was completed. A recent study compares puppies who had at least 1 distemper parvo vaccine over 8 weeks of age and entered puppy classes with puppies who had the full series of vaccines to the 16 week mark who entered puppy classes. There turned out to be no greater risk for the “under-vaccinated” group than the fully vaccinated group and AAHA has decided that the benefit of early behavioral intervention outweighs theoretical risk of disease transmission in this age group.

So… here are the new SVC guidelines for allowing your puppy into puppy training classes and/or our new Puppy Social Club (details below): At least 1 distemper parvo vaccination given no earlier than 7 and ½ weeks and at least 8 weeks of age A physical examination by a veterinarian within 2 weeks of entering class At least 1 deworming has been done and a negative or treated positive stool sample has been done within a week of starting classes. Jody will be asking all puppy owners for proof of the above and we will provide that to you after the 1st vaccination.

Important caveat: The above ONLY applies to puppy training classes where proof of vaccination is verified. The same previous rules of not allowing your puppy access to areas where unvaccinated puppies have been (the beach, the dog walking parks, the pet stores or anywhere else unvaccinated puppies may have roamed) until they are completely finished with their vaccine series at 16 weeks still apply.

Puppy Social Club

Geared to our clients’ young puppies, aged 8 weeks up to 16 weeks or so, who meet the health requirements above, the Puppy Social Club is a weekly get-together Wednesday evenings at the animal hospital. Here the puppies learn to play well with others, overcome shyness with other dogs and people, all in a safe and healthy environment. It’s also a time for pup owners to ask questions of the Doctor in a casual environment, share stories and get to know other puppy owners for future play dates. Lots of fun time for all; it’s by invitation only so we can match ages, temperaments and size appropriately.

Puppy Training Classes

We are very fortunate to work with noted dog trainer and behavior therapist, Jody Rosengarten of The Bark Stops Here. Jody has been in practice since 1980 and is a well-known, caring and compassionate authority on all aspects of dog and puppy behaviors.  She runs an ongoing series of group workshops here at Southport Vet Center, in addition to seeing clients for private sessions in their homes or location of their choice. Typically, she’ll run ongoing series of group puppy training classes, a package of four, that cover the most important basics of puppy training — these classes really help puppy owners with tried and true techniques. Jody is an amazine resource!  We encourage you to seek out her guidance when welcoming a new puppy into the home, or for assistance on any behavior questions. Click here for a link to Jody Rosengarten’s website:  http://www.thebarkstopshere.net

Contact Us/Hours

Southport Veterinary Center


2131 Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
Phone: (203)259-5295
Fax: (203)254-3799
Email: news@southportvetcenter.com
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7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
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