At what age can your puppy enter school?
Socializing puppies at an early age can prevent many adult dog behavior problems. Enrolling a puppy in a training school can prevent such future problems as constantly barking, running away, biting, fear of children, destroying items such as furniture, and much more. The best age to enroll your puppy in a training school is eight weeks. By participating in a training school, your puppy will have the best chance to live a happy and secure life.
During the first sixteen weeks of life, a puppy will learn about the environment around it. A puppy will be exposed to new surroundings and experiences. If not properly socialized, this can be a traumatic time. Early and proper exposure will help a puppy adjust and become confident with new situations. It is important for a puppy to experience new situations and not isolate them so they do not grow up fearful of new places and new people. Fear often results in aggressive behavior such as growling and biting. Without proper socialization a puppy can grow up to be fearful of children, other dogs, crowds, loud noises, and strangers.
From the eighth week and on, a puppy's brainwaves can be recorded. It is during this period that a lasting bond will develop between owners and their puppies. This is the stage where a puppy will establish confidence, accept gentle correction, learn respect, learn simple responses such as 'sit' and 'stay', begin housebreaking, and have a desire to explore the world around them. Since 8-week-old puppies have the ability to learn the same behaviours as older dogs, it is essential to teach them proper behaviours at an early age to avoid many years of frustration.
Many pet owners take their puppies to training schools that offer sound training and socialization programs. Some veterinarians advise owners to wait until their puppy is six months old and has had all of its vaccinations before taking a training class, however this is not necessary. The chance of contracting a disease from other healthy puppies in a clean environment is very low.
The best training program is one that does not use harsh techniques such as using physical punishment to correct disobedient behavior. A good trainer will use positive reinforcement techniques. The class will be clean and there will be a playtime set aside for puppies. The instructor should also be educated in animal diseases and parasites and should ask for health records before introducing a puppy to the training class. The instructor should also be well informed about such issues as house training and puppy biting.
When choosing a training class, you should look for qualities that include:
- a training class that appears fun for the owners and their puppies
- the instructor has the ability to meet individual needs
- the animals are handled gently
- the owners are comfortable with the techniques they are using with their puppies
- the environment is calm, controlled, and safe
The trainer should also be friendly, experienced, and knowledgeable.
When enrolling in a training school, the two most important things to consider are the quality of the training school and the age of your puppy. Do your homework when picking the right school. You can find trainers from a number of sources such as referrals from dog-owner friends, your veterinarian, and dog clubs. Always talk to the instructor before enrolling. You can ask to sit in on a class and watch the trainer.
It is the responsibility of the owner to help a puppy to develop into a kind and well behaved adult dog. If you help your puppy learn and socialize during its critical learning period, you will have helped shape his character and personality. Your reward will be gaining a loyal and loving companion.