It’s a well-known fact that puppy classes help prevent behavior problems and increase the likelihood a dog will become a great pet and lifelong companion.
Given the reason most dogs are turned in to shelters and the success of early socialization in preventing behavior problems, it seems obvious the risks associated with an unsocialized dog are much greater than the minimal risk of disease transmission during puppy classes.
It is for this reason the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) believes it is necessary to socialize puppies before they are fully vaccinated.
Dog owners are strongly encouraged to weigh the small risk of contracting disease against the enormous benefits derived from early, effective socialization. The wisest choice is to begin socialization of puppies at seven to eight weeks of age.
“Good puppies aren’t born, they’re made.”
You wouldn’t dream of confining your child to your house and yard all her life, or decide to begin parenting your child at 18 years of age, when they have developed concerning behaviors or habits. Yet that is the situation many puppies grow up in – with owners who later don’t understand how their cute little puppy turned into such a destructive or disobedient or aggressive animal.
Dogs are social creatures. Your pup needs interaction — with you, other people and other animals, beginning very early in life.
Companionship is necessary for your puppy’s emotional well-being. Involve your puppy with your family, as well as friends and new faces, right from the start. If you’re crate training your pup, move the crate or playpen into a room where your family spends time together.
Contrary to what many people believe, puppies need a great deal of time and attention in order to ensure they mature into dogs who are beloved members of the family.
The Importance of Socializing Your Puppy
Socialization means exposing your puppy to as many new people, animals, environments and other stimuli as possible without overwhelming him.