PUPS offers puppy sessions for puppies between the ages of 10 weeks – approximately 20 weeks (at which time they are then ready for PUPS Basic 8-week Group Obedience Course). No matter your pup’s age, we do require that the puppy have two rounds of shots before starting. The puppy training is designed to get you moving in the right direction in establishing a relationship and language base with your pup and to get you started on imprinting obedience using age appropriate, positive motivational techniques, getting your pup to engage with you, establishing good manners, channeling your pup productively, and warding off bad habits while developing good habits. We like to start off with a family orientation (without the puppy). Some people even schedule the orientation right before They bring their puppy home. Orientation is held at our facility OR via Zoom, and we teach your entire family how to set your puppy up to succeed within your home. We go over how to set your house up to accommodate your pup’s needs, housebreaking, crate training, biting, barking, when to have the puppy out with you, when to crate your pup so you don’t set him/her up to fail, and anything else you have questions about! We also give you guidance and direction on how to effectively and productively socialize your pup with people and other dogs as well as teach you how to productively play with your pup during this age, how to introduce him/her to the vet, how to get your pup used to nail trimming and other essentials and other general do’s and don’ts. Then we begin the Puppy Sessions. While puppyhood may drive you a bit crazy, the puppy sessions will start building a great relationship between you and your pup during this interim period prior to starting the Basic 8-week Basic Obedience Course, (which will begin to put a little “have to” into your pup’s life). Your pup will learn to engage with you because you’re fun – and because puppies like to think! The training also starts teaching the puppy a language base that you will build on in the Basic Obedience Course. These sessions also start teaching your pup impulsivity control. Please note – our puppy sessions are done individually so the owner and puppy can truly engage with one another, but, we do also occasionally offer “Puppy play dates” for continued socialization done properly – only 2 pups playing together at a time!
PUPS Philosophy on Puppy Kindergartens and Puppy Daycare
At PUPS we have one constant underlying goal and philosophy that is the cornerstone of our programs for over 20 years, that being “always set the dog up for success”. Well, that holds true for our philosophy on puppies 10-18 weeks old, puppy kindergartens and puppy daycares. PUPS does NOT BELIEVE in ANY sort of large group puppy kindergarten (more than 2) or puppy daycare or dog parks for a battery of reasons:
- We want the puppies to have ample immunizations and have a mature enough immune system to be around other puppies.
- We do not believe in allowing puppies to be turned loose to play in an adrenaline filled, unbridled manner with more than one other puppy at a time. When there are more than 2 puppies, chances are very high that the submissive pups are being over dominated by one or more dominant puppies which definitely creates the possibility of the submissive pup becoming fear aggressive later in life towards other dogs (we get them all the time in our basic obedience class because aggression and fear aggression is an area of expertise for us) and the overly dominant pups are not benefiting by being overly dominant either. We believe in socialization, of course, but in a controlled manner whereby each pup is having a positive experience. We firmly believe that one on one socialization is the best scenario for any pup where they are playing with ONE other pup of similar size and similar energy level and each pup is having a positive experience which would mean that both pups are comfortable with alternating dominant and submissive play stances with each other. With our very small classes, the pups can pair off for play.
- Many times in the kindergarten classes/daycares, when there are more than 2 pups interacting at a time, and one gets overly dominant, the trainers will spray the dominant pup with a spray bottle of water, but, sadly, since the dominant pup is standing over the submissive pup that is on his/her back, the submissive pup is getting the spray too which exacerbates the puppy’s already bad experience and may even effect his/her perception of people. In essence they are getting corrected for nothing or worse for being submissive which causes additional stress and confusion!
- We don’t feel that more than two pups running around slamming into each other does ANY good at all to the emerging and somewhat fragile orthopedic structure of the puppies. To have puppies running into each other from all different angles or to have big puppies jumping on small puppies, or to have more than one puppy jumping on one puppy can result in injury and/or cause permanent problems with the development of the hips, knees, spine or elbows.
- We also believe your pup should be able to be attentive to you while doing puppy classes. With more than a few pups and people present, it can be too stimulating and distracting and not conducive to learning to interact with you or learning the lesson at hand.
- The daycare environment can also greatly hinder the puppy’s housebreaking progress at home. Again, from the puppy’s perspective, if stopping in the middle of play and peeing or pooping is okay all day inside a facility, then why not do the same at home?
- Lastly, regarding daycares. Running around all day with other puppies can wreak havoc on the puppy’s understanding of what is expected of him/her when at home with humans. It can make it harder for the puppy to calm down around humans and learn how to be channeled into the home environment. After all, from a puppy’s perspective, if running and biting and jumping is okay all day long, then why not when they get home? If by chance they are not running around, but, rather lying around bored, then, we’d prefer they be lying around bored in a crate where they are safe and either you or a trusted pet sitter can take them out regularly to assure housebreaking is being taught properly and have some productive human contact with them. After all, if you work full time, getting a young puppy is probably not the best choice for you or the puppy!
Again, we need to stress that we believe in socialization for your puppy with people and dogs, we just want it done is a manner that is most beneficial and positive for your pup! We give you plenty of breed specific information on how to accomplish that once we meet and assess your pup. We also will offer to pair up your pup with another pup in the program that we feel would be a good match for a play session once they have their shots and then you are free to get together with that pup again on your own time for more productive play sessions.