Yes, you read
that right. Biting is necessary. It helps puppy learn
how to control his bite. Puppy biting seldom causes appreciable
harm, but many bites are quite painful and should elicit
an appropriate reaction—a yelp and a pause in an otherwise
extremely enjoyable play session. Thus, your puppy learns
that his sharp teeth and weak jaws can hurt. Since your
puppy enjoys play-fighting, he will begin to inhibit the
force of his biting to keep the game going. Thus your
puppy will learn to play-bite gently before he acquires
the formidable teeth and strong jaws of an adolescent
Forbidding a young puppy from
biting altogether may offer immediate and temporary
relief, but it is potentially dangerous because your
puppy will not learn that his jaws can inflict pain.
Consequently, if ever provoked or frightened as an adult,
the resultant bite is likely to be painful
and cause serious injury.
Certainly, puppy play-biting
must be controlled, but only in a progressive and systematic
manner. The puppy must be taught to inhibit the force
of his bites, before puppy biting is
forbidden altogether. Once your puppy has developed
a soft mouth, there is plenty of time to inhibit the
frequency of his now gentler mouthing.
Why should all puppies go to school?
By five months of age much of your puppy's personality has been
determined. Early puppyhood is a critical time for socialization
and learning. This time will set the stage for the rest of your
puppy's life. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show
your puppy how to confidently relate to other puppies, unfamiliar
people, and strange sights, sounds, and events. It is crucial
that this developmental stage is used wisely! Using a positive
approach, we focus on training for the pet and companion dog
with the emphasis on reliable responses.
You will learn to teach your dog
to come when call, to follow from a distance, sit, down, stand
and stay. Plus all of those normal natural "doggie behaviors"...
barking, chewing, jumping up, biting or mouthing, and house
soiling can be discussed.
Useful information about common problems
and concerns that you may have about your puppy's behavior
will be provided in our classes. We will begin to teach you,
the owner, how to teach your puppy. Puppies will be acclimated
to other individuals, things and situations. You will learn
how to teach a puppy to sit and take things gently from your
hand as well as play pass the puppy to get your little tyke
used to gentle handling of different body parts (great for drying
dirty paws and cleaning ears!).
We'll also discuss preventing resource guarding
problems as well as destructive chewing and getting on furniture.
Upon graduation your puppy will be well socialized and he/she
will be well on their way to having established great manners
There are typically only 6-8 puppy participants
per instructor in each session. Your puppy must be between 9
and 20 weeks at the start of class to attend Ideal Puppy Training
Please bring a 6 foot leash, a flat collar
or Halti/Gentle Leader, and a tug toy. Bring a water bowl as
well. Treats of choice are soft training treats and your puppy's
kibble (set aside from a meal). Cut the training treats into
very small pieces as we will be using a large quantity! It's
best to bring a slightly hungry puppy to class.
here for the complete list and to print what to
bring to puppy class.
What about vaccines? Should I
be worried if my puppy does not have all of her shots? My vet
says not to sign up until my puppy is older!
"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. 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.
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.
Experience and epidemiologic data support the relative safety
and lack of transmission of disease in these puppy socialization
classes. 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...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."
More answers to your questions about risk, vaccines
and the best age to begin class
The above quote about vaccination scheduling concerns is from
an open letter written to veterinarians by Robert K. Anderson
DVM, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine
and Diplomate of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists,
and Professor at the Behavior Center at the University of Minnesota.
To read and print the entire letter, please CLICK
Here is what the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
has to say about the importance of puppy socialization classes
and why it's important to begin before 3 months of age: Click
Is your young puppy at risk for canine parvovirus (CPV) infection
if he or she goes to a puppy socialization class after only
one vaccine? Here is a study published in the Mar/Apr 2013 issue
of the "Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association".
You may want to share this with your veterinarian. This is the
to the study.
Here is the study's conclusion:
"Vaccinated puppies that attended puppy socialization classes
were at no more risk of being diagnosed by veterinarians with
CPV infection than vaccinated puppies that did not attend those
classes. No puppies were suspected by trainers of having CPV
infection. The results of this study are anticipated to help
alleviate some veterinarians’ concerns regarding infectious
disease transmission at puppy socialization classes and increase
attendance at those classes."
Free book download! "Before You Get Your Puppy"
by Ian Dunbar, world renowned trainer and PhD behaviorist,
is great for understanding housebreaking and socialization.
We highly recommend it (even after you've gotten your puppy).
free book, Before You Get Your Puppy
Graduates of Ideal Puppy class:
It's critical to keep socializing and exposing your now-adolescent
dog (5 months to two years) to new people, dogs and
situations so that your dog will become or remain confident
as he or she gets older. These experiences should always feel
safe to your dog. A bad experience is worse than no experience.
Behavior is always changing and things will continue to improve
if you keep working with your adolescent, but if you don't keep
on top of things there can be unwanted changes in your dog's
temperagment and manners. And be sure to check out our follow-up
classes, including Super Puppy and Puppy Agility Fun!
Read what others have to say about our Puppy Classes:
"We learned great socialization and basic
skills. I liked everything about the course! The instructors
were great and the handouts were very helpful."
"Just want to let you know about the wonderful experience
my family had with our instructor in Puppy Class. She always
greeted us with a smile! She was helpful, positive and enthusiastic
throughout the class. We all learned so much and had lots of
fun at the same time....Many thanks to your wonderful instructor
who is a huge asset to your Lucky Dog Sports Club!!"
"I loved the playtime for puppies and positive reinforcement
techniques. I give the class a 10 out of 10."
"The instructors were excellent and lots of fun. I especially
liked personally learning how to teach my dog different obedience
skills. I can't wait to take another class!"
"I most liked being shown how to guide my puppy into behaviors.
She is listening so much better! Thanks for a great course.
We will return for more."
This is for young puppies approximately 9-20 weeks
old at the start of class. Class priorities are teaching bite
inhibition (so your puppy develops a soft mouth), socializing
your puppy to people (especially children, men, and strangers)
and other dogs, and teaching basic manners such as sit, down,
stay, and come. Early intervention focused on early socialization
and behavior is the key to a happy lifelong relationship with
your dog. Shape behavior using early intervention and education.
Your pup will learn to control biting by playing with dogs his
age. It's important that your puppy learns to be comfortable
in strange settings and situations and to adapt to the world
around him and feel at ease with other dogs and people.
We will cover basic manners and preventing bad habits and behavior
problems. We will introduce basic obedience such as sit, down,
come, don't touch and follow. We will also discuss important
things like grooming, house training, and socialization. We
will show you good games to play with your puppy that are both
fun and teach your puppy self control.
This class is for dogs five months and older.
This class emphasizes basic control, focus and attention. First,
teach your pup to want to give you attention, even with distractions.
When you have that most important behavioral piece, the learning
really begins! We will work on basic obedience skills such as
walking on a loose leash, sit, down, stay, no jumping, and coming
This 4-week class is for graduates
of Ideal Puppy (or similar) and are 5 to 12 months of age. Your
pup must be friendly towards people and other dogs and have
good play skills. This class is similar to Focus Foundation
and Adolescent Dog except that we will also continue to promote
good socialization skills through off-leash play and interaction
(the skills learned in Ideal Puppy). We will work on sit, down
stand and stay, adding duration, distance, and distraction,
and using positive reinforcement (and the clicker for those
that want to). Walking on a loose leash will be improved and
we will work on training issues such as jumping on people. To
provide mental stimulation for your dog (and have fun!) we will
do some trick training in class. Attention exercises will be
an important focus of this class as well.
Take advantage of your puppy's natural curiosity and abundant
energy to introduce him or her to the fun sport of agility!
This class will focus on some fundamentals of agility using
puppy games that will utilize targeting, wobble boards, focus
and basic obedience skills. Puppies will be introduced to sights,
sounds, and techniques that are helpful toward building confidence
without stress on baby joints. Clickers, treats and toys will
be used for focus motivators. Class will help build your puppy's
confidence and strengthen your bond and partnership. The goal
is to create a dog that is engaged, focused and motivated as
well as one that is confident, well socialized, and eager to
offer behaviors and learn.
Some goals of the class include:
Reliable & fast recalls, sit/down stays
Building drive & focus
Surface desensitization (things that move, make noise
and are elevated; hind end awareness )
Introduction to some agility equipment (focusing on familiarization
and confidence building initially then shifting to obstacle
This class is designed for puppies 5 months to 1 year of age.
The class meets one day a week for approximately one hour. Classes
are limited to 7 puppies. We recommned that you bring a crate,
buckle collar or Gentle Leader, a 6 ft. leash (nylon or leather),
and lots of tiny yummy treats ( feed less dinner
The class will focus on building a positive working relationship
with your puppy using play, toys, and lots of treats.
Prerequisite: graduation from Ideal
Puppy class (or similar in another school) or obedience
class such as Focus Foundation;
or approval from instructor or Training Director.