class information

Important Safety Information

  • Puppies must have received at least one round of vaccinations no less than three days prior to attending their first class (DA2PP & Bordetella).
    • Proof of vaccination is required before attending class.
  • Puppies must have been in the home at least 10 days before attending their first class.
  • Puppies showing signs of illness are asked not to attend until cleared by their veterinarian (coughing, sneezing, hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.).
  • Until your puppy is fully immunized per her veterinarian (usually around 16 weeks of age with a rabies vaccination between 12 and 16 weeks), carry them between your car and class to avoid potential exposure to germs that they may not yet have good immunity to fight.

Why Socialize Puppies?

  • Socialization teaches a puppy to enjoy interactions and be comfortable and confident with other animals, people, environments and activities.
  • This involves exposing the puppy to various stimuli in a way that she finds fun and enjoyable, so that she makes good associations with the world around her.
  • Up to approximately 16 weeks of age, social curiosity outweighs fear as the puppy is learning what is good and safe in her world during a period of rapid brain development.
  • Fear-based behavior problems can develop when a puppy does not have exposure to such novel stimuli during this period of development.
  • Fear-based behavior issues are the most common reason for relinquishment to shelters.
  • Properly socializing your puppy is a great way to have a positive influence on her future behavior!

Rules for Playtime

  • Stay with your puppy, supervise and give encouragement.
  • “Yipping” is ok, as long as both dogs understand and adjust their play appropriately.
  • If puppies are smooshing one another, count to five, then pull away the top puppy.
  • Interrupt chasing if the puppy being chased seems stressed.
  • If a puppy goes back to his or her friends after a separation, she is having fun!
  • Good play =
    • Loose and wiggly body movements
    • Give and take, role switching
    • Self-imposed breaks
    • Returning for more play after breaks
  • Puppies may be divided by size and energy level at the discretion of the instructor.
  • Puppies will age out of class at 20 weeks.

View or download the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Puppy Socialization Position Statement.

Get the latest Richmond SPCA news:

Our Partners