Early Socialization Classes

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Early Socialization Classes

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Old 08-01-2014, 09:08 AM
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Early Socialization Classes

I just thought I would share the research I was doing for our local obedience club. We are in the process of updating our puppy class curriculum and the subject of early socialization and vaccinations is one of the topics we are looking at:


The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) released a statement: "In general, puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class."
(Early puppy socialization classes: Weighing the risks vs. benefits and http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit...ion1-25-13.pdf)

There was also an interview between Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. E. Kathryn Meyer, Dr. Jennifer Messer, Dr. Kersti Sekel, and Dr. Brenda Griffin.
"Dr Ian Dunbar: The risks associated with attending puppy classes are minimal to nonexistent and the benefits are positively huge: Puppies learn 1) bite inhibition through puppy play and 2) proper interaction with people during off-leash play and while being handled by strangers. And owners learn to train their puppies in a controlled setting in which training is integrated with play."
"Dr. Brenda Griffin: ...proper socialization during their critical developmental period, which ends by 16 weeks."
" Dr. Seksel: Because the socialization period in dogs is between 3 and 12 weeks old, I recommend that puppies be at least 8 weeks and preferably less than 13 weeks of age when they begin classes."
"Dr: Brenda Griffin: I recommend that puppies start class as soon as possible, ideally between 8 and 12 weeks old."
"Dr. Ian Dunbar: We require puppies to be between 10 and 18 weeks of age and to have had two distemper combination vaccines administered after 7 weeks, with the second one at least one week before class. Thus to start class at 10 weeks of age, a puppy must have had vaccinations at 7 and 9 weeks."
"Dr. Messer: All puppies attending our classes must be at least 8 weeks old."
The interview also discusses how clubs can minimize risks associated with early socialization classes. The whole round table interview can be found here: AVSAB

There was also a study of 279 puppies attending socialization classes. They failed to report a single incident of parvovirus diagnosis (Puppies: Socialization Trumps Vaccination | petMD).

The AKC has a statement on early socialization as well: https://classic.akc.org/enewsletter/...arch/puppy.cfm
"A Standard of Care
Because of the evidence that early socialization can prevent serious canine behavior problems such as fear, avoidance, and aggression, in 2008 the AVSAB issued the position statement that it should be the standard of care for puppies to be socialized in the first 12 weeks.
An excellent means of early socialization is for puppies to attend puppy-kindergarten classes. Although many vets have held that puppies should not be exposed to strange dogs before 12 to 16 weeks because of disease risk, the AVSAB supports participation in puppy kindergarten classes before the full series of puppy vaccines has been completed as long as all puppies in the class are vet-checked to be healthy and parasite-free upon entering the class and are kept current on vaccinations.
An AVSAB position statement says, “Veterinarians specializing in behavior recommend that owners take advantage of every safe opportunity to expose young puppies to the great variety of stimuli that they will experience in their lives. Enrolling in puppy classes prior to 3 months of age can be an excellent means of improving training, strengthening the human-animal bond, and socializing puppies in an environment where risk of illness can be minimized.”
By taking steps to see that the pups you breed are properly socialized during those critical first 12 weeks, you are helping to ensure that they will grow to be happy, well-rounded companions for life."

Pet Professional Guild: The Pet Professional Guild - Puppy Socialization
"Position Statement on Puppy Socialization
It is the position of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) that effective animal training lays the foundation for an animal’s healthy socialization and training and helps prevent behavior problems. The general pet-owning public should be educated by organizations and associations to ensure pet animals live in nurturing and stable environments to better prevent behavior problems. Consistent with this effort, it is the position of the PPG that proper puppy socialization be addressed as vital to a dog’s development with an ideal socialization period starting at four weeks of age and continuing through four months of age. The PPG considers this to be the critical socialization period for dogs. PPG advocates for socialization to accompany puppy vaccinations rather than waiting to socialize a puppy until after the vaccinations are complete by which time the critical socialization period will have been missed. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior – “puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vac­cines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class.”"
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:22 AM
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Thank you for sharing. I've seen most of the statements before, but it's nice to have them in one place - easy to direct people here for information.
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