Saturday, January 2, 2016

Holiday Puppies

Spring is often called "puppy season," but I now find that more people bring home new puppies over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rescues and trainers used to say that wasn't a good idea--but they were mostly worried about Puppies as Gifts, which indeed is a lousy idea. (Grandma doesn't really want a new pit bull puppy for Hanukkah, so that's a disaster waiting to happen.)

The GREAT thing about getting a dog over the holidays is that often people can spend LOTS of time with the new pup because they have more time off. Why get a puppy over a weekend when you have to go back to your 9-5 job on Monday morning? You need to take off time to get things off to a good start, and it's not fair to bring home a very young pup and then leave her alone all day soon after. You definitely need a week with the pup--and if you're really diligent, you may even have a fairly housebroken puppy by then! (That's another blog entry.)

So it's puppy season for trainers right now. Enough puppies for a great socialization class. Did you know that most trainers say the socialization window for puppies lasts until they are 12 weeks old?? I would stretch that to 16 weeks myself--but if you don't get your puppy meeting other dogs and children and seeing gardeners in big floppy hats, you will be calling me later in life to help you back pedal and fix bad behaviors. And yes, that's before your pup has all his shots, but there are ways to socialize safely.

I talked to someone at the dog park yesterday who introduced me to her 11-month-old pup--a lovely, happy pup who was doing really well at the park. While talking the woman told me twice that she just needed to "fit in dog school" sometime. She's late. Class is FUN, so why wait? It's so so so important to get in a good puppy kindergarten now.

Congratulation on that new puppy! I hope your New Year's Resolution is to go take a fun class--with a positive trainer, of course. Happy 2016!