Puppies, Puppies, Puppies!!
Albuquerque's puppy headquarters!
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU PUP
If you’re like most of our clients, you want a social, confident, obedient and well-rounded canine pal. The key to that is…. start now with your young puppy! Most of the behavior problems we see in adult dogs could have been easily prevented by adequate socialization, exposure, and training when the dog was a puppy. Part of Arie’s Dogland’s entire goal and vision is to help properly train and socialize more “generations” of Albuquerque puppies to become social, patient, well-behaved citizens. Here are just some of the areas we can help you with, regarding your new puppy
"The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life...
For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated... While puppies' immune systems are still developing during these early months... appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death (likely from euthanasia) from a behavior problem." - The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
The socialization aspect of a puppy’s life is likely the single most important part of everything to consider. Most puppies simply do not get anywhere near the amount of proper socialization (mainly with other dogs) as they should, early on, and this results in the very difficult and off-putting behavior problems such as dog aggression, reactivity, and extreme over-excitement around new dogs as the puppy grows into an adult.
The critical socialization window of a puppy is only between around the age of six to sixteen weeks; during this time, everything the puppy experiences (especially including enough play and interactions with other dogs and puppies), and including everything the puppy does not experience, will strongly affect the puppy’s behavior and overall outlook on life. One of the most common behavior problems we see clients for private sessions is for dog aggression/reactivity; usually this is because the dog was not properly socialized in this very early age to enough new dogs, or the exposure to other dogs was stressful or fearful for the puppy. Our training classes, puppy playgroup, and overall support and advocacy at Arie’s Dogland is partly for this reason specifically; we are here to help puppies grow up to be happy, well-adjusted, and truly social members of society.
Puppy Jump-Start Package
For all of you who might have gotten a puppy recently… we now have a package just for you! Introducing the Puppy Jump-Start Package!! Email us to schedule the "intro" for your puppy (you'll need at least two sets of puppy shots, bordetella, as well as a clear fecal exam), and we'll take it from there! This is for puppies under the age of four months, but the younger the better.
This package is $350 + tax and is valued over $395!
It includes the following:
PuppyPlus Obedience Class (1 hour each week for 7 weeks)
90-minute Private In-Home Puppy Session with Arie
1 Puppy book by Caryl Wolff (Puppy Socialization, Puppy Potty Training or Don't Leave Me)
1 Bag of puppy food (4-5lb bag)
1 Nail trim
Please keep in mind that an "intro" must be done with the puppy before we can sell this package, and the class must be started before the puppy is four months old.
Send a contact form below to schedule your puppy's intro to get started with the package!
Temporarily Not Available Until Further Notice
What's the most important question you can ask as a puppy parent?
What is “Early Socialization” and Why is it so Important for Puppies?
What is “Early Socialization” and Why is it so Important for Puppies?
Many of our clients ask, “Why does my dog need to do playgroup or interact with other dogs and puppies so early on in puppyhood?” – and that’s a great question! We could write a whole book about this subject, but here is the condensed version!
While it’s great that your puppy may have a buddy at home, she will not be able to learn all the social and play skills that they need from only that one (or two) other dogs you have at home. Think about toddlers and little kids; do they learn to share, and be kind, and play well with others, and everything else they need, only from their other sibling at home? No way! We as humans need a ton of other-human interactions to learn our social skills, and puppies are the same way. Because all dogs do not react the same way to your puppy, they need to learn play skills, bite inhibition, and overall social manners from MANY other dogs. As in, we recommend puppies meet and play with at least 50 new dogs by the age of four months. This is a huge number of dogs by a very early age, but this is when it matters; this is during a canine’s “crucial exposure period” which is only from the age of six to sixteen weeks of age, then that window closes. Essentially, whatever a puppy experiences (positively or negatively) in this window, will HIGHLY affect them in later life. This is why you can’t “socialize” an adult dog who hasn’t been around enough dogs early in life; we can teach calmness and better manners to the adult dog, but true socialization occurs only at this young age. Ian Dunbar (a hugely popular veterinarian and animal behaviorist who also founded the Association of Pet Dog Trainers) also recommends that puppies meet and interact with 100 people in this time frame as well.
Another situation we hear a lot of is that the puppy may or may not have a friend at home, but also meets new dogs on walks or out in the world. While this is fine (as long as the meetings are going well), a five-second interaction with another dog on-leash is not going to teach your puppy hardly anything as far as actual normal, off-leash, play skills go. The same goes for their puppy class, which is great of course, but in addition to the fact that it involves somewhat limited interactions between the dogs, it’s only the same eight or nine other puppies.
We are certainly well aware of the awful timing of this crucial socialization window in relation to the age of when puppies get their shots (distemper/parvo shots, then rabies shot later). We certainly want all puppies to be safe in all aspects of their lives; however, the fact of the matter is that this socialization window does end after the first four months of a puppy’s life, and we cannot get it back. One local vet clinic we recommend often even has a “puppy preschool” of their own where clients with young puppies can play and socialize, because modern vets are becoming more and more aware of the highly important need for this early socialization. If your veterinarian recommends not taking the dog anywhere until they are “fully vaccinated,” we recommend you research other opinions as well as look for safe ways for your dog to get out in the world a bit while the puppy is still in the crucial exposure period. This short and early developmental period can be compared to a child’s first seven or so years of life; if he or she is kept home that entire time, he or she simply cannot be expected to then suddenly know how to behave out in the world or get along with other children, as all of this is learned at a very young age. If this window is missed, regarding interactions with people, other dogs, and general experiences out in the world, we can only do our best to modify the dog’s behavior later on; we can’t “fix” under-socialization. As our rule of thumb, we typically recommend using the following guidelines concerning shots:
After one set: Keep the puppy home and don’t go anywhere just yet. Hold the puppy at all vet appointments and avoid ground contact there and in general except at home. If a puppy is going to contract a disease, it will most likely come from the ground; including and especially the ground around your neighborhood and anywhere else other dogs might have been.
After two sets: Take the puppy only to expectedly-safe places; Arie’s Dogland for playgroup and class, friends’ and families’ homes who have vaccinated and healthy dogs (or no dogs), and bring friendly, vaccinated dogs over to your house. Still hold the puppy at vet appointments (remember - that’s where all the sick dogs go every single day!). We also highly recommend you start taking the puppy places out in the world, but CARRY them. For example, you can hold her and walk around UNM, uptown, growers’ markets, etc. – just don’t put the puppy down or have them interact with other unknown dogs. You can also take the puppy to dog-friendly stores (check our website’s resources page for ideas), and bring a blanket to put in the shopping cart to put the puppy in as long as you can make sure he or she can’t won’t jump out. We also recommend taking the puppy in the car and parking somewhere close to lots of “busy” spots (such as out front of a Costco on a weekend if the pavement and weather is cool enough), and sitting in the car with them to let them watch everything happening. We do NOT recommend neighborhood walks until a week or so after the third set of shots, for the same disease-contraction reason mentioned above. Many people think they are keeping their puppy safe by keeping him or her away from other dogs, but they are going for daily walks in their neighborhood or on trails; this is the most risky situation for puppies to be put in, because as we already mentioned, diseases are most likely going to come from the ground where other infected dogs have been.
After three sets: A week or so after three sets of shots, we consider puppies “good to go,” and they can now be taken to more places and be put down to walk around; such as all the places mentioned above, in addition to hardware stores, and other busy places. Just be sure to keep all interactions with other dogs, people, and the world in general very positive! If a puppy has a bad experience with other dogs in this crucial exposure period (6-16 weeks), it will likely highly negatively affect the puppy’s social development. Even having another dog, including another dog at home, snap at your new puppy or freak him or her out, can cause residual behavior effects of the dog around new dogs later in life.
About four sets: It is obviously up to you and your veterinarian on how many sets you’d like to have done to your puppy. Typically though, veterinarians recommend four sets of shots because they don’t trust that the first set of shots was given correctly or at the right age by the breeders or whoever gave the first set of shots, so they start over and don’t count the first set that was given. This fourth set will therefor vary from dog to dog depending on your veterinarian.
For most people who work, we do realize that it can be tough to get in the short “intro” that we require. However, we can always work with you if you have a schedule that makes our regular intro hours tough to make! We can sometimes do a short intro on a weekday evening for example, as long as you make arrangements with us. Also, we recommend the puppy only stay for an hour or so for their next visit to help ease them into feeling comfortable with the group, but if this also doesn’t work with your schedule, let us know! With some puppies we can get away with you leaving them longer (such as a half day of four hours, or a full day), if the puppy looks comfortable during the intro.
It’s now or never! We often see clients who, for example, bring the puppy for classes (which is great!), but then wait until the class is entirely over to try playgroup. Bad news folks… for most puppies by this time, it’s way too late! The puppies are usually only six months or older, but we see many different issues at this point. Most haven’t been socialized well enough early on (hence this whole article!) and are too reactive or even aggressive to do playgroup at all. Others are way too fearful and don’t even want to get near the other dogs. Some are simply just too big/old; our Central Park/big dog yard is full to newcomers, unless the puppies start in Tiny Town/Puppyville then go into Central Park as they grow up and are ready. However, puppies need to start in the smaller yards where they learn the social skills and bite inhibition, as well as potty training and overall manners. We are not the type of facility to use just “as needed” later on in the dog’s life; we coach the dogs to fit into the group of their friends, which is mostly a consistent group of dogs, and we ensure that the dogs are not stressed being here for playgroup. So the bottom line is… use the playgroup now, early, and often! If you’re looking for a social, well-mannered friend, this is most of how to get it!
The following further emphasize how important early socialization is:
“The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life… For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated. While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death [likely from euthanasia] from a behavior problem.”
- The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
From the American Veterinary Medical Association:
Behavior society supports early puppy socialization, Posted Sept. 15, 2008
A position statement on early socialization in puppies released in July by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior encourages veterinarians to recommend puppies be socialized before the vaccine series is complete.
The guidelines state puppies can start socialization classes as early as 7 to 8 weeks of age. In general, they should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least seven days prior to the first class as well as a first deworming.
Additionally, puppies should show no signs of illness during the classes and should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class.
While veterinarians are appropriately concerned about infectious disease in young puppies, the fact is that behavioral issues—not infectious diseases—are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age, according to the AVSAB. Veterinarians contribute to these behavioral issues when recommending pets be kept away from possible germs until their vaccine series is complete, the AVSAB stated.
"Puppies go through a sensitive period of socialization when they are uniquely prepared to benefit from exposure to social opportunities. From the time the owner adopts the puppy until 3 to 4 months of age, it is critical that the owner get the puppy out to meet other animals and people, and experience many different kinds of environments," said AVSAB president, Dr. E. Kathryn Meyer.
"These (unsocialized) puppies may also fail to develop coping mechanisms and grow up into dogs that are unable to adapt to new situations. This can severely inhibit the dog's quality of life as well as the owner's enjoyment of the pet," Dr. Meyer added.
To veterinarians who refrain from recommending early socialization because of the threat of infectious disease, Dr. Meyer suggested taking control of the situation.
"Have the puppy classes in your lobby where you know you can disinfect and you know who has entered," Dr. Meyer said. Doing so will greatly enhance the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. The pet is happier, and when the owners see this, they are more compliant, she explained.
To view a copy of the AVSAB puppy position statement, go to www.AVSABonline.org
For another great resource on puppy shots versus socialization, plus a ton of other health, training, food, and general info, we highly recommend the subscription journal called The Whole Dog Journal. This is an online journal as well as a monthly mailed journal, which is very much worth the $25 or so per year. www.Whole-Dog-Journal.com. Also, we highly recommend the website/dvd set of www.PuppyCulture.com, which emphasizes the socialization window of puppies before the age of 12 weeks. If you have any questions at all regarding your puppy’s socialization, don’t hesitate to email or call us and we’d be happy to help! We see too many dogs with behavior issues because they were never properly socialized as puppies, so help us try to prevent that problem with your puppy so you can have the best little canine companion possible!
Now get out there and start socializing that puppy!
Note: Arie’s Dogland cannot be held responsible for anything that happens to or with dogs and puppies outside of Arie’s Dogland, and can only make recommendations for safe-as-possible socialization to help puppy owners have the most well-rounded and social canine companion as possible. If you have any questions at all regarding your dog’s safety, socialization, or anything else, please contact us and/or your veterinarian.
While this can mean many different things regarding dogs depending on who you ask, we typically use “exposure” to mean properly exposing your puppy to everything possible while the puppy is still very young, in order to acclimate the puppy to everything he or she will need to be used to later on in life as a well-mannered canine citizen. This includes everything such as going new places, meeting new people and animals, walking on new surfaces, hearing new sounds (including things such as grooming equipment), trying new things, being handled for veterinary care, and more. We at Arie’s Dogland are huge advocates for proper socialization and exposure at a young age, and will be your guide for your puppy’s journey.
Adequate exercise is a hugely important aspect of having a well-behaved dog. With puppies, a lot of (if not most of) that exercise comes from play. In our classes and private sessions we discuss some further exercise ideas, but mainly, we recommend our puppy playgroup for safe and exhausting fun for puppies. Besides the crucial importance of socialization and exposure that our playgroup offers, most of our clients utilize our playgroup for a safe way to properly wear out their active pup.
Obedience training, ironically enough, is usually the easiest aspect of the above mentioned parts of having a well-trained dog. While patience and impulse control are usually the biggest and most helpful things a puppy can learn, the “sit, stay, and come” types of commands are very simple to teach for most puppies. However, they are still important, and we’ll guide you through the basics of teaching your puppy to sit, leave it, stay, lay down, come, and how to walk nicely on leash (which requires the most patience on both ends of the leash!).