We sometimes hear clients say, “My puppy hasn’t had all his shots. My vet said he shouldn’t leave the house.” We understand that some veterinarians choose to take an ultra-conservative approach to socialization, preferring puppies to not leave the house until they have had all their shots. Their job as medical professionals is to look at things from a purely medical perspective. However, many veterinarians and trainers believe that early socialization is vital to the proper emotional and cognitive development of puppies. Waiting to socialize a puppy until all vaccinations are complete can put a puppy behind developmentally and often creates behavioral issues that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Furthermore, the likelihood that a puppy will contract a contagious disease (especially when the owner is smart about when and how to socialize) is small compared to the likelihood that the puppy will grow up behaviorally deficient from a lack of early socialization.

As more and more research findings regarding the role of vaccinations (at what age and how often re-vaccination should occur in adult dogs) gain popularity among the veterinary community, so does the role of early socialization via carefully planned and implemented puppy socialization classes.

Click here to review the position paper written by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior about the many benefits of early socialization, and why those benefits far outweigh potential risks.

Click here to see a handout created as part of a class exercise by veterinary students at UC Davis.

Click here to view an open letter to the veterinary community, written by a veterinarian, in support of the role of early socialization.

Click here to learn what the Pet Professional Guild has to say about the subject.

At J9’s K9s, the health and well being of puppies and dogs is our top priority. All puppies are required to be up to date on vaccinations and must have received their first round of shots a minimum of one week prior to attending our in-person Puppy Head Start Classes; please feel free to call us at 818-832-9906 if you have any questions about our vaccination policy. We would never encourage attendance of young puppies if we felt there was a significant risk of exposure to disease. Our training facility is sanitized prior to each class session and students are frequently reminded NOT to bring their puppy to class if they suspect any type of illness. Additionally, we constantly educate our puppy owners on the importance of practicing “Smart Socialization” with puppies when outside of the classroom. We want your puppies to stay safe and continue playing at J9’s K9s for years to come!