Frequently Asked Puppy Questions

Q: Why should I take my puppy to a training class?

A: Puppies learn at an extraordinarily rapid rate. They are always learning something (either good or bad). In the first 16 weeks of life, 80% of the puppy’s “hard drive” (brain) has been written on. The question is what has been imprinted there and is it what I want imprinted there? Probably the most critical area that has to be developed is the puppies socialization skills….to not just people, but objects and other domesticated animals. If these skills are not properly developed serious behavioral issues can result. Often these unwanted behaviors lead to a puppy or adult dog being removed from the home, being neglected or abused by frustrated owners or in the worse case scenario, euthanized. Early puppy training really sets the foundation for a mentally, socially and physically healthy dog.

Q: How soon should I start training my puppy?

A: You are training your puppy as soon as you bring him home whether you realize it or not. Specifically, focused training should begin around the 8th or 9th week of life or as soon as possible thereafter, depending on breed and the size of the dog.

Q: How soon should I start obedience training?

A: The foundation for obedience training is started between 8-16 weeks, but formal obedience training can typically be started any time after four months of age through adulthood.  The earlier it is undertaken, the quicker they learn and the fewer behaviors that will need changing.

Q: If the puppy does not receive early training (8-16 weeks) is he/she ruined?

A: No, however the period between 8-16 weeks of age is critical imprinting period for social development and other foundational skills. If this window is missed, there is a greater risk of behavioral problems arising later.  Obedience training, however, can be done any time after four months of age and is not the first priority. Early proper, varied and thorough socialization, housebreaking training, and other important skills are and should be done before four months of age.   Beginning formal obedience training as soon after four months is ideal, but not crucial.

Q: Do I have to participate in the classes or does just my puppy participate?

A: Yes, you will need to participate. You will be seated in the chair with your puppy on a leash in front of you some of the time, but you will be actively involved with your puppy in the activities taking place during the class. You will be guided as to what to do and when so prior knowledge or experience is not necessary.

Q: If my puppy is sick, should I bring him/her?

A: No. Please do not bring a sick puppy to class. Young puppies immune systems are still under development and we do not want to have any puppy exposed to another sick puppy, even if it is nothing serious. Call the instructor if you have a sick puppy ahead of time.

Q: Is there a length of time I have to have my puppy before I can participate?

A: Yes. You must have had your puppy 14 days prior to starting class and your puppy must have had a physical exam and a round of shots by a local veterinarian before participation is allowed (documentation required).

Q: How long is a class?

A: Each class lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Q: What if I have to miss class one week?

A: All training in the head start program must be completed by the 16th week of the puppy’s life. Ideally, the training should be done over 3 consecutive weeks. If you miss a class it will be two weeks before that material you missed will be covered again. If you absolutely must miss class one week, please notify the instructor at least 24 hours in advance.  There is no guarantee that missed classes can be made up.