FAQ

Q: What Columbus, Ohio neighborhoods do you serve?

A: Mostly Central and Northern parts of the city.

Because we teach in a variety of neutral settings we offer some flexibility in the locations of our group classes and outings. We primarily serve clients in central and north Columbus, including the surrounding areas of Westerville, New Albany, Gahanna, Lewis Center, Powell, and Dublin, but we are willing to chat further to see if you are within our radius. For private lessons, we typically work with you and your pup in your home, neighborhood, or in whatever location your biggest challenges are found.

 

Q: Can I bring more than one dog?

A: As long as you have one capable handler per dog.

In group training classes the dog is the student so you should register each dog that you will be bringing. You must have at least one handler per dog in the class setting.

For private training sessions, you pay per session, not per dog, although we typically recommend you separate dogs and work with one at a time depending on your training goals.

 

Q: I already have multiple dogs. Does my puppy (or adult dog) still need class and other socialization?

A: Yes! But not before learning a little more about what socialization really is and what it is not. Check out the link below for crucial info!

Karen Pryor offers great information and important considerations on socialization here: https://clickertraining.com/dont-socialize-the-dog

 

Q: What should I bring to class?

A: See the checklist below.

Please come to class prepared with the following items:

  • Proof of vaccinations
    • Puppies should be up-to-date for their age and have at least the first set of shots given 10 days before the class start date to allow them to take full effect.
    • Older dogs should have all shots. (Group classes and play sessions only)
  • A hungry dog
    • Don’t starve your pet, but try not to provide a full meal or leave food out for a few hours prior to the session
  • Note taking supplies
    • Paper and pen or another method to take notes, as needed. Classes may not be video or audio recorded without prior written permission from the instructor.
  • Treats!
    • Specifically, soft, pea-sized treats or kibble. I recommend cutting up a good quality semi-moist dog food or treat.  You’ll need a full baggy/ treat pouch per class session.
  • Equipment
    • Standard (non-flexi) leash.
    • Flat buckle collar, head collar (gentle leader), or body harness, as preferred
  • Toys
    • For group classes and outings we recommend bringing at least one tuggable toy to get the dog’s attention and/or one chew toy to entertain the dog while you listen to the instructor.
  • A water bowl
    • For group classes, if desired.
  • Clicker
    • Optional if you have one and want to bring it with you. A clicker can be used to mark a desired behavior, as can the word ‘yes!’ or any other consistent key word. Clickers are welcome but not required.

 

Q: Is my puppy old enough to attend a training class?

A:  This is an open letter from Dr. R.K. Anderson, who encourages veterinarians and puppy guardians to make puppy socialization a first priority!

Robert K. Anderson DVM
Diplomate ACVB and ACVPM
Professor and Director Emeritus, Animal Behavior Clinic and
Center to Study Human/Animal Relationships and Environments
University of Minnesota
1666 Coffman Street, Suite 128, Falcon Heights, MN 55108
Phone 612-644-7400
FAX 612-644-4262

Puppy Vaccination and Socialization Should Go Together

TO: My Colleagues in Veterinary Medicine:
Common questions I receive from puppy owners, dog trainers and veterinarians concern: 1) what is the most favorable age or period of time when puppies learn best? 2) what are the health implications of my advice that veterinarians and trainers should offer socialization programs for puppies starting at 8 to 9 weeks of age.

Puppies begin learning at birth and their brains appear to be particularly responsive to learning and retaining experiences that are encountered during the first 13 to 16 weeks after birth [Dr. Anderson is saying that the prime time for puppy socialization stops somewhere between 13 and 16 weeks, although your puppy’s socialization still develops after that time]. This means that breeders, new puppy owners, veterinarians, trainers and behaviorists have a responsibility to assist in providing these learning/socialization experiences with other puppies/dogs, with children/adults and with various environmental situations during this optimal period from birth to 16 weeks.

Many veterinarians are making this early socialization and learning program part of a total wellness plan for breeders and new owners of puppies during the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life — the first 7-8 weeks with the breeder and the next 8 weeks with the new owners. This socialization program should enroll puppies from 8 to 12 weeks of age as a key part of any preventive medicine program to improve the bond between pets and their people and keep dogs as valued members of the family for 12 to 18 years.

To take full advantage of this early special learning period, many veterinarians recommend that new owners take their puppies to puppy socialization classes, beginning at 8 to 9 weeks of age. At this age they should have (and can be required to have) received a minimum of their first series of vaccines for protection against infectious diseases. This provides the basis for increasing immunity by further repeated exposure to these antigens either through natural exposure in small doses or artificial exposure with vaccines during the next 8 to 12 weeks. In addition the owner and people offering puppy socialization should take precautions to have the environment and the participating puppies as free of natural exposure as possible by good hygiene and caring by careful instructors and owners.

Experience and epidemiologic data support the relative safety and lack of transmission of disease in these puppy socialization classes over the past 10 years in many parts of the United States. In fact; the risk of a dog dying because of infection with distemper or parvo disease is far less than the much higher risk of a dog dying (euthanasia) because of a behavior problem. Many veterinarians are now offering new puppy owners puppy socialization classes in their hospitals or nearby training facilities in conjunction with trainers and behaviorists because they want socialization and training to be very important parts of a wellness plan for every puppy. We need to recognize that this special sensitive period for learning is the best opportunity we have to influence behavior for dogs and the most important and longest lasting part of a total wellness plan.

Are there risks? Yes. But 10 years of good experience and data, with few exceptions, offers veterinarians the opportunity to generally recommend early socialization and training classes, beginning when puppies are 8 to 9 weeks of age. However, we always follow a veterinarian’s professional judgment, in individual cases or situations, where special circumstances warrant further immunization for a special puppy before starting such classes. During any period of delay for puppy classes, owners should begin a program of socialization with children and adults, outside their family, to take advantage of this special period in a puppy’s life.

If there are further questions, veterinarians may call me at 651-644-7400 for discussion and clarification.

Robert K. Anderson DVM, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Diplomate of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

 

 

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