In addition to covering basic manners, Puppy Preschool helps you navigate your puppy’s very important socialization period. It’s important to take advantage of this short window (ending around twelve to fourteen weeks for most puppies) to socialize your pup in a way that is efficient and fun – socializing your pup now helps prevent behavior problems later on in life!
Tip 1: Get familiar with your puppy’s body language! Happy puppies have a loose wiggly body, an opened-mouth smile, and stand at their normal height.
Tip 2: If your pup is interested in exploring a person or object, let the puppy set the pace and reinforce with treats to help make the experience a positive one! Some puppies need to partially approach new things a few times before they can go all the way over to it, that’s okay.
Tip 3: Treats don’t guarantee a good experience – make sure your puppy is comfortable and happy first, and then add treats to make the experience even more enjoyable.
Tip 4: Remember that no experience is better than a bad one! Try to get to most of the items listed on the checklist, but don’t force your pup to interact with anything. Looking/smelling but not interacting can be enough experience for your pup if interaction would be too much!
Tip 5: If your puppy is lowering her body to the ground, staring at something with a closed mouth, her body is tense, she’s barking or she’s avoiding something – these are indicators that the experience is concerning or scary. Try stepping in with a happy voice and treats to see if your pup’s body language relaxes. If not, get your pup out of there!
Tip 6: Don’t let another person or pet ruin your puppy! A lot of people think they’re being helpful by forcing an interaction because “dogs love them” or “their dog gets along with everyone.” Use the tips and tricks you learn in class to manage all interactions with other people and pets and keep your puppy safe.