Dog Training and Behavior Consulting serving the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago
For Puppies 16 Weeks and Under
Set Your Puppy Up for Social Success!
Trainer led puppy socials are the best way to socialize your puppy with a variety of playmates early on!
When it comes to socialization for your young puppy, DON'T WAIT. Waiting until 16 weeks of age, when your puppy is fully vaccinated, means waiting until your puppy is past their critical window of socialization, which is THE BEST time to expose your puppy in a positive manner to other puppies, new people, and new places.
Don't just take my word for it, check out the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's position statement on the critical importance of early socialization!
Is it safe to bring my young puppy to these socials if they aren't fully vaccinated yet?
Most puppies are not fully vaccinated (including their rabies vaccine) until they are 16 weeks/4 months old. But their critical window of socialization, when they most need to get out of the house and experience social interactions with new people and other members of their species, ends at or before 16 weeks of age! So proper socialization is a balancing act of getting the puppy out into safe situations so that they are not under socialized as adult dogs! Think of proper socialization as a behavioral vaccine: it prevents the likelihood of fear and aggression based behavior problems in the future, just like a vaccine prevents the likelihood of your puppy contracting that illness!
Happy Hound University uses Rescue veterinary disinfectant for our floors before our classes to eliminate the potential for parasites, viruses, and bacteria. We also require all dogs over 4 months who come through our classes to provide proof of full vaccination before their first day of class, which minimizes any potential illness even entering the building! Your puppy is more likely to run into a sick dog at your own vet's office or the pet store than they are at our off leash socials!
In short: bringing your puppy to our puppy socials is one of the best ways for you to socialize your puppy before they are fully vaccinated.
How soon should we sign up for these socials?
Get signed up as soon as you can! Again, puppies have a critical window of socialization that starts to close around 12-14 weeks of age, so the sooner you can get started the better!
Worried your puppy may be too small or shy? We have lots of pens and gates at our location so that shy pups that need more time to come around can hang out in their "privacy suite" and take it all in if they're not ready to play yet!
Where and when are these puppy socials held?
Should I sign up for a puppy class too?
Puppy Socials are held in the basement of St Martin's Episcopal Church at 1095 E Thacker St, Des Plaines, IL. Puppy Socials are held every week on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM, Wednesdays at 4:30 PM, and Thursdays at 4:00 PM OR 8:10 PM (Thursday classes will alternate every other week).
These socials are not meant to replace puppy class; we do not do any training in puppy socials other than some very basic handling and confidence building exercises, so if you also need help working with your puppy on their sit, down, stay, come, polite leash walking, and other training exercises, definitely sign up for puppy class IN ADDITION to puppy socials!
What is the cost of these socials, and how many should we attend?
Puppy Socials can be purchased one at a time, or in packs of 4. The cost for puppy socials is $32 for one, or $120 for 4 socials.
Your puppy must join puppy socials at 16 weeks or younger (remember, the sooner the better!), and you may continue to attend with your puppy for as long as you'd like until they become too big, mature, or rowdy for the play group (usually we see this start to happen between 20-24 weeks of age, although sometimes puppies mature faster and age out of playgroups sooner).