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AVSAB Puppy Socialization Position Statement

We’re proud that our socialization process, and the advice that we share with new puppy parents, is consistent with the information put forth in the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Puppy Socialization.

Here are some highlights from the paper:

  • “The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.

  • “Behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters. Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.”

  • Puppies should be handled from birth, learning to accept manipulation of all body parts. Every effort should be made to expose them to as many different people, well-socialized animals, situations, places, etc. as possible.”

  • “Puppies should be encouraged to explore, investigate, and manipulate their environments. Interactive toys and games, a variety of surfaces, tunnels, steps, chutes, and other stimuli can enrich the puppy’s environment.”

  • Puppies should accompany their breeders/owners on as many car trips as possible. These exposures should continue into adulthood to maintain an outgoing and sociable dog.”

  • Puppy socialization classes can offer a safe and organized means of socializing puppies and more quickly improve their responsiveness to commands. Each puppy should have up-to-date vaccinations and be disease and parasite free before entering the class. Visits to dog parks or other areas that are not sanitized and/or are highly trafficked by dogs of unknown vaccination or disease status should be avoided.

  • “Classes and at-home training should be based on positive reinforcement with frequent rewards praise, petting, play and/ or treats. Positive and consistent training is associated with fewer behavioral problems and greater obedience than methods that involve punishment and/or encourage human dominance.

“Recently there was a study where they looked at over 1,000 puppies who attended a puppy socialization class, and the minimum requirement being they started class 7 days after their first set of vaccines. And wouldn’t you know, not a single one of them had a case of parvo? Out of over 1,000 puppies. So really the risk of infectious disease, if you’re following that minimum requirement of vaccinating that puppy 7 days before the start of class, is minuscule. Yet the risk of their developing a behavior problem from a lack of socialization during that very critical time is substantial.” ~ Dr. Meghan Herron DVM – Director, Behavioral Medicine Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Puppy Culture. Madcap Productions, 2015.

Our program relies heavily on Puppy Culture – a gold standard in puppy rearing and early socialization. The science-based methods are supported and explained by expert breeders, veterinarians, and behaviorists.

If you want to see how the Puppy Culture program can help you continue your puppy’s development, click here to read about Puppy Culture for owners.

Many people, after learning about the lifelong benefits experienced by PC puppies and their families, decide that they want to find a puppy raised in Puppy Culture from birth. We’ve met the documentation requirements to be featured on the Puppy Culture Worldwide Breeder Map.


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