What age should puppies start class?

In line with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, I require puppies to be at least 10 weeks old to attend Super Puppy Class. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccinations and first de-worming at least 7 days prior to the first class. And they should be kept up to date on vaccines throughout the class.

But my vet said my puppy should have all it’s vaccinations prior to going to class.

Vets will recommends this because they don’t know the location of your puppy class. Many classes are held in big box stores and public parks where the threat isn’t necessarily from the other puppies in class, but from the other dogs in the vicinity that may or may not be up-to-date on their shots.

My Super Puppy Class is held in a controlled environment and I make sure that all the puppies that start class are at least 10 weeks old and on the proper vaccination schedule.

The reason I start class at 10 weeks is to begin socialization during your puppy’s critical imprint period.  Studies have shown that incomplete or improper socialization during the first 16 weeks can increase the risk of serious behavior problems later in life.  So while waiting for all your vaccinations might be playing it on the safe side from a medical perspective, depending on the schedule it can be putting them at risk for behavioral issues down the line.

So my approach is to balance the vaccination and socialization schedules to ensure your puppy is healthy, well socialized and set up for success.

Recommended schedule:
7-8 weeks old: Schedule your puppy’s first vaccinations & de-worming appointment
8-9 weeks old: Visit your vet
10 weeks old: Begin Super Puppy Class!

If your puppy is a little off schedule, it’s okay! Email me with your dog’s breed, age and vaccination history and I’ll respond with a tailored plan to ensure proper socialization. 

For more information please visit:

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
Position Statement on Early Socialization

The Pet Professionals Guild
Puppy Socialization and Vaccinations Belong Together