While puppy owners are told by veterinarians to keep their puppies at home until after they receive all of their vaccinations, Thomas and GiGi Lee of A+ Dog Training say that the first days of a puppy’s life are crucial to future behavioral development.
With this in mind, A+ Dog Training partnered with Taylor ER Veterinary Emergency Hospital to offer monthly Puppy Socials for puppies who may not have all their vaccinations, but who would benefit from interacting with other puppies their age.
“It’s important to socialize during this time when they are young,” said GiGi. “The first 100 days of a puppy’s life are when they absorb everything so it’s easier for a dog to learn how to socialize and play and know how hard a bite is when they are playing with another puppy. They learn what is okay and what is not okay.
“The more the dog is comfortable around other dogs and other people, the better behaved the dog will be when taken out in public,” continued GiGi.
As one of the first 12 Air Force Canine Handlers to be chosen to help support First Marine Expeditionary Force in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Thomas started A+ Dog Training six years ago as a way to provide in-home personal training for behavioral issues and group obedience classes. He was also a Canine Handler and Supervisor for Kontraband Interdiction and Detection Services. GiGi transitioned from being a third-grade teacher of 15 years to the Chief Operations Officer of A+ Dog Training in 2016.
Two years after forming their business, the Lees went around to all the local veterinary clinics in Turlock with the intent to host their very first puppy social. One such veterinary clinic was Taylor ER Veterinary Emergency Hospital, which immediately saw the Puppy Social as a great opportunity for both exposure and promoting good behavior in dogs.
“A lot of experts in the industry say that socializing puppies at an early age is key to the behavior they carry on to adulthood, but owners want to keep their puppy safe as well and not expose them to parvo until they are fully vaccinated,” said Taylor ER Veterinary Emergency Hospital Practice Manager Christa Truax. “In partnering with Tom and doing some research, we provide a safe environment for people to bring their puppies where the risk of exposure is significantly lower.”
Over the course of an hour, puppies will get to interact with other non-fully vaccinated puppies in a controlled environment. During the social, the Lees will take breaks to allow owners to ask questions about how to incorporate training techniques at home.
“We help them differentiate between good play and bad play and how to stop the rough play because rough play at a young age always tends to lead to dog fights,” said Thomas.
“It also gives the puppy owners a break from the chaos that they have with a puppy,” added Gigi. “They sometimes feel like they are the only one going through all of this, whether it’s their puppy chewing on their furniture, peeing all over the house or biting their ankles. They are able to talk to other puppy owners and realize they are not alone. This is just a time to relax and remember why they got the puppy in the first place.”
Thomas asked that puppies who attend Saturday’s event are not aggressive, have their second parvo shot and are up to one year old. Owners should bring their puppy on a leash and any shot record they have if they are not a client of Taylor ER Veterinary Emergency Hospital.
The Puppy Social will take place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Taylor ER Veterinary Emergency Hospital located at 1231 W. Taylor Road. The cost to attend is $25 per puppy, however, costs are waived for the first two socials for clients with a Taylor ER Veterinary Puppy Package. To register, call 669-8600.
There will also be a monthly free Community Pack Walk beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday around Stanislaus State. The group meets at the corner of Crowell Road and West Monte Vista Avenue. Walks last from 45 minutes to one hour with open sidewalks and lots of garbage cans for potty breaks.
“Anybody is welcome for the Community Pack Walks,” said GiGi. “We’ve got an average of about 40 dogs that go now and it’s a great community family event. People can come and go as they please.”
For more information on A+ Dog Training, visit 209dogtraining.com or call 985-7898.