FAQs: About Puppy School
Should I enroll my puppy in Dog Therapy Puppy School?
Is your dog already enrolled at Dog Therapy? Click here for more FAQs.
WHAT IS A PUPPY?
How old/young should my puppy be to start puppy school?
Puppies can start school as young as 9-10 weeks old, depending on their vaccination history. They must begin our program before 14 weeks of age. The earlier they start the program, the more benefits they will get from it!
Why can’t my dog start after 14 weeks?
Puppies grow fast, and by four months they’ve already started forming their opinions of things. We find that dogs respond best to our program if they begin early and attend consistently. Pups that start at or after 14 weeks have a harder time adjusting and exhibit more separation anxiety. Since we want school to be a positive experience for all the puppies, we require that they start before they reach 14 weeks of age.
Are there any size limits?
Puppies must be under 15 pounds to begin school. We want the big kids to start school as young as they safely can, so we have time to teach them manners. We limit the size of any pup to 50 lbs, which means that large breeds will graduate sooner. It’s especially important to socialize large breeds early, since soon they will be physically much stronger than the humans.
What kinds of vaccinations does my dog need?
Puppies must have received their second DAP vaccine to start school. This is the standard “booster” shot that you will get on your first visit to the vet with your new puppy. Puppies usually receive the first shot from the shelter or breeder before they get to you.
We also require the Bordetella vaccine, but please note that having the Bordetella vaccine does not prevent your puppy from getting “Kennel Cough.”
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
What makes Dog Therapy different from other puppy schools/dog day cares?
Daycare is great, especially for more energetic dogs. Having canine friends is extremely important to your dog’s mental well-being. But daycares and dog parks can be really overwhelming to a young puppy, and it can be hard to fit all the socialization they require into a short window of time.
At Dog Therapy we provide a safe space for puppies to be when they can’t be with their humans. We are a small facility with a limited class size, so all the pups get lots of human attention. You’ll know that your baby is being well cared for and carefully observed.
We also work on some of the issues you may have at home - we reinforce potty training, playing nicely with humans, and using an inside voice. We act as referees for puppy play to make sure everyone has a good time and learns good manners.
We feel that our job is to prepare young dogs for some of the situations they’ll face later in life. Things like playing in a group of other dogs, or having strangers come in. Being able to read and properly respond to these situations means that your dog will live a happier life.
What is a normal day like?
The mornings are for crazy play time. We spend that time refereeing puppy play to make sure everyone is having fun and following the rules. At noon we have snack time, and after snack we do some desensitization work. We introduce them to various noises, sights, equipment - everything from wheelchairs to umbrellas. In the afternoon we have some human visitors come by, just to keep the puppies used to new people. By the late afternoon some of the pups are tired, so there’s usually a relaxation time. (We hesitate to call it a “nap” time.) Of course puppies are always able to get away from it all and have a rest. Then at the end of the day all the pups line up near the front window to wait for their parents to come get them.
It’s really cute.
What will you teach my dog?
We teach puppies that humans and other dogs are their friends.
We encourage good manners like not jumping on people or biting too hard.
We referee a lot of puppy play to make sure everyone is having fun.
We work on potty training and using inside voices, and responding when someone calls you.
We try to avoid verbal commands as much as possible, because different people use different commands and we don’t want to counter anything you’re doing at home.
Most of the training we do is just positive reinforcement for good behaviors, and gentle redirection of bad behaviors.
We do use the puppy’s name a lot, to help their name recognition and response.
What days and times is Dog Therapy open?
We are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
We are closed on weekends, as well as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. We are open regular hours on all other holidays.
Do you allow visitors? What people will my dog be exposed to?
Prior to Covid-19 we allowed visitors for several hours each day. Unfortunately that isn’t possible right now, but we still want the puppies to get used to the idea of new people coming in. We have a few longtime visitors that we allow to come in and play with the pups so they still get human time.
What happens when my puppy gets too old or big?
Puppies graduate as they get bigger/older, but the most important factor is energy level. We’re a small facility - a more active pup will require more space to run.
Bigger and more active dogs may graduate as early as 4-5 months. Even smaller or lazier dogs will eventually decide they’re too mature for puppies (usually around 6-9 months). You will be notified several weeks in advance if we think your pup might be getting ready for graduation, and we provide a list of local daycares and walking services we recommend.
Graduation varies by dog, but if you have a high energy pup they might only be with us for a short time. It’s still great practice for big kid daycare, and they’ll go in knowing how to make friends!
When should I get my dog fixed?
We require all dogs to be fixed by 8 months of age in order to continue to attend Dog Therapy.
What are you doing about COVID?
Masks are required of all humans inside Dog Therapy. We have increased ventilation and are adhering to social distancing rules. In order to maintain distance, your dog will enter and exit through their own special door, and we are not accepting items from home (leashes, lunches, etc.)
When picking up or dropping off, we ask that only one person at a time come in.
HOW DO WE GET STARTED?
How do I apply to get my puppy enrolled in puppy school?
Please note: we will not confirm registration until we have received the vaccination records. Once we have received the vaccinations we will contact you to verify your puppy’s first day of school.
When and how will I know if my puppy has been accepted?
Once you’ve completed the Registration form, you will receive an automated email letting you know we’ve received your info and are reviewing it. Within 48 hours you will receive a message confirming your first day of Puppy School or requesting more information.
If we are accepted, when can my puppy start?
We try to limit the "new kids" to one per day, in order to make sure they get enough attention on their first day of school. Once we have the vaccination records we will email you to give you options for your puppy's first day.
How can I get in touch with you if I have any other questions?
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 781-609-7792.
(The phone may be difficult, so we recommend using email whenever possible.)
Is your dog already enrolled at Dog Therapy? Click here for more FAQs.