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At what age should I take my puppy to puppy school?

Q. My puppy is 12 weeks old but at 12 weeks she is not fully immunised until she receives a booster at 16 weeks, and then the vet says you need to wait a weeks after that immunisation before taking them out.

 So my question is, how is it possible to start puppy pre-school when puppies are not immunised fully?

A. There is a huge amount of conflicting and confusing information and advice given by vets, breeders, pet store staff and dog trainers.

A medical argument from some vets and breeders is that if you take a puppy too early to puppy school s/he could get a fatal disease, therefore it is best to keep your puppy in cotton wool till s/he is four and a bit months old and has had all the required shots.

However, there is absolutely no guarantee that a puppy that is kept in the house or backyard will not get a fatal disease, such as parvo virus, from off the shoes of a stranger coming into the house.

Nowadays in most areas around Brisbane there are far less diseases about so that particular argument is less valid than it may have been in years gone by.

The counter argument from many other vets and breeders and certainly most forward thinking and experienced dog trainers is that by the time a puppy is 4 months old it is clearly far too late for puppy school.

It is almost 100% guaranteed that a puppy that does not get properly socialised to other puppies, things and places at a well-run puppy is going to grow up developmentally retarded. Unnecessary behavioural problems inevitably develop and thousands of cute fluffy eight week old puppies never make it to their first birthday.

Research in USA has shown that the risk of dying from a fatal disease is far less than having to be re-homed or euthanized because of a socially unacceptable behavioural problem.

Provided they have had their first set of injections most modern thinking vets in Australia, as well as the RSPCA and training schools, will actively encourage owners to take puppies to puppy school from the age of eight weeks.

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