Valleydale Animal Clinic offers puppy socialization class

HOOVER – Puppies are cute and fun, but it is important for dog owners to establish good habits early and lay the foundation for a well-behaved and well-adjusted canine.

Valleydale Animal Clinic hosted a “Puppy Bowl” socialization class on Wednesday, Jan. 18, with about 10 owners letting their puppies play while they asked questions of veterinary staff members Laura Falone, associate veterinarian, and Meg Harris, kennel manager and certified dog obedience trainer.

Falone said her family added a new puppy at Christmas, and she knew of several customers with new puppies also.

Puppies need socialization, but it can be difficult because they should not be around other dogs in public until they have received all their vaccinations.

“We just felt like there was a need for the puppies to have other puppies to play with and meet other people,” Falone said.

Participants asked questions of Falone and Harris about wetting, jumping on people, staying on command, licking, losing teeth, playing rough and other issues.

Falone and Harris showed participants dog puzzles that can be ordered online.

“There are all types of things that can occupy your dog, and they’re safe,” Harris said.

Falone also allowed her therapy dog, Wallace, a golden retriever that was much larger than the puppies in the class, to join in the fun.

“You all have super sweet dogs, so [therapy training] is something you may want to think about,” Falone said.

Harris said consistency is important when training puppies.

“If it’s no today, it’s no tomorrow,” she said.

Falone and Harris also trimmed some of the puppies’ nails and talked about the importance of handling puppies’ feet and other areas frequently so that the dogs become accustomed to being handled.

“We got really good feedback about how much they enjoyed being able to let the puppies play together,” Falone said.