Puppy Socialisation Classes
Unfortunately, so many of these puppy parties and puppy socialisation classes are run by vet nurses or others that really do not know the dangers of uncontrolled free play. Uncontrolled free play can do far more harm than good. Puppies of different ages and sizes are allowed off lead and the unconfident ones can become nervous wrecks, and the confident ones can become bullies.
The emphasis should be on owner education. The puppies should get short play times and these should be divided up to match size and personality. I emphasise that no puppy should be forced to socialise and that any socialisation programme should be tailored to the individual puppy and that all puppies must be allowed to take things at their own pace. Some puppies just sit on their owners’ laps and watch until they feel confident enough to go down. This is when the puppy asked to get down, not when the owner thinks they should.
It is far better not to go to a puppy class at all than to take your puppy to one that is not run by a knowledgeable trainer/behaviourist who is well aware that socialisation is not the best thing since sliced bread!
Very little is ever written about “over socialisation” – but I see plenty of this because contentious owners have read a lot about socialising there puppy and want to get ti right they have done all they can and now there puppy prefers the company of other dogs to them! They now cant let it off leash and they can’t get it back if other dogs are about, so decide to join dog training classes in hope of correcting this only to find out a class is held in a hall with other dogs and their puppy can’t concentrate and just gets frustrated because it associates seeing other dogs with playtime, not training with owner time. So, its a fine line between under socialising and over socialising, but always try to teach your puppy/young dog that you are the best thing on walks and you will engage in play and be fun, along with socialising with other dogs.