Puppy Head Start

Puppy Head Start graduate Jax showed off his confidence with new surfaces by climbing right onto this scale at a vet clinic during one of his socialization field trips.

Start your puppy off with the best paw forward! This is a program which is specifically designed for the sensitive developmental period that ends around 16 weeks of age. Your puppy’s brain and body are both growing rapidly during this time, and we can help to shape her behavior with early intervention! Puppies must be 16 weeks of age or younger at the start of their program to be eligible for Puppy Head Start.

Your puppy’s action-packed Head Start program will include extensive socialization and handling. Positive handling ensures that your puppy loves the vet, behaves politely for the groomer (or for at-home grooming), and is easy to treat in the event of injuries or illness. No more nail trimming battles! You can have that happy, cooperative dog who makes the entire vet staff light up when you come in the door! Extensive professional socialization builds confidence and social skills in impressionable pups for a stable, balanced adult.

Here are the specific skills we teach:

  • Crate training
    • Wait patiently while the crate door is opened
    • “Kennel up!” on cue
  • Name recognition
  • Potty training assistance (we will reward all outdoor potties and provide a regular schedule)
  • Socialization
    • Puppy playtime to learn about other dogs
    • Positive exposures to new surfaces
    • Confidence-building and body awareness through navigating obstacles
    • Desensitization to common noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms, city sounds, and household appliances
    • Polite greetings with a wide variety of people
  • Handling – teaching your puppy to LOVE…
    • Collar grabs
    • Nail trimming
    • Ear handling and cleaning
    • Paw handling/wiping
    • Brushing
    • Tooth/mouth checks
    • Tooth brushing
  • Positive introduction to a head halter or harness to instill good leash manners.
  • Sit for petting (instead of jumping up).
  • Gentle mouths (we will provide appropriate guidance to teach your puppy not to nip or bite in play, as well as redirection to a toy when she is excited).
  • Chew toy training (including introduction to a wide variety of puzzle toys and advice on your puppy’s favorite toys, so that she learns to chew up her toys instead of your shoes).

Puppy Head Start graduate Riley showed off his great focus and sits outside a busy vet clinic during a field trip on his last day at Camp

Your puppy will receive four daily, personalized one-on-one training sessions with a professional dog trainer, as well as two daily, personalized socialization sessions. These often include field trips to new locations so that we can continue positively expanding your puppy’s world. In addition to training and socialization, we make sure that each puppy receives an age-appropriate amount of physical exercise each day so that they’re pleasantly tired when you pick them up in the evening.

Throughout this entire process, we keep you in the loop with daily report cards covering everything your puppy did during the day, as well as a secret Facebook group where we post regular training videos and photos so that you can keep up-to-date on your puppy’s adventures! We also send home a brief (~5-minute-long) homework assignment each night so that you will learn as your puppy learns, for a lifetime of good habits. Our Day Camp is a training school that you and your puppy will both love!

Puppy Head Start is a two-week-long program which costs $600.00. Puppies must be up-to-date on vaccinations, comfortable in a crate, and less than 16 weeks of age at the start of their session to qualify. (Not quite there yet? Consider our private training lessons instead.)

Ready to enroll? Fill out your puppy’s personalized profile here to reserve their spot in an upcoming session!