and which shot records should I have for my dog or puppy?
For The DogSmith Small Paw Etiquette class, puppies must be up-to-date for their age, with at least the first set of DHLPP shots, usually given between 6-8 weeks of age. Because socialization is so important and needs to begin as early as possible we do not usually recommend waiting for the full three sets of puppy shots. Veterinarians will suggest different guidelines for your puppy, so please take their advice into consideration.
If your veterinarian tells you that your dog must have ALL vaccinations before attending a puppy class then he or she may not be current on the latest protocols for puppy socialization and vaccinations. The recommendation of the American Society of Veterinary Behaviorists (AVSAB) is as follows:
"In general, puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first de-worming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class."
If your veterinarian wants more information, you can print out a flyer from AVSAB that discusses WHY the protocols have changed. The primary reason for this change, in our opinion, is that “behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.” The AVSAB Puppy Socialization Position Statement can be downloaded from the AVSAB website:
The DogSmith Policy
At The DogSmith we agree with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's Position statement -"In general, puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first de-worming. They should be kept up to date throughout the class."
For non-puppy classes all dogs must have the full sequence of DHLPP (usually an annual booster for adult dogs) and the Rabies vaccine. We also require Bordetella which is an intranasal spray. Your dog's shot records may be anything from a vet receipt to a shot-vial sticker to a note from the breeder or a checked-off list with the shots on them. We have to work a bit on the honor system, but we do want to make sure the puppies are all safe.