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From Short-Term Solution to Long-Term Service

Puppy Play’s origins are rooted in, of all things, the 2020 pandemic. That year saw a spike in dog adoptions, which was wonderful. On the other hand, many puppies entered homes with families who lacked the know-how to support key developmental stages in their first few months.

So, providing resources to puppies and their families became a way for us to continue our mission when remote work reduced the desire for dog-walking services. We now continue to offer free socialization courses on a seasonal basis for the early training they need—and you need as an owner—to start them off on the right paw.

Illustration of sitting dog

You Play an Important Role in Your Puppy’s Growth

House training is usually the first skill people think of when it comes to their new pup, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Mounds of research show that dogs must be adequately socialized early on as part of behavioral development. And, to do this, they need help from you.

Puppies have a brief period from roughly three to eight months during which their instinct is to explore. Everything. Safely introducing them to new sights, sounds, smells, people, and other dogs is critical before this window closes. If you don’t, they may develop behavioral issues like fear or aggression in public that can be very hard, if not impossible, to reverse.

Simply put, proper socialization sets your dog up for a life of happiness. That ultimately makes your life easier, too, especially when you need support like boarding facilities, day cares, or dog walking down the road.

Dog sitting at door

Our Course Simplifies This Process for Dogs and Owners

Socializing your dog can and should be fun, not stressful. Our professionals offer a dynamic course for puppies in a controlled environment.
And the best part is, they don’t get to have all the fun. Puppy Play is just as enjoyable and valuable for their new owners.

Person walking two dogs

Puppies only

We minimize risk by keeping the course exclusive to puppies. Adult dogs often don’t like the nips and bumps that come with youthful exuberance. The wrong reaction could negatively affect a younger dog’s ability to handle pet care in a group setting, such as day cares or boarding facilities.

Three dogs illustration

Manageable group size

We limit each course to no more than 12 dogs, which are grouped according to their size and weight. This gives your puppy plenty of space to learn, play, and explore without being overwhelmed.

Dog with leash in its mouth

Safer than dog parks

Your puppy’s well-being is our priority. A strict vetting process ensures participants are adequately vaccinated, which is a big unknown in general parks. We also use appropriate cleaning practices and make sure the space is free of any potential hazards.

Dog wearing tie

Appropriate length

Between their limited attention spans and your limited time to begin with, we don’t want to overdo it. Our 50-minute course strikes just the right balance and is broken up into 10- to 15-minute segments, each separated by a water break to keep their energy up.

Dog walking on leash

Comfortable setting

Puppy Play is held outdoors on a seasonal basis to avoid the DMV’s temperature extremes during the summer and winter. The open-air space also exposes your pup to various sensory inputs as they acclimate to the world around them.

Dog shaking hand illustration

Basic obedience training

Although we concentrate on socialization, Puppy Play also incorporates other basic skills. Commands such as “sit” and “stay” will be used regularly throughout their lives, so getting young dogs used to them as part of the discovery process is only natural.

Two dogs high fiving

Fun and interactive

Our course is called Puppy Play for a reason! Just like with people, engaging activities are an effective learning tool for dogs. And when they get you involved as well, that makes for a great time had by everyone.

Dog waving paw illustration

Responsible intervention

Like kids whose romping turns into roughhousing, younger dogs can cross the line. We help you understand how to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy play as well as how to intervene when necessary.

Fun for Them, Free for You

Puppy Play is 100% free of charge. We believe strongly in animal welfare, part of which involves canine education. The last thing we want to see is another dog relinquished due to behavioral issues that could have been avoided through proper training as a puppy.

Such an important decision about your pet’s development shouldn’t be based on affordability. A fun, no-cost learning experience is our way of keeping dogs out of shelters, preventing the heartache that goes with it, and making Upper Northwest a model community for our dogs.

man walking dog illustration