We have five memberships.
Individual (Single Adult) $40.00
Individual (Single Adult) $40.00
Constitution and Bylaws
Name and Objectives
SECTION 1. The name of the club shall be the Red River Standard Schnauzer Club of Texas (“the Club”)
SECTION 2. The objectives of the Club shall be:
(a) to encourage and promote quality in the breeding of the purebred Standard Schnauzer and to bring their natural qualities to perfection.
(b) to urge members and breeders to accept the written breed standard, as approved by the Standard Schnauzer Club of America and filed with the American Kennel Club, as the only standard of excellence by which Standard Schnauzers are bred and judged.
- to provide information for the general public and our members about the Standard Schnauzer, its health, breeding, care, and training requirements.
- to protect and advance the interest of the breed by encouraging sportsmanship among the owners, breeders, and fanciers of the Standard Schnauzer.
- to act as a local contact for Standard Schnauzer Rescue and provide referrals for prospective owners to responsible breeders in the immediate area.
- to promote the Standard Schnauzer's natural abilities as a show dog, obedience dog, multi performance dog and family companion, by sponsoring and supporting dog shows and other companion and performance events for which the Club is eligible.
- to conduct sanctioned matches, dog shows and any other events for which the club is eligible under the Rules and Regulations of The American Kennel Club.
SECTION 3. The Club shall not be conducted or operated for profit and no part of any remainder or residue from dues shall inure to the benefit of any member or individual.
SECTION 4. The members of the Club shall adopt and may, from time to time, revise such Bylaws as may be required to carry out these objectives.
SECTION 1. Eligibility. Full membership is open to persons 18 years of age and older, who have not been suspended by The American Kennel Club, our Parent Club or any other Dog Club, who have signed the Club’s Code of Ethics, and whose dues for the current year are paid. While membership is unrestricted as to residence, the Club's primary purpose is to be representative of Owners, Breeders, and Fanciers in its immediate area.
SECTION 2. Types of Memberships. There shall be six (6) classifications of members:
Regular (Individual) — Enjoys all club privileges including the right to vote and hold office.
Household — Two (2) adult members residing in the same household, each eligible to vote and hold office.
Student – Open to Fulltime students, over the age of 18 years, (proof of student’s fulltime status required), enjoys all club privileges including the right to vote and hold office.
Associate — Entitled to all club privileges except voting and office holding (offered to individuals who live outside of the club’s area or individuals who live in the club’s area but are not active).
Junior — Open to children under 18 years of age; a nonvoting/non office holding membership which may automatically convert to regular membership at age 18. A parent/guardian must sign the Club Code of Ethics in the Junior’s stead.
Honorary — Conferred on an individual, by a vote of the members. This person(s) has made significant contributions to the Sport, Breed, or the Club; for at least ten years. Honorary members are not eligible to vote or hold office. Honorary members can maintain regular (or household) membership if they pay dues.
SECTION 3. Loss of Voting Privileges. The unexcused absence of a voting member from three (3) consecutive meetings or failure to volunteer and work at least one annual club event, unless excused by the board of directors, shall operate as the accepted change of that membership from voting to non-voting status. All written requests for excusal will be considered by the club’s board of directors. The difference in dues will be forfeited. No member may vote whose dues are not paid for the current year.
SECTION 4. Dues by type of Memberships
Individual Membership dues shall not exceed $250 per year. Household Membership dues shall not exceed $400 per year.
Associate and Student membership dues shall not exceed one-half the amount of an Individual Membership.
Honorary and Junior Memberships pay no dues.
Dues are set at the annual meeting. Payment of Club dues are payable on or before April 1st each year.
SECTION 5. Application for Membership. Applicants for membership shall apply on a form provided by the Club stating that the applicant agrees to abide by this Constitution, Bylaws, and the rules of the American Kennel Club. The application shall carry the endorsement of two members in good standing with the Club and the American Kennel Club, who do not reside in the same household with the applicant. Application must be accompanied by the Club Code of Ethics. The application must be accompanied by the Membership fee for the current year. Membership Applications and fees received from January to the Annual Meeting in March, shall be deemed paid in full and not subject to any increase or additional fees that may occur at the Annual Meeting in March. All applications are to be filed with the Secretary and each applicant must attend two (2) club meetings or events in the year prior to a vote of membership.
SECTION 6. Publication and Review of Membership Applicants. All applications for membership are forwarded to the board of directors, who shall cause the Application summary to be published for membership review.
SECTION 7. Objection to Membership Applicants. Objections to the acceptance of an applicant by the general membership must be in writing and received by the Secretary 30 days prior to the Applicant(s) being recommended for full membership by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall forward any objections submitted by members, to the general membership for consideration prior to a vote.
SECTION 8. Vote on Membership Applicants. Once the applicant has met the requirements of Article I, the Board of the Directors shall make a recommendation to the membership of Acceptance or Non-Acceptance of the applicant. A secret written ballot shall be cast by members at any General Club Meeting. A 2/3 affirmative vote by those members present at that meeting shall be all that is necessary for Acceptance or Non-Acceptance of an applicant. The club can only inform applicants whether the constitutionally mandated affirmative majority vote was received.
Applicants for membership who have been rejected by the club may not reapply within six months after such rejection.
SECTION 9. Termination of Membership. Memberships may be terminated:
- by resignation. Any member in good standing may resign from the club upon written notice to the Secretary, but no member may resign when in debt to the club. Obligations other than dues are considered a debt to the club and must be paid in full prior to resignation. Resignations may be accepted via email provided the sender’s address is documented and readily recognizable.
- by lapsing. A membership will be considered as lapsed and automatically terminated if such member’s dues remain unpaid on June 1st, of each year. The board may grant an additional 60 days of grace to such delinquent members in meritorious cases. In no case may a person be entitled to vote at any club meeting whose dues are unpaid as of the date of that meeting.
- by expulsion. A membership may be terminated by expulsion as provided in Article VI of these bylaws.
Meetings and Voting
SECTION 1. Alternative Meeting Venue. Club Meetings, when possible, should be conducted in person with Club Members present, but when circumstances do not permit social gatherings, the Club may conduct Remote Telecommunication Technology Meetings to further club business. These telecommunication meetings shall be conducted pursuant to this Article and the State of Texas laws and regulations.
Pursuant to Texas Code of Business Operations, Title 2, CORPORATIONS Chapter 22, NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS, Subchapter A, GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 22.002. MEETINGS BY REMOTE COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
A meeting of the members of a corporation, the board of directors of a corporation, or any committee designated by the board of directors of a corporation may be held by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment, another suitable electronic communications system, including videoconferencing technology or the Internet, or any combination of those means, in accordance with Section 6.002.
Pursuant to Texas Code of Business Operations Title 1, GENERAL PROVISIONS CHAPTER 6. MEETINGS AND VOTING FOR DOMESTIC ENTITIES, SUBCHAPTER A, MEETINGS,
SECTION 6.002. ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF MEETINGS.
(a) Subject to this code and the governing documents of a domestic entity, the owners, members, or governing persons of the entity, or a committee of the owners, members, or governing persons, may hold meetings by using a conference telephone or similar communications equipment, or another suitable electronic communications system, including videoconferencing technology or the Internet, or any combination, if the telephone or other equipment or system permits each person participating in the meeting to communicate with all other persons participating in the meeting.
(b) If voting is to take place at the meeting, the entity must:
- implement reasonable measures to verify that every person voting at the meeting by means of remote communications is sufficiently identified; and
- keep a record of any vote or other action taken.
SECTION 2. Club Meetings. The Club shall hold at least six meetings (or events) a year in the Club’s focal point area, which is the greater Killeen, Texas area, in a geographic triangle serving Dallas/Fort Worth, southwest to San Antonio and Southeast to Houston. The meetings will be held at such hour and place designated by the Board of Directors. These meetings will include the months of December and March for the purpose of nominating and electing the Board of Directors. Written notice of each such meeting shall be mailed or emailed by the Secretary at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the meeting and shall include an Agenda. The quorum for such meetings shall be 20 percent of the members in good standing.
SECTION 3. Special Club Meetings. Special club meetings may be called by the President, or by a majority vote of the members of the board who are present and voting at any regular or special meeting of the board; and shall be called by the Secretary upon receipt of a petition signed by five members of the club who are in good standing. Such special meetings shall be held within the greater Killeen, Texas area, in a geographic triangle serving Dallas/Fort Worth, southwest to San Antonio and
Southeast to Houston, at such place, date and hour as may be designated by the person or persons authorized herein to call such meetings. Written notice of such a meeting shall be mailed or emailed by the Secretary at least five (5) days and not more than 15 day prior to the date of the meeting, and said notice shall state the purpose of the meeting, and no other club business may be transacted thereat. The quorum for such meetings shall be 20 percent of the members in good standing.
SECTION 4. Board Meetings. Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held each month, within the greater Killeen, Texas area, in a geographic triangle serving Dallas/Fort Worth, southwest to San Antonio and Southeast to Houston and at such date and hour determined by the Board. Board meetings may be via telephone conference call or via video conference so long as all attendees at such meeting are able to hear one another. Written notice of each such meeting shall be mailed or emailed by the Secretary at least five days prior to the date of the meeting and shall include an Agenda. The quorum for such a meeting shall be majority of the Board. The Board shall meet a minimum of six times per year.
SECTION 5. Special Board Meetings. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the President; or shall be called by the Secretary upon receipt of a written request signed by at least three members of the Board. Such special meetings shall be held within the greater Killeen, Texas area, in a geographic triangle serving Dallas/Fort Worth, southwest to San Antonio and Southeast to Houston, at such date, and hour determined by the Board or designated by the person authorized herein to call such a meeting. Written notice of such meeting shall be mailed or emailed by the Secretary at least five days and not more than 10 days prior to the date of the meeting. Any such notice shall state the purpose of the meeting. No other business shall be transacted thereat. The quorum for such a meeting shall be a simple majority of the Board.
SECTION 6. Meeting Notification. Club may send members notification of club meetings (also included would be dues notices; minutes and newsletters) and board members notification of board meetings via mail or email. Members and Board Members shall sign an authorization agreeing to accept email notifications. This authorization shall be signed at the club’s Annual Meeting or with payment of Club dues. Such authorization is revocable. The club is not liable for mailed notifications that were received late, due to circumstances beyond the club’s control.
SECTION 7. Voting. Each Regular or Household member, in good standing, whose dues are paid for the current year, shall be entitled to one vote at any meeting of the Club at which the member is present.
Proxy and absentee voting will not be permitted at any meeting or election. Electronic voting shall be permitted at meetings held pursuant to Section 1 of this Article.
Directors and Officers
SECTION 1. Board of Directors. Board of Directors shall serve as the Club’s officers, all of whom shall be in good standing and all of whom shall be elected for one-year terms at the club’s annual meeting as provided in Article IV and shall serve until their successors are elected. The Board of Directors shall serve in their respective Officer capacities for a period of one year (March to March). General management of the Club’s affairs (including Day to day operations and long-term planning and club treasury), shall be entrusted to the Board of Directors.
Term Limits: No member shall serve on the Board of Directors for more than FIVE CONSECUTIVE years. Board Members who have served this consecutive year maximum, shall not be re-elected for a period of two years.
SECTION 2. Officers. The club’s officers, consisting of the President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, shall serve in their respective capacities, with regards to the club and its meetings, and the board and its meetings.
- The President shall preside at all meetings of the club, and of the board, and shall have the duties and powers normally appurtenant to the office of President in addition to those particularly specified in these bylaws.
- The 1st Vice President shall have the duties and exercise the powers of the President in case of the President’s death, absence, or incapacity.
- The 2nd Vice President shall enhance two-way communications, between the club, its members, the fancy, and the general public utilizing traditional communication means (mail, email) as well as electronic platforms (e.g. website, Social Media platforms); sharing Breed and Club news and events and monitoring outside fancy educational, legislative, and show and trial opportunities.
- The Secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the club and of the board and of all matters of which a record shall be ordered by the club; have charge of the correspondence, notify members of meetings, notify new members of their election to membership, notify officers and directors of their election to office, keep a roll of the members of the club with their addresses, which shall be sent to any member in good standing, upon written request, not more than once every club year, and carry out such other duties as are prescribed in these bylaws.
- The Treasurer shall collect and receive all moneys due or belonging to the club. Moneys shall be deposited in a bank designated by the board, in the name of the club. The books shall at all times be open to inspection by the board and a report shall be given at every meeting on the condition of the club’s finances and every item of receipt or payment not before reported; and at the annual meeting an accounting shall be rendered of all moneys received and expended during the previous fiscal year. The Treasurer shall be bonded in such amount as the board of directors shall determine.
No officer position shall be combined with any other officer position.
SECTION 3. Vacancies. Any vacancies occurring on the board during the year shall be filled until the next annual election by a majority vote of the members of the board at its first regular meeting following the creation of such vacancy, or at a special board meeting called for that purpose; except that a vacancy in the office of President shall be filled automatically by the 1st Vice President and the resulting vacancy in the office of 1st Vice President shall be filled by the board.
The Club Year, Annual Meeting, Elections
SECTION 1. Club Year. The Club’s fiscal year shall begin on the first day of April, following the Annual Club Meeting (held in March) and end on the last day of March.
The Club’s official year shall begin immediately upon the conclusion of the election at the annual meeting and shall continue through the election at the next annual meeting.
SECTION 2. Annual Meeting. The annual meeting shall be held in the month of March, at which the Board of Directors /Officers for the ensuing year shall be elected by secret ballot, from among those nominated in accordance with Section 4 of this Article. They shall take office immediately upon the conclusion of the election and each retiring officer shall turn over all properties and records relating to that office, to the successor in office, within 30 days after the election.
SECTION 3. Elections. The nominated candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected.
SECTION 4. Nominations. No person may be a candidate in a club election who has not been nominated. During the month of September, the board shall select a Nominating Committee consisting of three members and two alternates, not more than one of whom may be a member of the board. The Secretary shall immediately notify the committee members and alternates of their selection. The board shall name a chairperson for the committee and it shall be such person’s duty to call a committee meeting, which shall be held on or before October 10th. Such meeting may be held in person or by telephone conference call so long as all attendees at such meeting are able to hear one another.
- The committee shall nominate one candidate for each position on the board and, after securing the consent of each person so nominated, shall immediately report their nominations to the Secretary in writing.
- Upon receipt of the Nominating Committee’s report, the Secretary shall, at least two weeks before the December meeting, notify each member in writing of the candidates so nominated.
- Additional nominations may be made at the December meeting by any member in attendance, provided that the person so nominated does not decline when their name is proposed, and provided further that if the proposed candidate is not in attendance at this meeting, the proposer shall present to the Secretary a written statement from the proposed candidate signifying willingness to be a candidate. No person may be a candidate for more than one position. Additional written Nominations may be made under section (c) requirements, provided these nominations are received by the Secretary, via mail or email, prior to December 31st.
- The Secretary shall include the Slate of Candidates with the notice for the Annual Meeting.
- Nominations cannot be made at the annual meeting or in any manner other than as provided in this Section.
- No person may be a candidate for a board position who is not in good standing with the Club, including full voting rights.
SECTION 1. Appointments. The board may appoint standing and special committees to advance the work of the club that are best served by Committee or aids the Club, from time-to-time, with projects. Committees are appointed by and subject to the final authority of the board of directors. The board of directors can accept, in whole or in part, any committee recommendation.
Appointments as the CHAIR of a committee is limited to members in good standing, with full voting privileges (Individual, Household, Student).
Committee members are open to all Member Categories (Article I, Section 2) and as necessary to advance the goals of the Committee and at the discretion of the Committee Chair, with approval from the Board.
SECTION 2. Termination. Any committee appointment may be terminated by a majority vote of the full membership of the board upon written notice to the appointee; and the board may appoint successors to those persons whose services have been terminated.
SECTION 1. American Kennel Club Suspension. Any member who is suspended from any of their privileges of The American Kennel Club (AKC), shall automatically be suspended from the privileges of this club for a like period.
SECTION 2. Charges. An individual member may prefer charges against another individual member for alleged misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club. Written charges with specifications must be filed in duplicate with the Secretary together with a deposit of $100.00, which shall be forfeited if such charges are not sustained by the board following a hearing. The Secretary shall promptly send a copy of the charges to each member of the board or present them at a board meeting, and the board shall first consider whether the actions alleged in the charges, if proven, might constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club. If the board considers that the charges do not allege conduct which would be prejudicial to the best interests of the club, it may refuse to entertain jurisdiction. If the board entertains jurisdiction of the charges, it shall fix a date for a hearing by the board not less than three weeks nor more than six weeks thereafter. The Secretary shall promptly send one copy of the charges and the specifications to the accused member by registered mail together with a notice of the hearing and an assurance that the defendant may personally appear in his own defense and bring witnesses if defendant wishes.
Either the complainant or defendant may submit specific objections to any board member participating in the disciplinary process. The objection must be communicated via U S Mail or via email, to the club
Secretary within 7 days of receipt of the notification of the hearing. If the objection is upheld and the particular board member’s vote directly affected the decision to entertain charges and schedule a hearing, the remaining eligible board members must first re-consider the decision to entertain charges and notify both the complainant and defendant within 7 days of the receipt of any objection.
SECTION 3. Board Hearing. The board shall have complete authority to decide whether counsel may attend the hearing, but both complainant and defendant shall be treated uniformly in that regard. Should the charges be sustained after hearing all the evidence and testimony presented by complainant and defendant, the board may by a majority vote of those present reprimand or suspend the defendant from all privileges of the club for not more than six months from the date of the hearing. And, if it deems that punishment insufficient, it may also recommend to the membership that the penalty be expulsion. In such case, the suspension shall not restrict the defendant’s right to appear before his fellow members at the ensuing club meeting which considers the board’s recommendation. Immediately after the board has reached a decision, its finding shall be put in written form and filed with the Secretary. The Secretary, in turn, shall notify each of the parties of the board’s decision and penalty, if any.
SECTION 4. Expulsion. Expulsion of a member from the club may be accomplished only at a meeting of the club following a board hearing and upon the board’s recommendation as provided in Section 3 of this Article. Such proceedings may occur at a regular or special meeting of the club to be held within 60 days but not earlier than 30 days after the date of the board’s recommendation of expulsion. The defendant shall have the privilege of appearing in his own behalf, though no evidence shall be taken at this meeting. The President shall read the charges and the board’s finding and recommendation, and shall invite the defendant, if present, to speak in his own behalf if he wishes. The members shall then vote by secret ballot on the proposed expulsion. A 2⁄3 vote of those present and voting at the meeting shall be necessary for expulsion. If expulsion is not so voted, the board’s suspension shall stand.
SECTION 1. Amendments to the constitution and bylaws may be proposed by the board of directors or by written petition addressed to the Secretary signed by 20 percent of the membership in good standing. Amendments proposed by such petition shall be promptly considered by the board of directors and must be submitted to the members with recommendations of the board by the Secretary for a vote within three months of the date when the petition was received by the Secretary.
SECTION 2. The constitution and bylaws may be amended by a 2⁄3 secret vote of the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting called for the purpose, provided the proposed amendments have been included in the notice of the meeting and mailed to each member at least two weeks prior to the date of the meeting.
[ SECTION 3. No amendment to the Constitution/Bylaws that is adopted by the club shall become effective until it has been approved by the Board of Directors of The American Kennel Club. ]
SECTION 1. The club may be dissolved at any time by the written consent of not less than 2⁄3 of the members in good standing. In the event of the dissolution of the club other than for purposes of reorganization whether voluntary or involuntary or by operation of law, none of the property of the club nor any proceeds thereof nor any assets of the club shall be distributed to any members of the club, but after payment of the debts of the club its property and assets shall be given to a charitable organization for the benefit of dogs selected by the board of directors.
Order of Business
SECTION 1. At meetings of the club, the order of business, so far as the character and nature of the meeting may permit, shall be as follows:
Minutes of last meeting
Report of President
Report of Secretary
Report of Treasurer
Reports of committees
Election of officers and board (at annual meeting)
Election of new members
SECTION 2. At meetings of the board, the order of business, unless otherwise directed by majority vote of those present, shall be as follows:
Reading of minutes of last meeting
Report of Secretary
Report of Treasurer
Reports of committees
SECTION 1. The rules contained in the current edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised,” shall govern the club in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any other special rules of order the club may adopt.
RRSSC BYLAWS, 3RD EDITION DATED: 05/01/2020
APPROVED BY MEMBERS: JUNE 24, 2020
The Red River Standard Schnauzer Club of Texas is dedicated to promoting the historical attributes of the Standard Schnauzer as a small farm dog and working companion with a natural affinity for children and intelligent protectiveness. Our membership is open to residents and non-residents of the State of Texas who share a passion for this breed, are looking for like-minded schnauzer lovers to explore sports and shows, and develop friendships within the fancy; while showing off the athleticism, companionship, and innate intelligence of this ancient breed. We are here to mentor new owners and share our collective 150+ years of experience and knowledge among our members and with the communities where we live and work.
Welcome to the Red River Standard Schnauzer Club! We hope you enjoy your visit as you learn about our kennel club. Having a dog in your life is an incredible experience. There is nothing like the relationship between a person and their dog. We all love our dogs and being involved with other "dog people." Our website says a lot about who we are. You will find a wealth of information here. If you cannot find the information you need, please let us know so we can provide additional resources. Below you will find information about our club as well as valuable tools for you and your canine family. We have fun in our club. We hope you will consider becoming a part of our dog family.
Our "ABOUT" page describes our club history and lists of our officers, directors, and committees. You will also find our bylaws and code of ethics.
Our "EVENTS" page has lists of upcoming meetings, competitions, fundraisers and community events. We believe in being a part of our community and giving pack. You will also find entry forms and can make reservations related to upcoming events.
The "MEMBERSHIP" page provides valuable information about our various types of memberships. We hope you will consider becoming a member.
Have questions? Our "MORE INFO" page is full of questions and answers about a multitude of topics from becoming a member to helpful information for you and you dog. Thinking about a puppy? You will find help information here.
Thinking about a puppy? Our "PUPPY" pages are designed specifically for people who are thinking about making a puppy part of their family, whether deciding on a breed, finding a breeder, or knowing about what to expect from your new family member.
Need help? Have a question? Visit our "MORE INFO" page.
"MEMBERS ONLY"? Well that is for members. Join us and we will let you in.
Find quick connections to other organizations on out "LINKS" page. Health organizations, dog legislation, and even a podcast link.
Pictures speak a thousand words. Visit our "SCRAPBOOKS" to see pictures about previous events and get-togethers. You will learn much about our club and our members.
Thanks again for visiting our site. We appreciate you stopping by and hope you will return again and again.
The day you bring a puppy home is a very special time. There are however many things to consider before getting a puppy. Similar to all life events, time flies, and your puppy will grow into a dog in no time. Make sure you do do some serious research and thinking before you make the major commitment to having a puppy in your home.
To help you in your process of determining if having a puppy in your family we have created a list of questions with answers to these questions.
Here is a good list of the things you need to have ready when you bring your new puppy home.
- Food designed specifically for puppies
- Treats for training
- Food and water dishes
- Crate (to be replaced by a bigger one as he grows)
- Crate bedding (at least 2 sets)
- Puppy house-training wee-wee pads
- Dog gate(s)
- Soft, adjustable collar (and new ones as he grows)
- At least one 4-to-6-foot leash, leather or webbed (an additional longer lead useful for training)
- At least 5 or 6 safe chew toys (the more the better — toys can be rotated)
- A brush the breeder recommends for your puppy’s coat and sturdy metal comb
- Gentle puppy shampoo
- Good-quality dog nail trimmer or Dremel made specifically for dogs
You should be able to ask many questions and in addition you should expect for questions to be asked of you. It is important to ensure puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations. Don't be surprised if you are asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing many facts about your family and your home.
It is very important that puppies are properly socialized beginning at an early age so they become well-adjusted dogs. Early socialization will help the puppy better adjust to new surroundings and life with you after you bring him home.
Socializing your puppy is the key to ensuring you’ll have a happy, confident, and well-adjusted dog. Below, learn the best time to socialize your puppy, how to do it right, and why it’s important.
When to Socialize Your Puppy
During your puppy’s first three months of life, he will experience a socialization period that will permanently shape his future personality and how he will react to his environment as an adult dog. Gently exposing him to a wide variety of people, places, and situations now makes a huge, permanent difference in his temperament.
When you buy a puppy from a responsible breeder, the socialization process should start before you even bring your puppy home. Gentle handling by the breeder in the first several weeks of your puppy’s life is helpful in the development of a friendly, confident dog. As early as 3 weeks of age, puppies may begin to approach a person who is passively observing them, so having a knowledgeable breeder who encourages a positive experience with people – adults and children — will help shape the puppy’s adult behavior. As their puppies develop, good breeders allow them to experience safe inside and outside environments, car rides, crates, sounds, smells, and gentle handling.
Why Socialize Your Puppy
The idea behind socialization is that you want to help your puppy become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from being fearful of children, for example, or of riding in a car, and it will help him develop into a well-mannered, happy companion.
Having a dog who is well adjusted and confident can even go as far as to save his life one day. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, improper socialization can lead to behavior problems later in life. The organization’s position statement on socialization reads: “Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.” Start taking your dog out to public places once your veterinarian says it is safe, and he’ll learn to behave in a variety of situations and to enjoy interacting with different people.
How to Socialize Your Puppy
As mentioned earlier, your breeder will start the socialization process as early as the puppy’s first few days of life, by gently handling him and allowing him to explore his surroundings. But when the puppy comes home with you, the crucial socialization period continues, so your job is to keep the process going. Here are the basic steps to follow:
- Introduce the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells: To a puppy, the whole world is new, strange, and unusual, so think of everything he encounters as an opportunity to make a new, positive association. Try to come up with as many different types of people, places, noises, and textures as you can and expose your puppy to them. That means, for instance, have him walk on carpet, hardwood, tile, and linoleum floors; have him meet a person in a wheelchair or using a cane, children, a person with a beard, wearing sunglasses, using an umbrella, or wearing a hood. Think of it as a scavenger hunt. Here’s a comprehensive checklist for puppy socialization that can be used as a guide.
- Make it positive: Most importantly, when introducing all of these new experiences to your puppy, make sure he’s getting an appropriate amount of treats and praise, so that he associates what he’s being exposed to and the feeling of seeing something new as a fun experience. Don’t forget to break the treats into small pieces that will be easy for your puppy to digest. Also, don’t be stressed yourself — dogs can read our emotions, so if you’re nervous when introducing your puppy to an older dog, for example, your puppy will be nervous, too, and may become fearful of other dogs in the future.
- Involve the family: By having different people take part in the socialization process, you’re continuously moving the puppy out of his comfort zone, letting him know that he might experience something new no matter who he’s with. Make it a fun game for the kids by having them write down a list of everything new the puppy experienced that day while with them, such as “someone in a baseball cap” or “a police siren.”
- Take baby steps: Try to avoid doing too much too fast. For instance, if you want your puppy to get accustomed to being handled by multiple people he doesn’t know, start with a few family members and slowly integrate one stranger, then two, and so on. Starting this process by taking your puppy to a huge party or a very busy public place can be overwhelming and result in a fearful response to groups of strangers in the future.
- Take it public: Once your puppy is used to the small amount of stimuli, move outside of his comfort zone to expand the amount of new experiences he’ll have. Take him to the pet store (after he’s started his vaccination series), over to a friend’s house for a puppy playdate, on different streets in the neighborhood, and so one. At seven-to-ten days after he’s received his full series of puppy vaccinations, it’s safe to take him to the dog park (but be sure to follow dog-park safety protocol.)
- Go to puppy classes: Once your puppy has started his vaccinations, he can also attend puppy classes. These classes not only help your puppy begin to understand basic commands, but the most important advantage is that they expose him to other dogs and people. Skilled trainers will mediate the meetings so that all dogs and people are safe and happy during the process. You can find puppy classes through local AKC training clubs and dog training facilities.
You should be sure that the puppy has been seen by a licensed veterinarian and know where the puppy is on their shot-schedule. This will also help you so that you have the proper medical information when you bring your puppy home and you will know what shots are needed next.
Which Shots Do Puppies Need?
Going to the vet repeatedly over several months for vaccinations, and then for boosters or titers throughout your dog’s life, may seem like an inconvenience, but the diseases that vaccinations will shield our pets from are dangerous, potentially deadly, and, thankfully, mostly preventable.
We read about so many different vaccinations, for so many different illnesses, that it can sometimes be confusing to know which vaccinations puppies need and which ones are important but optional. Here is an overview of the diseases that vaccinations will help your pet to avoid.
This highly infectious bacterium causes severe fits of coughing, whooping, vomiting, and, in rare cases, seizures and death. It is the primary cause of kennel cough. There are injectable and nasal spray vaccines available.
If you plan on boarding your puppy in the future, attending group training classes, or using dog daycare services, often proof of this vaccination will be a requirement.
A severe and contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), and nervous systems of dogs, raccoons, skunks, and other animals, distemper spreads through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing) from an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment. It causes discharges from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and, often, death. This disease used to be known as “hard pad” because it causes the footpad to thicken and harden.
There is no cure for distemper. Treatment consists of supportive care and efforts to prevent secondary infections, control symptoms of vomiting, seizures and more. If the animal survives the symptoms, it is hoped that the dog’s immune system will have a chance to fight it off. Infected dogs can shed the virus for months.
Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and the eyes of the affected dog. This disease of the liver is caused by a virus that is unrelated to the human form of hepatitis. Symptoms range from a slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver. Many dogs can overcome the mild form of the disease, but the severe form can kill. There is no cure, but doctors can treat the symptoms.
One of several viruses that can contribute to kennel cough.
The canine coronavirus is not the same virus that causes COVID-19 in people. COVID-19 is not thought to be a health threat to dogs, and there is no evidence it makes dogs sick. Canine coronavirus usually affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems, though it can also cause respiratory infections. Signs include most GI symptoms, including loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doctors can keep a dog hydrated, warm, and comfortable, and help alleviate nausea, but no drug kills coronaviruses.
When your puppy is around 12-to-16 weeks, talk to your vet about starting a heartworm preventive. Though there is no vaccine for this condition, it is preventable with regular medication that your veterinarian will prescribe.
The name is descriptive — these worms lodge in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (that send blood to the lungs), though they can travel through the rest of the body and sometimes invade the liver and kidneys. The worms can grow to 14 inches long and, if clumped together, block and injure organs.
A new heartworm infection often causes no symptoms, though dogs in later stages of the disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite or have difficulty breathing. Infected dogs may tire after mild exercise. Unlike most of the conditions listed here, which are passed by urine, feces, and other body fluids, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Therefore, diagnosis is made via a blood test and not a fecal exam.
Also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough results from inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, or other infections, such as Bordetella and canine parainfluenza, and often involves multiple infections simultaneously. Usually, the disease is mild, causing bouts of harsh, dry coughing; sometimes it’s severe enough to spur retching and gagging, along with a loss of appetite. In rare cases, it can be deadly. It is easily spread between dogs kept close together, which is why it passes quickly through kennels. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, except in severe, chronic cases. Cough suppressants can make a dog more comfortable.
Unlike most diseases on this list, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria, and some dogs may show no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis can be found worldwide in soil and water. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be spread from animals to people. When symptoms do appear, they can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, kidney failure (with or without liver failure). Antibiotics are effective, and the sooner they are given, the better.
Unlike the famous “bull’s-eye” rash that people exposed to Lyme disease often spot, no such telltale symptom occurs in dogs. Lyme disease (or borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Transmitted via ticks, an infected dog often starts limping, his lymph nodes swell, his temperature rises, and he stops eating. The disease can affect his heart, kidney, and joints, among other things, or lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. If diagnosed quickly, a course of antibiotics is extremely helpful, though relapses can occur months or even years later.
Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the most risk to contract it. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates a loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea. Extreme dehydration can come on rapidly and kill a dog within 48-to-72 hours, so prompt veterinary attention is crucial. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling the secondary symptoms can keep him going until his immune system beats the illness.
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Treatment within hours of infection is essential, otherwise, death is highly likely. Most states require a rabies vaccination. Check with your vet about rabies vaccination laws in your area.
Of course, your veterinarian should weigh in and can always provide more information and guidance if needed on necessary and optional vaccinations.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
The first thing to know is that there is not just one puppy vaccination schedule for all dogs. Factors such as which part of the country you live in, and your dog’s individual risk factors will come into play. Some dogs do not need every vaccine. This decision is between you and your veterinarian. Always discuss puppy vaccinations at your regularly scheduled appointments.
That said, here is a generally accepted guideline of the puppy vaccination schedule for the first year.
|Puppy’s Age||Recommended Vaccinations||Optional Vaccinations|
|6 — 8 weeks||Distemper, parainfluenza||Bordetella|
|10 — 12 weeks||DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease|
|12 — 24 weeks||Rabies||none|
|14 — 16 weeks||DHPP||Coronavirus, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis|
|12 — 16 months||Rabies, DHPP||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease|
|Every 1 — 2 years||DHPP||Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease|
|Every 1 — 3 years||Rabies (as required by law)||none|
* Provided by AKC.org