Did You Know Rescue Ranch Offers Free Dog Socialization Classes?

Have you heard about Rescue Ranch’s free weekly  dog socialization classes? They’re not just for our adopters, they’re for any dog owner who wants to attend. Socialization is key to the healthy psychological development of any dog. There is a “critical window” for puppies to learn proper behavior and grow into relaxed, confident adults. But, in case you were wondering, it’s not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes longer. That’s why dogs of all ages are welcome, starting as young as three or four months.  Just make sure the pups are age-appropriate vaccinated.

The sessions are also an excellent opportunity for dog owners to interact and benefit from each other’s experiences. Classes take place every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and this article is about what you can expect when you get there.

Rescue Ranch free weekly sessions are not formal obedience training, but that doesn’t mean that you and your dog won’t learn a heck of a lot when you attend.  Classes are led by Rescue Ranch Executive Director John Golay, an experienced dog handler. He is highly skilled at troubleshooting and problem solving behavioral issues and has a deep understanding of dog psychology.

What does a Sunday socialization class look like?

Sessions are fluid in their structure, but involve more than just a casual playdate.  Because they occur every week , year round, the number of attendees varies. Sometimes only one or two people show up, other times 10 people join the group.  Fewer participants means less socialization, but it also means more one-on-one attention. So, either way, it’s win-win and well worth your time.

Typically, during the first hour, John will lead the discussion, addressing basic training topics and concerns brought up by attendees. He’ll answer questions, explain problem behaviors and make suggestions for correcting them. When appropriate, he’ll even demonstrate. His approach is all about teaching owners how to communicate with their dog to get the result they want.

During the second hour, owners can mingle and work on their dog’s socialization skills, which are essential to their safety and well-being.  In the controlled environment of the exercise yard, they can work on manners and adjusting to new situations. This is also when participants can go off to the side with John or a volunteer to get some one-on-one help with their dog.


Attendees range from first-time dog owners to experienced handlers like Sharon, who volunteers to help out with basic training and socialization. Sharon is always accompanied by nine-year-old Java, her well-adjusted, people- and dog-friendly German shepherd. Java’s relaxed, non-reactive demeanor helps other dogs feel comfortable and confident. He is pictured here showing off how to “sit!” and “stay!”

Joining the dog socialization class is easy!

Classes are free, and you don’t have to sign up. How much easier can it get!

That being said, we recommend you call before coming down, especially if you live far away. John almost never misses a class, and on the rare occasion that he does, we usually have staff or skilled volunteers who can take over. There are times, however, when classes just can’t take place. For example, when the ranch is dealing with an emergency like the Lava fire last summer and classes were cancelled for a month! If you’d like to come down next Sunday, just call us at (530) 842-0829.