We have a new puppy class starting next Monday.... please spread the word. The things listed below are what the puppies will be learning!
Socializing a Puppy:
Right now I'm blessed to have Zoe, from Broken Promises Rescue. She is nine weeks, and I have had her for two. This time is within her critical socializing period, so I have had a lot of homework each and every day socializing her. Here is a list of what we have done, and what I consider socializing to be...
1) Ridden in a wheelbarrow. Learned to leap out of a wheelbarrow, while moving.
2) Many, many bridges of different surfaces, widths, heights, gaps inbetween planks etc. She can now take a slippery plank over my pond at a gallop, and stay on!
3) Climbing Driftwood at the beach for footing, balance, and learning how to use her body
4) Climbing rocks at botanical beach. This rock is thin sheets, so you need to focus on your feet and balance.
5) Sooke Home Hardware
6) Pet Smart where she shopped
7) The Gorge Waterway past heavy traffic, an odd pedestrian bridge, people, bikes, dogs, joggers etc
8) Canadian Tire, with a slippery, shiny entrance that she didn't even notice
9) Many types of floor surfaces
10) Only one dog-park trip with most pass-bys done in my arms, and several on the ground with very safe, kind dogs.
11) One walk with a friend and her dog
12) Been with two young children
13) Hung out with chickens, ducks, and goats.
14) Been tossed into a giant box stuffed full with Teddy Bears, then got covered with Teddies and had to crawl her way out
15) Had towels thrown over top of her. We have now graduated to entire sheets
16) Been held for cuddling and kisses every night
17) Had her toe-nails worked on twice, with a dremel
18) Been cuddled and kissed while she chews on her bones
19) We walk at a new beach, forest or Mountain every single day. We are yet to repeat a walk.
20) Got stuffed into my jacket so I was 'wearing her', and we went for a bike ride down the galloping goose.
21) Is crated every single day for varying lengths of times
22) Has travelled in two vehicles, in different types of crates or seating arrangements.
23) Has been to Dintner Nurseries, and made friends with all the staff inside.
24) Because she is so friendly, she has had to learn the art of walking past people without always saying hello. We walk past at least four out of five people without greeting, otherwise her friendliness with be annoying when she is big and strong.
25) Maybe one of the most important things: She can pee and poop on grass, gravel, asphalt, or cement, on a leash, or free. This makes traveling very simple.
26) Every day she is presented with small problems that she must solve... how to get her ball that rolled under the couch, how to get the marrow out of her bone, how to stay on a bridge without falling off, how to climb over a downed tree that is higher than she thinks she can climb. I help her but NEVER do it for her. And I only help enough so that she has the confidence to do the rest. If she puts in no effort, I will not help her.
27) She is learning to come running back fast on her name, no matter the distraction. If she is running with my dogs, saying 'hello' to the chickens, seeing a person that she want to run to - 'Come' means chase me.
28) The Boardwalk in Sooke. It is a walk on a raised bridge - and is a fabulous experience for puppies.
29) She is learning that scratching up at, and holding onto my adult dog's heads while you passionately kiss them is not allowed.
30) Play Dates with Reggie German Shepherd.
31) She has learned open style stairs, steep stairs, grating stairs, and narrow stairs down into a dark passage. Unless your puppy is a giant breed, you cannot expose them to enough stairs.
My work is far from done with Zoe - but as you can see Socialization means teaching life skills. I am exposing her to every possible skill that she might need to be a functional adult. With all of her exposure and success comes a level of confidence and bravery; she will get to the point where she believes she is invincible. Even when she does get into trouble, she knows I am right there behind her to help her with her difficulties.
When she has felt overwhelmed or scared, we do the experience in my arms, rather than on the floor. By not asking her to brave it, she watches from up high, and then starts wriggling like a mad woman wanting to get down and do it herself. Rather than asking her to try it, by taking that option away and making her feel safe she has to then demand that she is allowed to try it. Because it is her choice she is then brave as soon as she is put down on the ground.
Zoe has not yet had one 'bad' experience. Unfortunately, it will happen, and even when it does, Zoe will know that I am there to protect her and help her. As she goes on her adventures in the world, both good and bad, we are a team, and I have her back.