Puppy Socialization Diaries – Day 20

Today was a rather big socialization day for young Cuba!

Since yesterday was a lackluster day, Cuba and I voyaged out today despite the rain for some socialization work.  Our first stop was Creature Comforts, our favorite locally-owned pet store in the Binghamton area.

Creature Comforts never fails to provide wonderful socialization opportunities.  Cuba had to ride in the shopping cart instead of walking around because he has not yet had his third round of puppy vaccinations and I worry about parvo especially when we’re out.  Better safe than sorry, and hey, riding around in a cart is great socialization!

At the pet store today, Cuba probably met about 35 new people.  He met a few people in uniform (CC’s fantastic employees), probably 7 or 8 kids (including two infants), about 5 new men, and a few new dogs including a Yorkie mix, a Miniature Dachshund, a Chihuahua, a Greyhound, a Lab x, a Golden Retriever, and a Newfoundland.  I picked up some canned dog food for stuffing into Kongs, Nature’s Variety frozen Venison patties, some treats, a new Martingale collar for Cuba, a slicker brush and a grooming comb while we were there.

After loading our bounty in the car and Cuba into his crate, I sat in the car for a minute and it hit me – Cuba hasn’t met as many men as I’d like him to meet.  Luckily for both of us, we were right down the street from Lowe’s, the generally pet-friendly hardware store.  Fantastic!

We drove over to Lowe’s where it was raining fairly hard.  We walked together toward the rain, Cuba much more concerned with the smells of this new place than our soggy appearances.  Torrential downpour?  No problem!

We walked around in the garden center for a little bit before going inside.  Lots of fun stuff to smell here, and Cuba (who loves chewing plants) got to practice lots of “leave its” for clicks and treats as we explored together.

Once he had smelled virtually all there was to smell in the garden center, it was time to adventure into the store.

Again, I had Cuba ride around in the cart.  Despite the rain, it was a busy day in Lowe’s and Cuba doesn’t exactly move very quickly.  I was worried about him inadvertently getting stepped on or having a paw rolled over by a cart or dolly, so back in the cart he went.  Two carts in one day – what fun!

On our way into the store, I ran into an old family friend with her son, his girlfriend, and their very new and very tiny baby.  We stopped to chat for a bit while Cuba got scratches and treats.  He was so relaxed he just laid down in the cart while we caught up for a minute before resuming our socialization adventure.

It was a great day to visit Lowe’s.  Cuba met two people in wheelchairs, four people in those motorized shopping carts, and saw pallets being moved around, a forklift raising stuff up onto high shelves, some crashy noises, etc.  He met probably 50 people while at the store here – again many store employees in their uniforms and many, many men including one wearing a fantastic ten-gallon hat.  Score!

To my delight, I discovered that Lowe’s already has some of their Halloween decorations on display.  Cuba and I made a beeline to that section to see what we could see.

First, Cuba got to “meet” this crazy skeleton that was taller than me!  The skeleton was fantastic – eyes flashing red, moving around, making scary voices and laughing noises.  Cuba checked him out, decided Mr. Skeleton Man was fairly good company, and laid down in front of him in short order.  No big deal!

Similarly, he was nonplussed by Mr. Skeleton Man’s friend, Witchy Woman.  Witchy Woman also moved around, cackled, and made scary noises.  Cuba was not to be intimidated, and decided he was more concerned with how great her skirt looked for chewing than her Halloweeny antics.

After the considerable excitement of this adventure, Cuba happily munched on a huge bully stick in his crate for the ride home.  Upon arriving home, I called my friend and client Nicole to see if she’d like to bring Mokie’s bestie Leila over for a rainy play date.

Nicole and Leila came over with a big package of marrow bones.  Each of the dogs got to gnaw on their presents from Aunt Nicole while I prepared a large batch of vegetarian chili for all the two-legged hosts and guests of the evening.  After our very nice dinner, it was time for Nicole and Leila to go home so that all three of the dogs could enjoy their dinners for the night!

After Nicole and Leila left, I brought Cuba out of his crate and introduced him to his new martingale collar.  While we will need to purchase a different collar for showing (I prefer to search for a Martingale type), I wanted him to get used to wearing a collar of some sort on his neck – a first for Cuba.  He hardly even noticed it was on, and wore it around for a few minutes (no leash attached yet) just to get used to the sensation.

Then I introduced Cuba to the comb and slicker brush as he chewed away at his Kong.  While he dined, I also practiced light squeezing and pinching in between his toes, and tugged lightly at the hair between his pads.

Needless to say, after this big day Cuba is now crashed out in his crate.  Thank goodness, as I have a lot of work to catch up on!

Until tomorrow, friends!