I admit, I have been remiss in keeping Cuba’s socialization diaries updated this past week. Therefore, I will be doing a few relatively brief combo posts to avoid overwhelming any readers!
This day actually turned out to be fairly good. No major adventures, just a nice long, walk where we ran into lots of dogs and people and a great orientation for new students down at the classroom.
On our walk, Cuba got to go down a metal ramp, met approximately 50 new people, visited the produce stand, and was even invited (with me and Mokie) into the barber shop down the street to visit with the clients. We also walked around out front of the grocery store – this was great because he got to see lots of rolling shopping carts, bags getting carried around, and met a few really nice bikers with fantastic, ZZ Top style beards.
Cuba also saw a number of bicyclists, skateboarders, and scooters on our walk, plus two weird guys with those beer can hats that were metal detecting (searching for buried treasure?) at the park down the street. Hey, different strokes!
Cuba has a tendency to bite Mokie’s leash when we’re out walking together. Mokie (and I, to a lesser extent) find this behavior annoying. I’ve been making sure to click Mokie as soon as her leash goes tight so that she knows not to stress out about the tight leash – I work very hard to avoid ever intentionally tightening Mokie’s leash. Since Cuba’s “leave it” behavior is still in its infancy, I have been practicing either having him hand target to leave the leash alone, clicking as soon as he drops the leash, clicking for walking nicely next to Mokie, and clicking as he approaches Mokie but before he gets his teeth on her leash. He has been doing fairly well! He also really, really likes carrying his own leash in his mouth.
Note to self – we need to practice “leave it!”
After this great adventure, Cuba got a brief nap and then he, Mokie and I went down to the classroom for orientation. For part of the orientation, Cuba was crated with a Kong stuffed with some Nature’s Variety raw lamb. I did bring him out to meet the new students, and did some demonstration with him. He practiced targeting, loose leash walking, being captured for sits, and being shaped to interact with a large jolly ball. Great job, boy!
Following orientation, we went home and Jim and I gave the messy boy a bath. While he did try to get out of the bath twice, other than that he was an absolute dream! Our work in the bath has definitely been paying off, as Cuba stood or sat happily for 98% of the time he was in the bath tub in exchange for some yummy canned food. After his bath, he was blown dry, combed, and had his nails dremeled. Handsome puppy, until his next romp in the mud!
Day 24 was another nice, but fairly mellow day. Cuba and I did quite a bit of training, working on loose leash walking, soft mouthing, beginner leave it, lots of targeting practice (he’s doing well with spins both ways and leg weaves!) and I also started clicker training a retrieve with him. We worked about 6 two-minute sessions throughout the day, to compliment our two half-hour long walks. One of our walks took us back to the nursing home for a visit, and the other walk took us back to the GBHC for more work on stairs. He’s really doing fantastically with stairs now, and I am quite confident I won’t need to carry him down the stairs in a few months when he is no longer a small, easy-to-carry puppy.
This, plus some nice puzzle toys and a bully stick fairly wore Cuba out until it was time to go down to the classroom. There were four dogs in my manners class tonight. I like to use Cuba to demonstrate and then he rests in his crate with a Kong or chew toy while I go around the classroom and help the students through the exercises. Cuba’s been quite good in his crate at the classroom, and I try to play “look at that” and “listen to that” with him in his crate often, especially when other dogs are anxious or barky. Hopefully, with repetition, this will teach him that being in these types of high stress situations is a wonderful thing and that he has little to worry about. That’ll certainly come in handy when Cuba is ready for dog shows!
He met a fantastic adolescent Australian Cattle Dog mix that he really likes, young Sadie. Sadie is a lovely, sweet girl with a nice playful, but relatively quiet, temperament. They chewed on each other, rolled around, and chased each other until both of them flopped down for a break.
Despite the lack of extreme adventure, all things told, Days 23 and 24 were great for Cuba!