Puppy Socialization Diaries – Days 28 and 29

Day 28

I have some catching up to do on the Cuba blog.  I’ve been working hard on other blogging and writing obligations this week, so unfortunately, all writing gigs that are pro-bono had to get kicked to the curb for a few days so I could make money to keep Cuba’s insatiable appetite somewhat satiated with delicious raw meat and treats!

The weather has been really hot here lately.  I love this, because I am a sucker for summer and devastated that it is ending, but it certainly has cramped our socialization style and limited our options for day tripping.

This has been a fantastic week for water exposure with young Cuba.  He’s been swimming with Mokie nearly every day, romping around in the creek and fields, chewing on sticks whenever he gets the chance, and yes, engaging in his favorite activity – rolling around in dirt and mud when he is completely soaked.  The upside of this (hey, I need a silver lining living with mudman) is that it has also provided lots of opportunities for quick and fun rinse offs in the bathtub.

Where Cuba was once concerned about the bathtub, he’s quickly gaining confidence.  Today, after a romp in the creek and then the mud, I brought him up into the bath tub for a quick rinse.  I had a spoonful of liverwurst that he got to lick as soon as the water went on and continuously until I turned the shower head off.  After, I got him out of the bath and dried him off.  Immediately, when we finished toweling, he walked back over to the tub and rested his head on the side, staring in longingly as if to say, “is that it?  I was really hoping for more liverwurst!”

I also filled the kiddy pool out back today.  As I was filling it, I misted Cuba with the hose – he really enjoyed this and continued laying, panting happily as dozens of misty rainbows reflected in the sunshine.  Good boy!

We’ve also been practicing grooming.  Cuba nearly fell asleep as I dremeled his nails earlier, and got clicked for being calm during brushing because he has recently decided that brushes and combs make exceptional chew toys.

His training is coming along really nicely – today we were able to add a cue to “settle” (lie down on a mat) and “relax” (rest head on paws while lying down).  I’ve also been capturing hip rolls out of the sphinx down and into a more relaxed position and I’m still working on getting that “belly up” lie down behavior on cue!

Day 29

Another hot, hot, day.

We made a trip to a friends’ lake today with Mokie only to find it was rimmed in some terribly toxic looking algae.  Not wanting to take any risks, I decided we’d head to the creek at my friend’s house.

Mokie did lots of stick chasing, and Cuba chased a few sticks of his own.  Mostly, he preferred to chew on the sticks, the grass, Mokie, and Mokie’s leash.

Just for a new experience, I decided to put Mokie’s life vest on him (she hardly needs it, and yes, he is that big already).  He was not terribly pleased about the whole scenario, but adjusted quickly thanks to some judiciously timed hot dog treats.  I brought Cuba into the swimming hole and walked backwards in front of him, clicking with my tongue when he caught up with me and delivering a small piece of hot dog or meatball.  We got really nice duration, with Cuba swimming much longer than he had in the past (two full minutes!).  Swimming is pretty intense exercise, so Cuba was tired after we left the creek.

Then it was my turn to swim.  I met a friend and went to her brother’s to swim in his pool.  Cuba was so tired, I took this opportunity to have him relax in the van when I was not in sight.  He slept in his crate (both doors in the van open to allow a breeze to flow through, parked in the shade) for the half hour I took to swim.

At home later that night, we continued practice on “go settle,” “sit,” “down,” name response, emergency whistle recall, targeting, spin, leg weaves, and his new “relax” behavior.  I’ve also been capturing tongue flicks so I can put that on cue, and our rate of reinforcement for that behavior has nearly doubled since our previous session, it won’t be too long before we’re ready to add a cue!