Gah! I’ve been so remiss in keeping Cuba’s socialization diaries updated. I apologize for slacking, but have been so busy writing (for projects that put money in the RBDT bank account) that I have neglected my own blog.
In any case, I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend. While the weather here was not what I’d hoped it would be, we managed to eek out a pretty good weekend with the pups.
Students have been flocking to our area as both our local community college and our local university are resuming classes for the year. On day 32, I decided to take Cuba to campus for a romp around. School wasn’t officially in session, but there were lots of students roaming around, familiarizing themselves with SUNY Binghamton’s beautiful campus. We spent about an hour on campus and probably got to meet about 60 new people, many of whom were obviously already missing their own dogs (a feeling I well remember when I left home for college) and desperate for puppy smooches, which Cuba was more than willing to provide.
After our time on campus, we ran into the pet store where Cuba met another fifteen people and six dogs – a Dachshund, a Greyhound, a beautiful Pit Bull, a Toy Poodle, a handsome mixed breed, and his first really smooshy faced dog, an English Bulldog. Par for the course, he was smitten with all of them. I think Cuba can’t wait for the day when he is allowed to walk around the store outside of that darned cart!
We then ventured home together, where a very tired Cuba indulged in his beauty sleep in his crate for a while. He did have his first pig’s ear (which he loved) and we also got a new toy called the “Dog It Mind Games.” For some reason, I can’t find this thing online at all to share it with you, so I’ll have to get a picture and post it here. In any case, it’s a fantastic toy. Relatively inexpensive (only $20, less than Nina Ottosson toys) and rather versatile – it offers three different games in one. Mokie and Cuba both really like it. It seems to be slightly less sturdy than a Nina Ottosson toy but a little more sturdy than our other favorite puzzle toy, the Aikiou.
I also reflected, proudly, on the fact that Cuba has been with us for over a month now and has never had a single meal out of a food bowl! All of his meals have come through training, food dispensing toys, or been big hunks of raw meat he got to gnaw his way through. This has really paid off, as he is very inquisitive and quick to try new things to empty a new puzzle toy of its treasures whenever I introduce one.
Training is going exceptionally well. Socialization is definitely my current priority, followed closely by encouraging creativity – lots of sessions of “click for anything,” lots of shaping, capturing, targeting, and foundation work. He’s making WONDERFUL progress on his retrieving, and is really showing a lot of enthusiasm for fetch.
Day 33 was kind of a gloomy, blech sort of day. I was feeling rather unmotivated, and suffering from a major case of End-of-Summer-Damnit-Winter-Comes-After-and-Therefore-Ruins-Fall blues.
I decided to call my friend and client Nicole and see if Mokie’s bestie Leila could come for a visit/play date.
Leila has luxating patella in both of her rear legs. Since her diagnosis, Leila’s been a lot more cautious about playing with dogs that are larger than her. Nicole and I love spending time together with the girls, and Cuba and Leila have really hit it off. (Leila is a mixed breed and I often tell Nicole we should call her the “Mid-Atlantic Puppyhound” because she loves puppies so much!) Nicole and I both realize if we want Cuba and Leila to continue enjoying each other’s company, we must make sure to continuously expose them to each other as Cuba develops. Both Cuba and Mokie were thrilled to have a visit from Leila!
Nicole and I attempted to take the pups to Cole Park for a hike and a swim. But I’ll be honest – even a trainer’s dogs sometimes have “off” days and both of mine were absolutely, ridiculously wild and crazy on this dreary day. Because I was in a kind of yucky mood, I wasn’t feeling terrifically patient and was a bit frustrated. Rather than take my own issues out on the pups, I figured it was best that we make our trip relatively short and head back to the house where the dogs could have some off leash play time. This turned out to be a good decision for everyone, because what the dogs really wanted more than anything was just to wrestle with each other, stretch their legs, play with some toys, and nom on some Kongs.