Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puppy Melissa Goes Visiting

The Holiday Season is upon us! Time with family and friends, travel, baking and gift wrapping. Melissa is included in most of these activities but when I cannot keep an eye on her she spends time in her x-pen with a good size bone. Some people prefer to use a crate, but Melissa is already a big girl and I have the space to set up the ex-pen for her, and it gives her lots of room to play and stretch out. The majority of times Melissa is included in our activities, her socialization continues!

I have been scheduling students such that in between appointments Melissa and I have been visiting and taking in some different sights. She actually met something she was not sure of this week. A Lab statue! While visiting with my good friends Nancy and Bob, Melissa was invited into the house. And there it was....the yellow Lab statue on the hearth eyes staring at Melissa. She approached cautiously. I let her advance at her own pace. I touched the statue, Melissa came closer. In time, Melissa moved close enough to take a sniff. Not real....and she moved away to check out the huge toy basket on the other side of the room. Seeing and investigating something new is all part of socializing puppy Melissa.

Bob had never met Melissa. A new person for Melissa to meet! I was proud of my 16 week old puppy who sat politely and did not jump! We've been practicing. Melissa's reward for sitting nicely was having Bob talk to her and rub her all over. Had Melissa jumped up, Bob would have moved away and waited for Melissa to sat once more. There is no need to ever yell at our dogs. Yelling or pushing doesn't give our dogs any information. Melissa learns by being rewarded for any behavior we want repeated. Her reward in this case was the attention she got from Bob.

She also got to visit with Nancy and Bob's 12 year old Lab Sara. Sara is one of those bomb proof dogs who gets along with every dog she meets. I knew Melissa was safe with Sara. We kept Sara safe also.
A senior dog does not need a 44# puppy walking across her body and causing pain to old joints and muscles. We monitored where and how Melissa placed her feet. When Melissa wanted to play a bit too rough by pouncing on Sara, we redirected her to one of Sara's many toys.

Melissa settled down for a chew while we chatted. Another good experience for Melissa in her chapter of socialization. Melissa is learning that no matter where we go she can settle and lay at my feet.

Sara has a huge toy basket!! She is one lucky girl. Toys for all seasons, Sara loves to carry a toy around. She even visits the vets with a favorite toy. WOW...Melissa was so excited she walked into the basket. So many choices. My favorite was the yellow Easter peep...that really peeps.

It was a busy day for Melissa, she even got to practice stairs that lead up to Nancy and Bob's house. She checked off many of her 'to do' items on her socialization list, while I got to visit with some long time friends. Thanks Nancy and Bob, it was a fun visit!

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