Thursday, April 1, 2010

Remodeling .....another opportunity to socialize

We are having some work done on our old house, its about 175 years old. Ladders, saws, drop cloths, paint brushes and wall papering. Another opportunity to expose Melissa to something new and different.

I thought it best to introduce her to the changes before the painting began. Into the dining room we go, furniture is covered in drop cloths and Charley is standing on a ladder. Believe it not, Melissa had never seen a ladder.

She walked past the drop cloths with no hesitation. She then spotted Charley on the ladder. Melissa walked over to greet him. Charley had a few treats which he bent over to give to Melissa. No need for Charley to bend however....up Melissa went onto the ladder! Two feet on, the 3rd attempting to reach the first rung, the 4th on the floor for balance. Tail wagging happily the entire time.

Next came an introduction to the saw stand with the miter saw on top which were set up outdoors. Melissa stopped, looked, and then she walked over and investigated.

I find it beneficial to expose my young dogs to just about everything we run across in our every day life, and not so every day life. There will come a time that something new and different looking may pop up in Melissa's life totally unexpected. By exposing her to many different objects over the past 5 months since she came to live with us, she will be better prepared to handle just about anything that comes her way. For a dog who is older and may not have had this type of socialization, I let the dog investigate anything new and different at their own pace. Never force, this will only make the dog more hesitant. Allow the dog to back off if he wants to. Let him approach when he is ready. If he is extremely hesitant, a protocol for desensitization would be the best way to help him out. Build a foundation of trust, it pays off in the long run.

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