The Big Wide World
What an action-packed time we have had over the last two months!
Keeva has completed two puppy courses and she has her name down for two more courses in the New Year. I have learned from experience just how massively important it is to keep up your socialisation well into adulthood! with My trainer hat on I see far too many puppies that hit adolescence and then develop fear and frustration behaviours like barking and lunging at other dogs. Frustration is not a pleasant emotion for the puppy to experience, so over time this can lead to aggression as the puppy begins to associate uncomfortable emotions when they see another dog. These are often clever puppies that did really well in their puppy classes, but their behaviour has changed as they have got older.
While I was on a dog behaviour course, Keeva packed her rucksack and headed to Windsor where she stayed with my daughter Emily and her boyfriend for the week. We were a little concerned about the logistics of her living in a flat and not shouting🤣, or chewing the furniture, but she settled in well and enjoyed meeting lots of new friends on her daily excursions to the river and town. Never underestimate the power of new sights, sounds and smells. This was a fantastic socialisation experience for her. We all love our puppies dearly, but it is good to encourage flexibility from early on. Being handled and looked after by other dog savvy adults is really important going through into adulthood. You can't 'tick off' handling by strangers at any time in your puppy/dog's life as being 'done' - the most sensitive stage is usually adolescence so it is important to make sure that they enjoy contact with a range of different people and not just the household they live in.
Having aced the Windsor experience, Emily and her boyfriend bravely volunteered to take Keeva on a half term visit to Edinburgh and St Andrews by train. There was a lot of planning and quite a few moments of doubt before they left, but it went very smoothly. She slept between their feet for the full 5 hour journey! She also managed to stay in 2 B&Bs and a hotel without disgracing herself. She went to the seaside, explored cities and towns, went on a ferry over to the Isle of Arran, got soaking wet a few times and met lots of people and dogs at just 5 months old. When she got tired she got a ride in our special dog rucksack!
The moral of this is just do it! Go for it and show your puppy the world!