It’s been a while since we posted an update on our socialisation training with the furkids. Nearly 3 months in fact! Well many of those weeks our walks were rained out, but even so our puppers settled in very quickly to enjoy the sessions when they resumed.
Let’s bring you up to speed with what’s transpired in the last couple of months.
Where we’re doing the training walks:
We have progressed from the residential walk to a half-half that starts with a residential walk around a neighbourhood block as per normal with one or two dogs joining us, then together moving into a private, off-leash park where we let them all off-lead.
We’re still finding that the walk ahead of going off-lead into the park helps them settle in. Both Shiva & Shakti are still a little dubious when they arrive somewhere and see another dog – even if its one they’ve walked with before and got on with. So the walk helps settle everyone’s nervous energy – including mom’s!
Guys – I can’t being to tell you what enormous progress the pups have made! It’s night and day from where we started.
Shakti – has learned how to speak dog! And now is able to verbalise her discomfort a little better. This is happening so infrequently though. In the last two walks she’s actively seeked out to go and meet the other dog walking with us, of her own accord. She now wants to go over and meet them, and is excited to smell their butts 😀 When entering the off-lead area she is still a little uncertain at first, sticking by our sides as we walk, but within 10 minutes she is off with the dog friends and even running around with them. Today my heart was very proud – she did her first attempt at a play-bow! And even at one stage initiated the bow. This is huge progress! And she joined in with the other dogs and ran around chasing them.
Shiva – is still protecting his big sister and definitely still doing a lot of ‘corrections’ with other dogs to tell them to calm down. This is very confusing to him when everyone is running around chasing each other. Some dogs don’t respond well to that, which then leaves Shiva a little frazzled and running back to mom. He still does the initial lunge when meeting dogs on-lead on our walk. It’s his way (we think) of telling them off and making sure they don’t mess with him (almost attempt at intimidation). I’m just worried that if it weren’t such well behaved dogs, they may think that it’s a sign of aggression and respond in turn – which won’t be good – so part of me hopes that in time even that behaviour will diminish. He is also a little unsettled at first entrance to the off-lead area, also mostly sticking by my side, but within 10 minutes he is also off exploring. He keeps a close eye on Shakti though, and if she runs he follows – mostly to correct, rather than join in the fun. What he did do today while Shakti was enjoying running with the other dogs was play with his ball. This was a first as well as usually he is very much alert and not wanting to play in that environment.
They both had an absolute blast today though. Left smiling, happy and exhausted. 🙂
What we’ve still noticed is that Shakti is a lot more comfortable around female dogs than male dogs (Shiva aside) – even if they have been snipped. She is a lot calmer and when she is calm, so is Shiva. When we walk with male dogs and are off-lead with male dogs – even ones she has met before – she does not really play, or run or chase and pretty much sticks with us the entire time.
Things to work on:
We’re continuously working on the initial meetings with other dogs. Of course we realise in a ‘live’ situation we won’t have time to first walk around the block. So once they are comfortable with our current stage, we’ll move to off-lead work I imagine and “cold intros”. Once they are more comfortable with that, we may even venture into a dog park.
Happy dog-mom & happy fur-kids.
The pic below is from their walk today:
That is Vaalie & Hazel in the background, and Shakti & Shiva in foreground. <3