This month Lorry and I moved into our temporary home with Lorry’s family until we figure out the next steps (i.e. figure out life). For Bagel this also meant a big change: two new canine roommates, Pixel and Milo. Pixel, a five-year-old Chihuahua mix, is known as the grumpy grandmother of the household. She’ll make snarky comments when the “kids” are having too much fun and making excessive noise. Milo, on the other hand, a two-year-old Pomeranian, has become Bagel’s best friend! Bagel loves everything about her new BFF, but the best part is his long fluffy mane. It has become routine that in the morning she runs up the stairs to greet Milo by tugging on his hair. Even his ears and paws aren’t safe; Bagel manages to catch a hold of those fluff-coated limbs almost every time. But being the older cousin (Milo is my boyfriend’s sister Morgane’s dog, so by family-tree-default Bagel’s cousin), he simply lets it happen with all the patience of a saint. That is what family is for after all! In return, Milo is slowly refinding his youth and puppy-play is now a house staple.
Unfortunately, Milo and Morgane are soon moving to greener pastures. Bagel will miss her best friend very much. Maybe she can convince grandmother Pixel to play with her? Or maybe this is an excuse for us to adopt a second doggy…(just kidding, or am I?).
Bagel feels very confident at home, but outside its perimeters she’s like a different person. She is very scared of other dogs, no matter their size, and hides behind her mommy and daddy for protection. Lorry and I have been working on her socialization since Bagel came home with us and we are starting to see improvements. The key was to enroll her in puppy school.
Once a week we would go to a training session in the pet store with our dog trainer. Bagel was the best in her class (there was only one other student, but still!); the dog trainer was impressed with all the skills she had already learned from her parents. After 6 weeks, she completed her first semester of Petco Puppy College and passed with flying colors. There was even a little graduation ceremony with special treats and a certificate. Three diplomas in one summer, Lorry in Finance, me in Communication and Bagel in Puppy Level 1: smarty-pants much! Bagel is now six months old and well on her way to becoming a behaved and socialized little doggy.
They grow up so fast…
Tips and tricks if you have a shy puppy like ours:
♥ Socialize your dog
Just like people, puppies need to get used to new places, things and living beings. Make sure you take your dog out and about so that they can experience all the fascinating and exciting things the world has to offer. The more you do this, the more comfortable your dog will be in new situations, including meeting other dogs.
♥ Plan play dates with dogs (and humans) you trust
Short and frequent play dates with the same/well-trained dog will allow your puppy to build a trusting relationship with another canine. This will hopefully help with the generalization process, showing them that strange dogs are nothing to fear.
♥ Do not overwhelm your puppy
You might want to take your puppy to a dog park or dog beach, but this might be counterproductive. Dogs can get quite rowdy when they are playing together and this can scare your young dog. You don’t want to traumatize them: one step at a time is key!
FINAL TIP: Taking your pup to training classes can help you reach all the above goals!