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This morning we joined a friend and her 5 month old lab pup on a walk. He’s a fun, bouncy pup. At that age where social graces are often a quite bit of a struggle. Observing him shift from in your face plowing excitement OMG DOGS!!! To hey look at us just hanging on a walk this is fun I’m pretty cool! Over the course of the walk was a joy.
By the end of our walk he was just one of the crew. Sharing sniffs. Hanging together. Exploring. Comfortable in his own doggie skin.
How did we get from social dork to one of the crew? A long line, help from his mum and me at times, and really Tom and Zora doing a lot of puppy training. T and Z are really good at reinforcing behaviors they feel are acceptable in pups.
Usually goes something like this:
Bouncy dorky pup explodes into a space. Tom and Zora ignore it. Tom being “I have a job to do, pup you ain’t worth my time”. And Zora, “ugh, you are soooo not cool.” With an eye roll and flip of her hair.
Bouncy dorky pup attempts to charge into their space. A human prevents that and using long line and space encourages pup to move in a curve, or sniff, or even just slow it down or stop moving forward.
Pup does any of those behaviors, Tom and or Zora look at pup
Pup loses his shit cuz “OMG they looked at me!!”
My dogs, look away from pup and go back to ignoring pup
Pup goes “But but but! I’m so cute and awesome you must want to love me! Don’t you know how awesome I am?! Talk to me!!!!”
Tom and Z ignore pup. Yea no kid.
Pup gets distracted and sniffs the ground. Zora moves closer to pup
Pup loses shit again cuz “OMG she’s coming to play with me!!!”
Zora goes Yea, no and moves away again.
Pup goes, but but but look I can do that sniffing thing again?
Zora comes back toward pup. They sniff the same patch of leaves. A half second passes, pup starts to lose his shit again cuz OMG Zora is right here next to me!! Human intervenes, Zora ignores pup and moves away
Rinse and repeat throughout walk until final third when pup has finally grasped the way to get Zora or Tom to acknowledge he even exists and to “OMG they let me walk beside them!! We sniffed the same thing! OMG the cool kids, I get to be one of them!!” Is to chill it out. Be cool man, be cool.