“Recently I was asked how difficult it is to fit in the puppy socialising for Ruby around my usual weekly activities. In reality, it’s always my intention to include Ruby in most everything that I do, which means she gets used to meeting new people or having new experiences just as much as seeing familiar faces and places. Fitting Ruby into my lifestyle, rather than the other way around.
To illustrate the point - this week included a visit to the town centre, to the dry cleaners, the pet shop, as well as a trip to the vets.
There is always an array of tempting treats at the Pet Shop, including containers of bones and toys at Ruby’s eye-level as we walk around the shop, so it is a great place to practice her “leave” command and ensure that she does not become distracted.
The trip to the vets was for no other reason than to collect worming tablets for my own dogs, but I feel it is important to take Ruby so that she has a positive experience and has no reason to be concerned when we visit. The staff always makes a fuss of her and, on this occasion, she received lots of attention from Maggie, one of the friendly (and Labrador-loving) members of the team.
There were also two new experiences of note in the week: meeting swans along the local canal, and a short demonstration at the monthly Dogs for the Disabled visitor’s day.
I had taken Ruby for a number of walks along the canal, but this was the first time she had encountered a swan and cygnets. It was a brief meeting, with Ruby sitting down and staring at them, and the swans keeping their distance and hissing loudly back. Within 10 seconds or so Ruby had lost interest, so had the swans, and that was that!
To end the week, I had the privilege of giving a short presentation at the Dogs for the Disabled visitor’s day, held at the Training Centre near Banbury. I took a few minutes to describe the role of a Puppy Socialiser to the 50 attendees, and finished with a demonstration by Ruby, where she did a wonderful “Sit”, “Down” and “Stand-stay”.
During the event Ruby met clients with their active assistance dogs, along with retired dogs and a variety of children and adults. I am delighted to say that she behaved impeccably, remaining calm and focused throughout.”