August 20, 2015

Three Weeks with Wookie | Positive Experiences

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
It's been three and a half weeks since we chose Wookie from her pup family and brought her home to be a part of ours.  It feels like she's been around much longer already, life these past few weeks has been full!  We've had fun with her as our sidekick on summer adventures.  We're enjoying introducing her to the world.

She has dipped her webbed toes into eight different lakes.  The largest lake in the world, the third largest lake in Minnesota, and a variety of local lakes where she's gotten comfortable swimming and fetching.  She's also getting acquainted with our pond.

She has walked on small docks and huge piers.  Acquired her sea legs in the boat, and attempted a ride in the kayak with me.  She's also ridden on a four wheeler, in the car and truck, and on Mitch's lap in his skid steer. 
She explores daily all over our woods and trails, where she's gotten her nose on plenty of wild animal scents, and flushed her first grouse!  
She's gone exploring on a leash in a variety of public settings, too.
She's climbed hundreds of stairs, scaled rocks like a little mountain goat, and built sand castles by the shore.

We've been to the vet twice, where she was examined, adored, and got her boosters to keep her healthy.  And we've visited the homes of friends and family where she's met a variety of other people, kids, other dogs, and her first cat.

I note these things because it's fascinating to learn how important they are for Wookie's socialization and success in life as an adult dog.  Socialization (a good article here) has been at the top of all puppy info we've received from our vet and the articles we've read on training.  The general consensus from animal experts is that the very most important thing we can do for Wookie is introduce her to as much of the world as we can in a positive way. 
The most critical window for puppy learning is from birth to 16 weeks of age, and is considered to be closing by around 4 months.  Since we didn't get Wookie til she was 3 months old, we're grateful for the positive experiences her breeder family gave her, and we've been socializing diligently from the time we got her home.  These have been very important weeks with Wookie! 
It's recommended puppies encounter as many different people, places, surfaces, sights, sounds, smells and situations as possible during this stage.  The more people and places your puppy/dog experiences, the more well-adjusted she’ll be as an adult.

It's been neat to watch how she was a little unsure the first time she got in a boat, but the following week she stepped right in confidently on her own.
The first time she met my parents' dog, Angus, she cried with fright, the only thing she's shown real fear of.  (Angus looks like a big black bear and surprised her, coming out the door.)  But now that they've become acquainted positively, she begs him to play and he's the one who's unsure!

There are social checklists to introduce your pup to and environmental checklists to familiarize your pup with.  This exposure to many different kinds of environments is referred to as "stress immunization" so that these things aren't intimidating or frightening when encountered later in life.
We're making sure that as a puppy, Wookie is exposed to anything and everything that might be a part of our (her) life to come, so that she is a calm, happy dog who is easy and enjoyable to be around.  (It's paying off.. she is growing rapidly and such a laid back, well mannered pup!)
  
All this information on puppy socialization has me thinking a lot about our human kids, too.
We want their world to be filled with as many positive experiences as possible, as well. 
I often hope for young people to know that the world is so much bigger than this little area we live, and that they'll no fear in going out there and experiencing it. 
Learning how important it is for Wookie to have as many good experiences as possible for her success as an adult dog, I can't help but think of a couple of young men in our home, embarking on their senior year of high school and the big world beyond.  There have been times when we've urged them out of their comfort zone as kids (i.e. there was a time when they were stubborn about not wanting to fly or travel.)  I hope that these, and other positive experiences we've given them as they've grown, help them to go forth and take on new endeavors and opportunities without fear.  

Another school year is approaching for all of our kids, and there has been lots on my mind by way of the experiences they're having.  It is stressed that as essential as positive experiences are for pups, negative experiences are not good.  I think this goes for puppies and kids alike.  It's so important to me that theirs' are positive experiences, that their world is a safe place, with kind humans in it.  That's a topic to expand on another day, though.

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
A few photos from our past few weeks with Wookie!

Sandcastles.


socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpu
Learning her ladylike manners.


She wasn't sure about those waves at the big lake.  They were bigger than her!


Calm waters at a small trout lake were the perfect place for a puppy swim. 


Her first water retrieval.. fetching some birch bark.


First truck ride to Granny & Grampa's house.


The most laid back car traveler ever.  Snoring while out on a day of adventure.
Wookie loves to hop in the car and see where it takes us.


First time on a floating dock, testing the water..


Wookie at Palisade Head.


Rock climbing on the Superior shore.


First boat ride.


After going for a swim, she curled up like a baby and slept through a warm evening of fishing.


Dewey morning tracks and a big sunrise shadow.


She sells seashells by the shore.  Or eats them, rather.  
Wookie wants to taste everything, including the snails that cover this beach.
Those are her kids out there in the water.


She is such a character!


And this is an awkward picture I tried to take with my phone late one night, but my favorite thing of all.
At the end of a busy day, Wookie was sleeping soundly nearby when she got up, stretched, and climbed up on my lap, half asleep.  She only made it half way at first, bottom legs hanging off the chair.  And then she climbed up higher with her little heart beating on mine, her puppy nose just under my chin, and she slept. 

She loves us. 

Peace, Love, and Positive Experiences for Everyone,

A critical time for your puppy’s learning is from birth to 16 weeks of age. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpuf
socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpuf
socialize diligently from the minute you get your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy#sthash.CrPyOSDC.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your puppy is that the world is a safe place, with kind humans and friendly dogs and other animals. - See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/training-behaviors/socializing-your-puppy/#sthash.LMUr3pfi.dpuf

20 comments:

  1. She is a beautiful dog. Love her coat and the 'stache! Sounds like she also has an excellent personality.

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  2. This most excellent post has brought me to tears. She is already an integral part of your family, I can see it in her face, as well as in those around here. I am so so happy that she has found her forever home with you, and everyone will be enriched by the coming years. Blessings, Amanda. And thank you for all these pictures. :-)

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  3. Oh that last photo is just precious! Thanks for the Wookie update. And yes, I can see the correlation between puppies and children in making positive experiences for both.

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  4. What wonderful experiences you are giving Wookie - and your kids. Positive experiences make life worthwhile - not matter whether human or animal. (By the way, if you haven't already done so, remember to train her to be on her own so that she can be left at home by herself if need be without anxiety.)

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    1. Yes! Wookie came to us crate trained, and so we invested in a crate. She goes in there to nap during the day and sleep at night, and during times when we can't keep an eye on her (mainly dinner time.) Very good to know she's safe and comfy there if she needs to be left alone. We've been lucky to be able to take her with us a lot, but there are times when she just can't tag along. She does great in her crate!

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  5. I wish we had done more of the socializing with our current dog. I was used to labs--and their personalities needed little to be honest. Our rescue dog has needed more than we could give to be honest. But we are still working with her. Your's is one lucky dog!

    These are precious shots, but that one of Wookie on the beach and the kids out in the water...that would make a great canvas! It's awesome!

    Good luck with the start of school. I've been lucky that my kids are mostly like labs...they just jump right in!

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  6. She's meant to be with your family, she fits in wonderfully.Thanks for the Wookie update ( my kiddos LOVE the name!), I've been thinking about you a lot lately.

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  7. Such a sweetheart, beautiful and curious and energetic Wookie! The crate is a great idea - a chamber of her own - where she can feel safe even when alone.
    It must have felt so good to have her crawl to your lap - and fall asleep there ... My heart is melting!
    If we ever get a poppy (which I hope will happen one day), I'll head over to your post here - a bunch of good advice for the first months!
    Love all the photos - the profiles of Wookie & Mitch in the truck is very special and fine - both being so alert & the mood of companionship!

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  8. Lovely post. I'm going to send to a friend who just got a new puppy.

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  9. Oh this warms my heart, and I love seeing her adventures. I am sending this blog post and the socializing article on to my daughter as she prepares to get her own puppy sometime in the next year.

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  10. You write the very best posts Amanda . . .
    Wookie looks so delightful and it sounds like her socialization training is top notch!
    Has she met the "thunder and lightening" challenge yet?
    Our Snickers struggled with it from the beginning . . . It makes me wonder if it had something to do with our reactions to stormy weather when she was young . . .
    Excellent post new puppy parents would find helpful!

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    Replies
    1. We did meet the thunder challenge.. we had some of cracks of thunder that were about as loud as they get during a couple of storms since she's moved in, and they didn't phase her at all.
      She was also introduced, by accident, to my riding lawn mower backfiring very loudly. About the second week we had Wookie, my lawn mower started acting up. She jumped the first time, but didn't get scared. And, unfortunately for the lawnmower, it has happened again each week when I've mowed!! I guess as far as the pup goes, the timing was good to get her accustomed to the sharp noise without fear. We may be replacing our lawnmower soon though. ;)

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  11. Awe, what a cutie pie Wookie is.

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  12. Great to read about your experiences with Wookie! What an adorable dog. We have three dogs and two of them are adopted from Greece ( found abandoned on a beach next to their dead mother) .They joined us at the age of 6 months and there is a huge difference to the pedigree dog we have. They are easily frightened and shy. We do as you do - trying to take them with us as much as possible. Leaving them alone lead to chewing furniture! Not funny.
    Wonderful pictures of your family and your summer! Good start into the new school year.

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  13. Wookie is one lucky dog. She's been a busy girl for sure and you can see she's well loved already. We just acquired a new kitten and she's starting to fit in nicely with all the other cats and is of course well loved and adored too.

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  14. What fond memories this post on dog socialization bring to me. All of our Labs and Chessies went through this as our boys grew up and later with my first GSD. Our rescue dog Lily was mistreated and ignored so we deal with her challenges but love her just the same....:)

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  15. Hello, Wookie has a wonderful family. She has been on many adventures and fun times with the family. Cute photos. She is adorable! Have a happy day!

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  16. she's adorable. and wookie is a great name for her, too. :)

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  17. What a great looking dog - I find it hard to believe we have already had Mr. Hudson for only 6 months - seems we have had for ever!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  18. I am here a bit late, what a joy to read and see Wookie photos, gorgeous gorgeous photos! That last one with story was so touching..

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