It may be too soon for puppy class and the dog park but outings are still important. Using the crate in the car is important too, for his safety and yours. Once Bozo has learned a reliable ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘settle’, you can teach him those cues in your stationary car (more on that later).
Starting with short rides, a quick trip for milk or a hop to pick up the mail, put Bozo in his crate in the back seat and take him along. He probably had one car ride to get to you. Don’t stop now. The more you take him, the more accustomed he’ll be; therefore the less likelihood of carsickness.
If you think bringing him into the corner store in your arms would be allowed, by all means, do it and encourage anyone who wants to pet him. The more new people, the better, remember? Of course, this adds minutes to your errand. This is your time investment in your newest family member; the dividends are huge.
Everything we do with Bozo starts small (brief periods) and gradually grows larger (longer periods) Buy all means, as time moves on, leave him crated or settled in the car while you pick up your groceries, say, 40 minutes, but only if it’s neither freezing cold or boiling hot. In any case, put a blanket ion Bozo’s crate for the cooler weather car rides. When the temperature is above 20 degrees Celsius, leave him at home. Always leave at least one car window open a bit – it’s a no-brainer to say, the warmer the weather, the wider the window (s) need to open.
Anywhere you can carry Bozo, it’s a good idea to take him. If you have friends who would welcome a visit from Bozo, take him with you to their house. For everyone’s peace of mind, be sure to follow the same guidelines as at your house; bring in the crate, keep Bozo in it, take him outside at the top of the hour and only an empty Bozo is permitted supervised exploration. By now, stuffed chewtoys and confinement are a habit for both of you. If you give Bozo a potty opportunity on the way in, everyone will have a more relaxed, fun visit.
Perhaps you are fortunate, as I was, and you are able to bring Bozo to work. When my Jack was just a lad, I was Catering Manager at a hotel. I worked crazy, long hours, often in the hotel until after 3 a.m. Luckily, I had an office so on those late nights, I took, Jack, his crate, chewtoys, his water bowl, and a gate and set him up in my office. The catering staff provided a steady stream of visitors, some of whom volunteered to take him outside for a potty break. All those strange people, new smells, and different objects served Jack well in his early socialization. Perhaps, you too, can take Bozo to your office occasionally.
Many vets advise against exposing puppies to other dogs and /or areas frequented by dogs until the immunity created by their regimen of vaccinations is adequate… generally by three months. Once this deadline is reached, you can begin leash walks around the neighborhood, stopping of course to meet and greet all interested folks. Remember to take kibble and ask people to wait for the ‘four on the floor’ before greeting your enthusiastic pup. If you’ve been in the habit of taking a power walk around the block yourself, you’ll want to make that a separate item on your daily agenda now.
The benefit of dog ownership kicks in. Slow down and smell the roses. Bozo will!
Now, too, you can sign up for puppy classes and take Bozo to the dog park. Try to chose a time at the dog park when they’re aren’t tons of dogs there. Be vigilant, but for the most part, let him make his own way. If there are signs of bullying by the older, bigger dogs, especially if there are several of them – growling, teeth baring, forward aggressive stance – pick up Bozo and leave. In my experience, that’s rare. Dogs left to themselves will generally sort out who’s who. Mostly you just need to stand by and watch.
Did I mention… you will meet really neat dog lovers like yourself at the dog park.
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