Written by Laurie Yost, owner of Playful Pups Retreat
The drive to pick up my dream puppy, a female blue Great Dane, was long but exhilarating, as I waited nearly 20 years for her. I am in the “dog business”, owning a successful pet resort for 13 years, and the founder of a non-profit rescue, Pitties Love Peace. I am owned by a houseful of dogs, mostly mutts and a few rescued pure breeds. My life revolves around dogs, my house is full, some days overflowing with doggie chaos, but my heart and soul are filled with purpose. Despite having a dog in every nook and cranny of my home and business, I dreamt for YEARS of this perfect blue angel. The time had finally arrived!
A friend had a similar dream and we ended up with littermates, my perfect female, Mosha, and her hunky brother, Newman. They are different in personality, but both simply stunning baby dogs. The journey with Mosha has been filled with learning for both of us as she is a timid gal, not overly confident in new situations or with new people. I am using many years of dog experience to create the greatest life for her and am diligent in my efforts to properly socialize her and build her confidence in the most beneficial ways.
When Mosha joined our family at 8 weeks of age she bonded to me immediately and I am fortunate to have a life that allows her to be with me, or my outstanding team of pet care professionals, almost all the time. We noticed her shy demeanor right away, although she is a typical crazy puppy at home, where she is comfortable. At home playing with her foster sister, a Pitties Love Peace rescue puppy waiting for her forever family, Mosha is an outgoing, whirling dervish. Out in public Mosha is nervous with new people and even other dogs at times. I don’t want to overwhelm her or force her to make new friends, and I know what she needs most… time, patience, careful socialization…and LOTS of yummy treats! Luckily, she is super food motivated, so with some high-value treats in hand our journey to becoming a social butterfly began.
During the first few weeks with Mosha, we got to know each other, she followed me everywhere, like a baby duckling, and she began to trust me. Puppies go through many important developmental stages and the period from 8 to 16 weeks is critical for a young puppy to learn to trust their new families and gain social skills with new people, places, and other dogs. They begin learning basic obedience cues and more importantly, how to handle stressors of daily living. We humans take for granted a puppy’s ability to handle our busy, and likely hectic, daily existence. It can be overwhelming and scary when they encounter things that are ordinary to us, such as a door slamming, the vacuum cleaner or something as simple as opening a trash bag.
I take my time with Mosha, and she receives many “treatos” for her willingness to explore new situations and for being resilient when she encounters new experiences. The biggest catalyst for Mosha’s emotional growth and increasing confidence happened at 11 weeks of age when she started Puppy Daycare. Every Tuesday she gets to see her friends, including her brother Newman! They play, learn, and grow their confidence in a structured and loving environment designed specifically for puppies. Each week I see more progress and Mosha and I work daily to do what is necessary to set her up for success. Our journey is just beginning, and I look forward to sharing information needed to set every puppy up to be their best selves. Click Here to learn more about the innovative Puppy Social Skills Daycare program at Playful Pups Retreat.