Socialization: Week 11

Kitto is a tiny bundle of energy.  He can choke himself on a collar pretty easily, and the harnesses we picked up for him early are a little too big.  We purchased a Truelove dog harness for him, arriving tomorrow.  This will help us feel like we can take him out of the house more safely.

Today is Saturday morning, the day before Kitto turns 12, so we got up early and went on an adventure.

Kitto accepts his Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed when we go places in the car now, so today we thought we’d drive through the neighborhood with a passenger holding him so he could see out.  This was interesting to him, but he barked/talked quite a bit.  He was almost immediately quiet when he was back in the Sleepypod, so we think the stimulation from watching the world move by quickly was pretty weird for him.  We’ll take it slow.  It’s best for him to stay in the Sleepypod 100% of the time we’re driving anyway.

Three of us took Kitto through the drive through at Burger King for a generic breakfast special.  Not much stimulation there, but we now had some cooked eggs and other food scents to distract him (if needed) from a trip through the car wash.

Yeah, that didn’t work.  Kitto cried a little.  It was a good thing it was all over in a minute, and he was immediately happy again.  It did help that we had someone sitting in the back seat with him (secure in the Sleepypod), but we would’ve skipped this today if we’d realized he wasn’t really ready for it.  The point of socialization is to help the dog learn about new things and situations and to accept them calmly, and his reaction reminded me of being dunked in the pool by older cousins.  I would’ve been OK skipping that lesson.

We talked over why the car wash adventure didn’t work out as planned.  We thought Kitto was totally ready for this.  He’s watched a lot of different movies and TV with us at home, and he nonreactive to any kind of surprise or jump scare or explosion.  We can drop a pan next to him in the kitchen and he doesn’t go straight to the ceiling.  So what happened?

It was the car.  He’s been in it for many hours, but it’s still normally a boring sort of environment.  We don’t play the radio loudly while we’re in it (for his ears’ sake).  The Sleepypod is kind of new to him still.  He’d recently been stimulated by getting to see a few blocks of what was going on outside the car while we sped by.  There was too much “this is still new to me” context and not enough “I am totally safe here in my Sleepypod.”

How humbling.  We can do better than that, and so forward we go!

We had a backup plan ready, and so we drove by the local park (2 min away) and took Kitto out for a “carry.”  We walked around the nature center, listening to early morning animal sounds and smelling and licking water off of plants.  The forested area is enchanting at this time of year.  Can’t wait to take Kitto through it on foot, but for today he was happy enough to sit still and be carried.

New Situations

Forest.  Birds (flying, eating from ground, chirping in trees).  Plants at carried level.  Broad leaves.  Evergreen needles.  Vines.  Grass.  Flowers.  The smell of rain and mud.  A children’s exercise park.  Sounds of children laughing and talking, and of swings and a merry-go-round.  Adult men and women talking.  All of the people we met were from 10′ or more away.  No one came up to pet Kitto, and we didn’t encourage them.

“Good morning!  We’re taking our little buddy Kitto out to say hello to the world.  He’s almost 12 weeks old, and half as big as he is ever going to get.  He’s an Alaskan Klee Kai.”

New People

One father on a path bridge over a stream.  Two boys, 4 and 2.

Two fathers, and their two sons each around 4 years.

One mother with daughter 7, 4, and boy 2.

We spent about half an hour walking around the park and the play area, without even going near the hiking trail going into Cool Creek Park.  There are a LOT of adventures waiting for us there!






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