Kitto’s last week of “best chance for socialization” was a blast. We did something fun every day, ending in a road trip to the 2016 AKKAOA.org picnic on June 18.
Before we go to the picnic, let’s review our goals for Kitto and what we’ve accomplished. Kitto has been easy to train because we started early, when his whole life was indoors with us without distractions. We bonded. We practiced walking around obstacles in the house. We played with many new things (surfaces, materials, sounds, environments, things, people).
At 12 weeks, we enrolled in puppy class and took Kitto outside. The world was so BIG. We loosely followed a socialization checkoff list, and put skill training on a lesser focus. The list was helpful, but we realized that it was less important to hit every individual checkoff than it was to get Kitto into new environments every day. So we gave up the lists and just made Kitto’s days fun and interesting.
Kitto is a great car traveler. He doesn’t complain or get sick, and he likes his carrier. Our drive to Michigan is about 3.5 hrs each way, so we made a couple of stops.
We stopped in St. Joseph to show Kitto the great lake. And here he is, looking in the general direction! That’s the lake in the upper left corner of the picture!
We happened to arrive during a farmer’s market while a crowd of people were walking and enjoying the day. We made it only fifty feet from the parking lot, but Kitto met dozens of new people of all descriptions.
A side note to prospective AKK owners: I’m serious. Fifty feet, including the street. An AKK excites people and they ask many questions.
The AKKAOA.org picnic was held on a beautiful day in a community park. Most of the Alaskan Klee Kai present were show dogs, in the area for a large yearly UKC dog show. A good handful of breeders were present, too. If you are interested in Alaskan Klee Kai, you would benefit from coming to one of these events. Find the AKKAOA.org on Facebook and join in! It was so much fun to meet the owners and their dogs (mostly under 10 years old, and Kitto was the youngest at a day shy of 16 weeks).
The food was fantastic, smoked BBQ with all the favorites to go with it, courtesy of the AKKAOA. Handmade AKK gear, Bark Box memberships, treats and other great prizes were raffled off too. Children, adults and seniors were represented.
We enjoyed spending time with everyone at the picnic. Everyone was warm and friendly, and we felt immediately part of the family. People asked, “Where did you get Kitto from?” and they knew Jim and Marilyn Butler very well. It was fun to hear, “He’s so handsome. And he’s a Butler dog!” and to imagine a friendly sigh of relief when we said that Kitto was to be a companion, a therapy dog and not a show dog. (This is OK. Every AKK owner knows with surety in their hearts that theirs is the most beautiful.) One breeder asked if Sochi (a breed champion) was his father, and we got to say, “Why… yes! He is!” and be amazed that she knew the breed lines so well, though Kitto does look like a smaller version of Sochi. Karma is his mother, but that’s not nearly so easy to tell from looking at him. Maybe we’ll be able to tell after his adult coat grows in in a few months.
All the dogs at the picnic were beautiful animals, each stunning and unique and their personalities are charming. If you’re into the husky look already, you immediately want to take them all home (if you could). Many of the people we spoke with had husky experience (with Siberians and others) and had transitioned to AKKs. Quite a few had more than one AKK as well. Who can blame them?
At the end of the day we found the doggy area of the park we were in, and it was time to take off the leash.
Special thanks to Alyssa for being our videographer. 🙂