Our biggest concern, as grandparents, is that Sami and Bristol play well with young children. Socializing our puppies has been a big deal for me. Our living arrangements, two older folks with two young pups, are not conducive to exposing our dogs to a variety of people. We are so grateful for the neighbors who stop us to talk on our walks, and for our friends who have come to visit the puppies. We endure our Petco excursions and walks in city parks, knowing it is good for the pups to have new experiences, and meet new people.
Many of you have read about Little Miss V, my young friend who is finishing up kindergarten, and just lost her first tooth. When we first got the puppies, Violet and her mom came bringing gifts of Nylabones, a Frisbee, and a tug-o'war toy.
|The puppies love the toys Violet and Connie gave them.|
Bristol and Sam were kind of out of control in new situations, and took a long time to settle down, which was a little embarrassing. They were only a couple months old, and I was so worried that Miss V wouldn't want to come visit me any more because our puppies didn't have very good manners yet.
Luckily, Violet is a trouper, and she eagerly accepted another invitation to come play. The puppies and I had had a few dog obedience classes under our belts, so I was hopeful things would be better this time. Our trainer had given us suggestions on socialization, and I was was pretty sure Violet would play an important role in helping me train the puppies.
The first thing I taught V is when the puppies are trying to jump on her, she needs to act like a tree. She was a natural with our little duo! Whenever the puppies got excited, Violet would put her arms down by her sides, and turn her back to them. Then Bristol and Sam would calm down, and Miss V could play with them again.
We took the puppies for a walk to help them settle down a little more. I showed Violet the commands they were learning, and let her practice with Bristol, who is a little more consistent on following directions. Miss V has a soft voice, so I told her to pretend she was at her mom's theater, and to project when she talked to Bristol. I think her helping with training instilled some confidence in our little dog whisperer, and earned her some respect from the puppies.
The two of us enjoyed some Greek yogurt while I got caught up on kindergarten happenings, and Miss V showed me her cute smile now that she's lost her first tooth. All in all, it was a wonderful visit. We were even able to read a book on the couch while the puppies played with their Kongs in their crates.
Violet loved petting Sami, who has the silkiest, soft coat of any dog I've known. Every once in awhile, she would stop long enough to give Bristol a little affection so he wouldn't feel bad because, Violet admitted, she likes Sami more. Unlike many kindergartners, Miss V seems aware of the needs of others, even big, clumsy puppies.
Violet did a great job of following directions, and caught on so quickly that the puppies pick up on the energy we have; when we're excited and loud, they're excited and loud. She stayed calm and they behaved better. Maybe she will go on to be a dog trainer when she grows up. She sure was a good little dog whisperer for Sam and Bristol!