By Dr. Gayanna Gilbraith, DVM
In our first week with Robyn home, we had a couple of goals we were trying to achieve.
First, we wanted her to be handled by a least 30 different people. Calling on all the troops, she was handled by men and woman. My coworkers had her out of her crate at various times through the day when they were on break, and close friends played “pass the puppy”. She met individuals of different height, some with glasses, some with beards, and all sorts of different tone of voice. We wanted to give her as many different positive people reactions as we could manage. Done at a young age, this can help prevent some future fears and phobias.
Next, we wanted to continue to integrate Robyn into the play periods with the dogs at home. We continue to monitor the interactions between the “home dogs”, insuring safety, but giving the dogs a chance to form bonds with each other. We have been thrilled that Robyn is becoming a busy play partner with our one year old rescue. Since the rescue as a VERY high play drive, Robyn has actually lightened our load a bit. We did NOT anticipate this benefit, and are enjoying it immensely!
Our third goal for the week was to continue on Robyn’s crate training. Robyn has a crate in our bedroom, where she sleeps at night, and a crate at work as well (one of the many benefits of being a veterinarian!). In addition, she has a “safe zone” in the living room, where she can be confined when we can not have our eyes on her. Her initial introduction to the crate was a bit noisy, but she has acclimated very nicely (most of the time). During the day, she will be in the crate for up to three hours, but is then given “people” and play time. Overnight, she is normally in the crate until she gets up at about 5 am.
A fairly consistent schedule, and concentrating on giving Robyn “people” time and attention when she is being quiet in her crate is helping her learn that quiet, relaxed behavior will be rewarded with attention. Temper tantrums screams are ignored, and receive NO attention. She is already starting to catch on (much to the relief of my coworkers (LOL)!