This is the final part in the series of my experience fostering a litter of 7 puppies. The puppies are about 6 weeks old now, and I will be continuing to socialize them until they are 8-10 weeks old and are adopted into their forever homes. This blog is about a very fun experience that the puppies had—puppy class! One of my favorite things about working at Premier is that we bring can bring our dogs to work. Being that the puppies were in their socialization period, it was a great opportunity to bring the puppies in and socialize them to different people and things here in our building!
There are 7 puppies, so we had 7 people sign up for the puppy class. Each person was designated a puppy. The first thing we did was explain that the purpose of the puppy class wasn’t to teach the puppy to sit or lay down, but rather just to give the puppy positive experiences with new people, places, and things. Because they’re in their socialization period, the quality of their experiences will impact them for the rest of their lives. Good experiences now = confident and less fearful puppies later in life.
Although introducing the puppies to as many things as possible is a good thing, we also need to be realistic. I was reading a book before the class that had a “check-list” of things to socialize the puppies to. The check-list included a few unusual things, like jackhammers, screeching breaks and snow plows. Although this might be helpful, I don’t own a jackhammer, I don’t want to cause a traffic accident with screeching breaks, and mid-August in Virginia—we aren’t about to fire up any snow plows anytime soon.
So instead, I focus on things that puppies will regularly encounter in life: things like dishwashers, air conditioning units, people touching their ears, vacuums, leashes, collars, toys, etc. Having good experiences with these common items will help them be most comfortable in their daily lives.
Blondie and Tetra play with their very first toy!
After we talked about the importance of the socialization period, we had free puppy time! The only thing our puppy class attendees had to do was to make sure the puppies didn’t escape. This gave the puppies an opportunity to play with each other in an open space.
Puppy free time at work!
Next we asked everyone to pick up their puppy and touch their ears, tails, mouth, and feet. Having positive experiences with new people touch these parts of their bodies will help the puppies be more comfortable in future grooming and veterinary situations.
The puppies get their ears and bodies checked out
Then we introduced lots of toys. The puppies LOVE plush toys-- especially those in our Pogo Plush line! Also, we introduced a tunnel and the puppies ran around playing with the toys, tugging, and running through the tunnel.
The puppies play with toys!
As a routine foster (and not yet a foster failure, thanks to my husband who reminds me every time that we can’t adopt every one), I can tell you it will hurt the most to let Momma and all of these puppies go. But it fills my heart to know that I was able to help assist them in having a successful and loving life.