Ideas For Puppy Surface Exposure Experiences
So far we've introduced our little guy to these surfaces, but I'm looking for more:
3. Tree Trunk Bark, where it meets the ground
4. Aggregate Concrete
5. Smooth Concrete
7. Brick Pavestones
8. River Rocks
10. Mondo Grass
11. Rock stone pavers
14. Several types of home tiles
16. Glass tops
17. Corian countertops
20. Wood mulch beds
We will introduce him to water sometime this week.
Any other ideas? Thanks!
Oh my goodness, you are thorough! I don't think I'VE even been on that many surfaces! Yogi is going to be the best adjusted little puppy in the world.
But in response to your question, no, I am completely useless and have nothing to add!
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Anne, since your husband is so handy, you might want to look up some ideas on how to make agility equipment at home. There are terrific items that are so easy, for instance, a wobble board. Simply a 4x4 sheet of pressboard with a wooden finial (you know, a ball that decorates the end post on a banister) attached to the bottom. At first you hold it steady to make sure it doesn't shift under his weight and scare him, but as he gets braver you let it move a bit more and eventually he will be walking all over it without batting an eye. I also purchased a heavy duty children's tunnel (more expensive than a cheap toy but not as pricey as a 'real' agility grade tunnel) we play with it indoors on rainy days and it's lots of fun. Your husband can also make the agility "ring" they jump through out of plastic flex ribbed tube, tape it together and paint it. Obviously you wouldn't want a puppy jumping yet, but you can teach him to walk through it and make it a game.
If your husband has any plastic tarp (the heavy kind with grommets in the corners) you can put that down and walk with him over that, it crackles a lot.
Last fall, I assisted in a class that did lots of things like this and it's so good for the dogs. Anything out of the ordinary, no matter how silly. Get a big bowl of water and see if he will 'bob for treats' . Does Toby have a baby pool? If not, try to find one. It's a great way to spend a pretty afternoon. You put your chair out there and blow bubbles in the back yard while Yogi zooms around the backyard chasing bubbles and jumping in and out of the pool. If you don't mind drying off the pup afterwards it will wear him out
I wish I could come over and play fun games with Yogi, you all are going to have a blast!
How about something soft and spongy like one of those egg crate mattress toppers? We have patches of Sphagnum moss out back that are a pleasure to walk on, not sure you have it down there though. A waterbed would be an unusual experience for him too.
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A grooming table!!!!!!!!!
I like to take puppies to the kids' park, where they have lots of cool equipment to climb on. A lot of ours around here have "wobble tables", and of course there is mulch (yum!), pea gravel, often sand, and lots of neat equipment to climb on.
You probably already know this, but just in case....right around 16 weeks old there is a "fearful period". Even the best adjusted dogs will sometimes show signs of being afraid of things that never bothered them before. Just be aware of it, and back off on introducing new things for a couple of weeks at that time. If you do see him show caution or fear around that time, just be very matter-of-fact about whatever is spooking him, and he will quickly get over it. It lasts just a couple of weeks usually.
The theory, which makes sense to me, is that that's about the age that momma dog will typically let them out a lot on their own (often kicking them out, in fact) and that's nature's way of protecting them. They are suddenly leary of new experiences, which keeps them from boldly getting into situations they cannot handle.
Gibson's Golden Girl, CD, CGC, TDI (born 3-20-1997), a.k.a. "Tiny"
CH Rosewood Little Giant, UDX VER RA SH MXP MJP VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG (born 3-10-2007), also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT a.k.a. "Tito" (the Tito Monster)
and my heart dog
Gibson's Golden Guy, CD, CGC, TDI ( 01-31-1998 - 01-02-2012) a.k.a. "Toby", "HRH"
Thanks guys! I should add he's also been on a bed with a gel topper (ours!), linoleum at the Cleveland airport and rubber matting.
I'll check with the hubby to see if he can fabricate some fun things for him like a see saw or something like that and an agility ring. We do have one of those tarps, covering the boat in the back, so I'll see if he can take it down for a session. We don't have a baby pool, but I do have an Endless Pool (tiny indoor pool with a motor churning current) that we will introduce him to slowly. He's been in the pool house with me for a short back therapy session for me, but didn't go in the water. I think once we get him used to the water he'll enjoy chasing me in there!
I'm not sure we have any moss anywhere, but I'll look! He's had lots of experience walking in mounds of leaves, trying to retrieve each and every one! He also got a light dusting of snow, but I really can't count it because it was gone by noon. He also got his first exposure to Texas rain- can't say he was a big fan of it.
Sometimes at puppy camp one of the things we do is to put a bunch of things in a line and have the pups go over them. Different surfaces and levels in a row.
Such as a plastic step stool (one step), a wooden plank up about 3 inches from the floor on cement blocks, flat pillows, old telephone book, metal cookie sheet, a hula hoop lying flat on the floor etc. We reward the pup for going on or over. Sometimes if they are hesitant we reward for looking or touching the object to start them off.
A Dog Is A Life Time Commitment
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I'm just wondering what would happen if a pup is not exposed to these surfaces when young? Could they really become afraid? I was so paranoid about parvo Molly was only exposed to concrete, carpet, tile, and linoleum until she got all her shots. The first time she saw an agility A-frame at 7-8 months she went right over it when I was worried she might fall. I have never seen her hesitate putting her paws on any surface.
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I am assuming you do not have access to snow. If you have an indoor arena, there is usually an area in the back, that has the ice/snow that the zamboni has removed from the rink. My puppies, as well as my kids, enjoy playing in the "snow"
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Dallas Gold (12-17-2012)