We often talk about the importance of socializing dogs and why it is so important when dogs are young and in the ‘explore everything – no fear’ period. This becomes so obvious when you are faced with an older dog that has had limited exposure to almost everything. Even the smallest of things become a major emotional event to overcome. Think about shoes. I have noticed, since the weather has cooled down here in Florida that we are now shelving our flip-flops and summer shoes for the more hardy footwear, when I approach Lara with my new feet coverings it takes her several seconds to sniff, assess, bark and then accept socialization of shoes, too funny. I now go outside with a different style of shoe as often as possible.
Last week we began training Lara on the dog door we had installed in her room. Yes she lives in a 20 x 20 room that we have gradually added home items to so she has time to accept each new piece of furniture. If you have followed Lara’s blog you will know that it was a tremendous effort to even get her inside in a relaxed state. We have attempted to bring her into the main area of the house but the overwhelming number of stimuli, visual and sound, has her running for the hills. She now loves her chair and her dog bed is left to cool. She is comfortable with a radio on and does not shudder each time a door or window opens or closes. Anyway, part one of her dog door training was to remove the cover and expose the flap; it took two days for her to be comfortable with this. Once the cover was removed she would not go in or out of the room. Step 2 was to secure the flap up exposing the outside. Once in the room she would not approach the door. Step 3 - once comfortable with the flap fastened up was to encourage her through the dog door. This was actually the easiest step. I trained Rick’s 9 pound JC mix to jump back and forth through the door and Lara was so excited that she jumped after Gizmo and was astonished to find herself outside. Now getting her back in through the dog door, that will have to wait a while!