Updated: Sep 18, 2019
So with housebreaking finished in record time....Rose and I were on the road (literally) to socialization. This step is right at the top of the list of training steps for a new puppy; especially true with very active breeds such as Australian Cattle Dogs.
Every time I got in my car, Rose was with me. This also gave my 8 year old cockapoos, Molly and Oscar, a much needed "puppy" break. Oscar could only take being chased around the yard for so long.....and Molly needed to get down from a top her perch on the ottoman.
Here is Rose in Molly's car seat on the road to the likes of Lowes, Home Depot, Harris Teeter, Walmart, and even the Dollar Tree.
Everywhere we went, people oohed and ahed and much to my surprise...recognized her as a Red Heeler.
Rose became accustomed to the drill very fast (because she is scary smart). Step One, sit and wait for me to get out of the car and come around to get her out of the car on her (the passenger) side. Step Two, sit and wait to get her leash on, and then, and only then, get out of the car. Step Three, walk beside me....not in front of me....on her leash into the store. Step Four....sit and wait to get in the buggy. She loves to ride in the buggy! Step Four (and the most important).....sit and be calm before getting petted by a stranger.
Step Four was the hardest for Rose.....but after several tries...she got it....did I mention ....she is scary smart.
Everyday was a new adventure and a challenge for her to learn to control her active mind and be patient in a bustling, busy environment. But in true Red Heeler fashion, she quickly learned to overcome her urge to be hyperactive and exercise a calmer state. She learned to sit and listen to all the people cooing and oohing, and calmly wait to receive pets on the head. She learned to sit by my side after a pet, and listen to other people telling their own dog stories.
This is not rocket science, it takes patience and repetition. For Rose, the repeats were few until she learned what behavior I expected from her. I was always armed with a training treat for her when she achieved the expected goal. This tends to speed up the process. Food is always a great reward; but, only given when the expected behavior is achieved.
It wasn't long before Rose was happily and calmly laying in the child seat part of the buggy taking in the sights while I got my shopping done. She became accustom to all the sounds, sights, adults and children (screaming and crying), traffic, horns and speed bumps we encountered at every outing. Although always alert, after a while, she was not startled by all of the "noise" after a few days of this activity. In other words, she quickly acclimated to this new environment, and enjoyed being with me, in this new world of stores, shopping, traffic and people.
At the end of the day, your dog just wants to be with you, wherever you are and wherever you go. And....they enjoy all the extra attention too.
Next Up....Part V: Run Patti Run