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Socializing at Starbucks
February 3, 2008, 5:29 pm
Filed under: :Exhibiting, :Socializing, :Training
I have discovered a wonderful location to help socialize a puppy!  I don’t know if it would be good for an entire litter, but for just one puppy it works pretty good.
Grab a table pull up a chair, open up a container of previously prepared doggie treats, and get ready for puppy socialization volunteers.  Everybody wants to give a little treat to a cute puppy and pet it.
Today was the first time Sophie and I ventured out in town.  I tried the front yard approach that Cathy uses, but the only passerby I got was my neighbor who drove over from her property. Living rurally, one doesn’t get kids and people walking by. We don’t have sidewalks. We don’t even have paved streets.  And it’s not safe to walk dogs down the dirt roads because drivers are crazy and fly down the road at 75 mph.
So off to town it was.
Sophie was a big hit, in a low-key way. We sat off to the side and I talked with some people I knew.  Sophie started feeling pretty relaxed because after awhile she assumed the “froggy” position. 
We’re going to start stopping by Starbucks a few times a week.  It seems to be the business foot traffic place around, besides Wal-Mart.  But Starbucks has a covered patio and a misting system, so it is a nice place to sit and watch the people.  A steady stream of people, I might say.
But I think Sophie is going to be a problem. She is demanding that she be give her own Starbucks mug to drink water out of, and she also would like a Strawberry Cream drink for a refreshing change from doggie treats.  Next think I know she is going to be requesting designer doggles because DJ’s are just too macho for a foo-foo puppy girl like Sophie.  But if she says she wants to go raid Gucci’s closet, I think we’re in big trouble!
But seriously, I was very pleased with how comfortable Sophie was after just hanging out for an hour. And this was an unplanned visit.  Next time I’ll have my regular treats, a towel for Sophie to lay on, etc.  Yes, I did have water for her this morning as I had a small bottle in the truck for me. 
A large truck drove right by where we were sitting by the drive-thru lane.  It made some loud and unexpected noise.  Sophie did not cower nor try to hide.  She bravely stood up and barked at the truck!!! 
When Sophie shows up at Nationals, don’t be surprised if she approaches you and wants a drink of your coffee and a treat!
This morning was pretty nice and I was up at my usual go-to-work time, so after a while I decided to drive to town with Sophie and park ourselves at a table at Starbucks.  I prepared her normal training treats, grabbed a bottle of water and a dish for it for Sophie, and off we went!
Luckily the patio section still had available tables.  Starbucks did not allow Sophie inside while I ordered a Frappacino (yum yum), so I had to rig her up to our table and asked the nice man at the next table to keep an eye on her for me.  I was able to keep visual control of  her from inside Starbucks as well, so I felt pretty comfortable leaving her outside.
Sophie was still on leash while we were seated.  Lots of folks were coming and going and were happy to give Sophie a treat and pet her.  Then, a friend happened by and asked Sophie and I to join them at another table on the other side, so we relocated.
Sophie was very interested in her surroundings. Her tail was still down, but she was not skittish at all.  I took her off the leash and let her wander within the confines of the iron gated patio.  The other patrons, who had previously greeted and treated Sophie, also  kept an eye out for Sophie so that she did not wander outside of the patio.
There was a young girl at one of the tables, and Sophie had her eye on her. So I gave the little girl the OK sign and she was calling Sophie over to her. Suddenly, Sophie’s tail was over her back!!!  I was so excited.  Then a new customer walked between Sophie and the little girl and the tail went back down. But it was a start!
We stayed for about 90 minutes, and Sophie appeared to be very happy and investigated all of the smells around the patio.  Two other dogs came by and Sophie was able to talk to them and was happy about that. No tail up, but she was meeting and greeting.
Sophie is feeling much more comfortable at Starbucks.  New people each visit, but she is not running from people or cowering.  I feel she is  getting a little more confidence, but I do not have unrealistic expectations of her.  When it is time, she will have her tail up.
It is still way too hot to walk her around the little shopping centers right now. The asphalt and concrete would burn her little pads, and I’m not going to carry her around to get socialized.  I don’t think that is allowed in the conformation ring, is it?  Handler carried Apso?  But she is just too precious to have her itsy bitsy feet touch the ground.  Yeah, right.  Not in MY doggie world.
Starbuck gets a 2 thumbs up for me, once again!!! 
And the Caramel Frappacino with extra caramel and with whipcream wasn’t too bad, either.  Sigh.  What a yummy treat.  I think Sophie wanted some. Nope, ain’t happening, sweetie pie.

Dog Parks
February 3, 2008, 5:06 pm
Filed under: :Articles, :Puppies, :Socializing

While the concept of Dog Parks is great, please use common sense and caution. A few years ago, a puppy I sold died within a week of leaving my home at a Dog Park. I hope to find the article soon and share it here. Boulder’s Dog Park is now separated into two areas; one for small dogs and one for large dogs because of this incident.

A quick search on Dog Parks results in a number of resources. Here’s Dog Parks located somewhat conveniently for me: