Last week I sent out a question to fellow Puppy Raisers regarding if socialization outings need to be more about Puppy Exploration, or having behavior like a Service Dog. In our weekly CCI class last night, I posed the question to our trainer. Her view was: both.
Yes, have the puppy act like a Service Dog in regards to walking with out pulling on the leash, and staying focused on you. You should always be more interesting than any distraction. However, if there is an inquisitive puppy, a stress, or hardship in behavior regarding a particular distraction, then it is okay to let the puppy explore (through your help) in working over the concern. Spend time with the distraction, praise the puppy for calm behavior, work through it before moving on with a loose leash and puppy by your side.
It sounds like all the feedback in my Blog Comments were right on the same page! Good job, and thank you!!
One area I will be working on is parking ourselves on benches on outings. One thing I am not doing enough of is just observing. I have been "on the move" more times than not while with Haddie. There is value to just sitting.
Per our trainer, the sitting part is for the puppy to see the world and not worry about Commands. The puppy can choose to Sit, or Down, or Under ... and the puppy is allowed to flip from all three over and over. It is okay. The puppy is processing the environment while choosing to move. Versus, commanding the puppy to Sit/Down/Under, and making the puppy complete the command, while learning about the environment is just too much. At this age - it is all about observing the environment and not working on commands while in public (except for loose leash - and focus on the Puppy Raiser - those two seem to be non-negotiable at all times).
While Haddie has been great walking in and out and over and under a bunch of different scenarios, I have also been working on practicing her Sit/Down while at places like the dentist, Starbucks, Shopping Mall. Now, I need to retrain my thinking and I just need to Sit Myself and let her take in her environment.
And .... we need to find high value treats! She is okay with what I have been using, but I know I have not found that Wow-Factor. I need to step it up a notch in that regard.
Enjoying my weekly CCI check-ins, our Trainer, and fellow Puppy Raisers ... oh, and the adorable puppies whom this is all about!