Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bringing out the big guns...

My goal for today was to start touching Natasha. To do this I knew I would need high value treats, so I used some hamburger patties that Emily and Carol had made just for the puppy training. This is another big step, but something that needs to be done if I am going to reach the goal of being able to bring puppies in the house by next week. Because of the puppies' young age, we are in a time crunch. They are in an extremely important socialization period right now, and if we miss this period of being able to get them comfortable around humans, it's going to be a lot more difficult later on. By the end of yesterday all four puppies were taking hamburger out of people's hands. This morning all 4 puppies were taking kibble from my hands. I was able to stand and bend over to give treats to all the puppies except Nevada. Natasha, Nina and Nora would also let me stroke the underside of their muzzles while they were licking my fingers. This afternoon I armed myself with a baggie full of hamburger, sat down on their little deck and was soon bombarded with puppies climbing over my legs to get at the food, except Nevada who kept her distance of a few feet away. With one hand I fed them hamburger, the other hand went to their sides or the tops of their heads for petting. Natasha was not quite as comfortable as I'd hoped she would be. When I touched her she would jump back, then come immediately back for hamburger. I was able to get in a few tries where she didn't move away, so I didn't push her after that. Instead I continued giving her treats for climbing on me and being near me. The surprise for the day was Nina! I was able to pet Nina repeatedly, softly along the head or shoulders, and as long as she had hamburger to eat, she never pulled away! Nora did great also, not quite as comfortable as Nina, but better than Natasha! This was a bigger step than I imagined being able to take today and I am thrilled. After the hamburger was gone I hung out with them a bit. They climbed on me, cleaned my fingers, untied my shoestrings and stayed right with me until I got up to leave. As soon as the gate was shut they ran over to lick my fingers through the gate. From now on, for Natasha, Nina and Nora to get high value treats like hamburger they will have to let me touch them. I will continue to give them kibble for just being near me. With Nevada we'll take it a little slower. I am very happy that she is starting to take treats from hands though -that is something that is very much out of her comfort zone and she is trying so hard! Here are some photos from today. There were times the puppies were so close to my face I could hardly take the picture! I also want to thank Mark for the new toys he brought yesterday and Angela for the large bag of Royal Canin puppy food!

Here is Nevada hanging back a bit..

Nina and Natasha cleaning my fingers...

Nora, what a cutie!

Nora climbing on my legs...

Nora, Nina and Natasha untieing my shoestrings

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