Monday, July 2, 2018

Puppy on parade

Alex visited our vet last week for the first time.
As the vet and the tech sat on the floor with treats in hand,
doing their friendly best to convince her to come over to them,
Alex sat perfectly still in the corner, going nowhere, expressionless
(except for the permanent resting worried face). 
It was then that the vet strongly suggested that Alex get out soon and
meet people, like a hundred of them, and socialize. Ugh. Not my idea of fun.

But I appreciated the vet's advice and knew it had to be done
in order for Alex to become a well-balanced canine,
so my weekend goal was to find a bunch of people,
introduce Alex to all of them, get it over with and go back to the hermitage.

As it happened, Mountainair was having its Independence Day parade on Saturday –
 not our favorite place, but the event ticked all the boxes for Alex's debut. 
We arrived a short while before it started, and I parked the truck 
at the beginning of the half-mile-long parade route, 
which was lined with a whole bunch of people. 
My plan was to walk down one side of the street and back the other
and meet and greet anybody who approached us and said "what a cute puppy!"
I think we met everybody in town.

Alex was the Best Puppy Ever. I'm not kidding.
She proudly walked on her leash, sat down when I asked her to,
and let herself be pet and loved on by kids and adults.
She wouldn't approach people on her own but was more than fine
with them coming over to her. I explained that it was puppy socialization day,
and the friendly townspeople were happy to help me convince Alex
that humans other than me can be good things.

Then we sat down to watch the very loud parade, which consisted of five fire trucks/ambulances
all blowing their sirens, a dozen or so antique vehicles all blowing their horns, 
three horses, a couple of floats...

...and two patriotic donkeys.

Alex was less than impressed.
If she wanted to watch two donkeys walk by,
she could have stayed at home.

She perked up when the dinosaur rolled by...

...and held out hope for a marching band, to no avail.

Alex: Lamest parade I've ever seen.
Can we go home now?


  1. Yes, you both can go home! You did brilliantly. And Alex must have known - or smelled - that a vets office is not always a happy place. That dog is wise.
    Lovely post, once again. Xxx
    Elsewhere from amsterdam

  2. Northern AB gal7/2/18, 6:11 AM

    I did wonder how you were going to socialize her (considering your living arrangements) and you did a super job and so did she! I have a similar problem, and found it very hard to socialize my guy. Take her with you every time you leave the ranch, take her into stores when you can. I understand that a lot of your hardware stores and feed stores will let you take your dog in (not so much up here) so take her in whenever you can. Just curious, how did you socialize Smooch?

  3. Such a good mommy you are, but I'm afraid more socialization is going to be required. A little obedience training? Or agility? Are you going to have her DNA tested? Maybe you will find a breed hidden in there that will account for little miss Worry Wart's expression. Rebecca2

    1. I may have her DNA tested – last time I discussed the tests with my vet, she pretty much thought they were a sham but I'm still curious.

  4. Proper socialization is going to take much more than a single outing. You need to make a training plan to ensure that - at a minimum - she goes to at least three new places every week and meets at least nine new individuals of different sexes, ages and ethnicities. Keep in mind that socialization is not just getting her exposed to different situations but teaching her appropriate behaviors in those situations.

    1. A proper socialization plan is great in concept but since I only leave the ranch twice a month, we'll just have to make do.

    2. That socialization plan make me cringe. I don't even socialize that much. lol

    3. I can see where I would be a different person today if I had been socialized according to that plan. Alas, it didn't happen and I now I follow donkey blogs. At my age, I don't think there is a remedy. Ha.

  5. Diane K, Eastern NC7/2/18, 6:54 AM

    Glad all went well with the coming out party. You crack me up. Love it!

  6. I agree. You have one very smart puppy there. It's not a bad thing that she doesn't go up to strangers. I'm sure once she makes a friend she'll remember them and greet them next time. After all, she's in training for Assistant Ranch Guard Dog. And we all know guards should be skeptical. Good Dog Alex!!

  7. Everybody knows the vet's office smells weird. When I would bring Mokey the cat home from the vet, Jag would hiss at him once. Didn't want any of that vet smell rubbing off on him. Alex is adorable and introverted. Nothing wrong with that. Now if she had snapped at the vet people, would be a different story.

  8. This is a great story in Alex's life-to-date! Congrats to you for doing a parade (!) for her. She does have such a dear little face.

  9. Aww nothing like a short parade so you can go home quicker...Great idea!
    She did really her little face<3

  10. Oh my gosh, last photo and caption made me laugh out loud!! Love that she did so well. I would think if she can get use to a dog, cat, two donkeys, chickens, and a human... I think she would do well most anywhere else. Lisa G in TN

  11. Alex looks like she was on her best behavior, I do not think that my dog would have acted as calmly as her if he was put in the same scenario! Hope you have a nice rest of your week! Thanks for the share, loved seeing this post.
    World of Animals

  12. Its the rare dog that is comfortable and friendly at the vet's. Somehow they know what is in store.
    I would recommend taking her to a puppy obedience class if you can find one nearby or regular obedience class when she is older. Its a great way to socialize pups with other dogs and people in a controlled environment. I would NOT recommend a dog park as the germs are plenty and you never know the background of the dogs there.

  13. Puppies do indeed have a "critical socialization period" that you might want to read about (good old Google works here). I know you hate to venture off the ranch but you might want to reconsider. That "resting worried face" that Alex has may make this even more critical. Just my 2 cents worth.

  14. An American in Tokyo7/9/18, 6:02 PM

    Awww, good girl Alex! She is taking the socializing in stride!