Dave’s New Adventure…His First 7 Days with Canine Master
Last week I attended the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida. The Global show is the largest pet industry show in the United States. As I was walking the trade show floor, I stumbled upon a group of small dogs in a puppy playpen at Florida Little Dog Rescue booth (littledogrescue.com). There was one puppy that totally caught my eye, so I had to stop to pick him up. A nice woman at the booth called Beth said to me “he is up for adoption if you are interested”. So at that point I really had no choice but to check him out. I decided to spend some time with this cute puppy and put him through my usual puppy testing regimes. He seemed very well socialized with people and was not too dominant. He was not too mouthy either and was not touch or sound sensitive. For a 5-month-old puppy he looked to be the perfect fit for my family and me.
Dave and his two brothers were born 4 hours after their mother arrived at a Florida shelter. Laurie Johnson from Florida Little Dog Rescue brought Dave’s mother and two brothers into her home where she and her daughters fostered them. It is people like Laurie and her family that are the real heroes in these situations. They take dogs out of the shelters and into their homes. They raise and work with the dogs until they are adoptable. This is truly a huge undertaking.
I worked out with Laurie that I would spend some time with Dave before I made my final decision to adopt him. So the next day she dropped Dave off at the Dog Gone Smart booth so we all could get to know him. Well he was obviously a huge hit…have you seen his face? Every customer at the booth could not resist him. Dave tried all the dog beds in the booth and seemed to finally like the Donut beds the best.
At one point Laurie came back and said she needed Dave for a TV segment on the Today Show with Jill Rappaport. When Dave returned from his first TV appearance, it seemed like he was now famous. Everyone was coming by the booth to see Dave, the cute puppy that stole two dog biscuits out of the treat bowl on the Today Show!
Within about an hour after Dave came back to the booth, a woman came by to tell us that she was in fact adopting him. Well my heart sank as I was already becoming attached to Dave. I quickly ran over to the Small Dog Rescue booth to talk to Laurie and to see what happened. Laurie explained to me that after the Today show segment, everyone wanted to adopt Dave. She told me to relax, that if I wanted Dave, he was mine.
The next morning I was finally going home from a very successful show with my new friend Dave. All my industry friends were so great in helping me get Dave ready for his flight home. Toys, treats and travel bags appeared from everywhere. Adopting Dave proved once again how great the pet industry is. If you are in this business, you are an animal lover.
As I left for the airport, we put Dave in a Pet Carrier for the first time. I gave him a few toys and he was great. Not a peep! He remained curled up and slept for most of the trip home. When we finally arrived back home to Connecticut, I introduced Dave to his new family. My wife and children absolutely love him!
Dave has been going everyday to the canine center. He has enjoyed puppy playtime with puppies his same age. When I am out at dog lessons, he hangs out with my staff and is totally pampered. Vilma, our groomer, competes with Debbie, the General manager, who both cannot get enough of him. It has been great having a new puppy in my life once again. We have started housebreaking and he is doing quite well (with only a few accidents). Dave has one issue that we are working on—he tends to bark at dogs when he sees them. He is a bit scared of larger dogs as he had not experienced them before. So we have been doing lots of dog-to-dog socialization and we are making some good progress.
Now I will start to teach Dave how to learn new things. Please watch my upcoming videos on Facebook as I teach Dave new behaviors and the meaning of a conditioned reinforcer. Stay tuned……this is going to be fun!