Thursday, February 10, 2011

Socialization and Ears

Sunny with her ears taped

Oh, those teeth!  I keep stuffing something in the mouth :-)

She keeps me laughing!

Sunny's perfect ears after the tape came off

Socialization  is so important during the first 16 weeks!  Vets will tell you not to take your puppy anywhere before all their shots are complete, and there is good reason for that.  Where I live there is a lot of Parvo so you have to be really careful.  Lucky for me it is winter and the "season" for parvo isn't here yet.  Sunny has already gotten a lot of socialization  because of all the people that come to agility classes here.  The first two weeks I let people come into the dog room where her xpen is to meet her.  Now I am taking her out to the field so she can visit.  I am not letting her greet their dogs yet though.  I feel very secure in letting my students handle my young puppy.  They are dog savvy folks.

I am going to start taking her places that don't  have much dog traffic. Yesterday I took Sunny to the local FGS store.  She was very friendly with strangers and enjoyed exploring the isles while I got the stuff I needed.  I won't take her anywhere and put her on the ground where she could be exposed to dog feces or stray dogs.  Friends houses are a good place to take your puppy.  Taking them for short car rides a few times during the week is important too.  Sunny gets her second vaccination this Friday and I will add more and more places after that.  I am raising a performance dog and it is crucial that she gets the proper socialization in this critical period.

Now for EARS.  I admit it - I am vain about my dogs appearances :-)  Teething can cause the ears to do all kinds of strange things.  I want Sunny to have a nice ear set as an adult - she is going to be a supermodel you know!  When she arrived Sunny had perfect ears, but a week later they were folding into a "rose" ear.  So I taped Sunny's ears for a couple days using the "taco" method.  The first picture shows Sunny wearing her "pigtails."  I only left them in tape for a couple of days because it was my first time using this method and I wanted to make sure I was getting the results I wanted.  The bottom picture shows how they look one day after the tape came off.  Perfect!  I also trimmed some of the hair off the ears as Cathy said that would help.  Massaging them also helps.  So I will keep an eye on them and if they fold again I will go back to taping for a few days.  Oh, and Sunny did not mind the tape - it was a minor distraction to her for about 1 minute and then she was off and playing.  Would Sunny have perfect ears without taping?  Possibly - but I am not leaving it to chance.