Honey is very nearly perfect. She’s smart and quick to learn. She loves everyone. She’s very brave. Curses!
The problem is that I get so used to everything sailing along so easily that I sometimes forget to keep up the hard work of socialization. Yesterday, I learned this lesson twice.
In the parking lot at work, I saw a partly deflated balloon attached to some ribbon. I thought nothing of it but Honey was very startled. She darted and dodged around the ballon. Got brave enough to sniff it but when it moved in the wind, hid behind me.
The balloon eventually blew out of sight beneath a car. It took some work to get Honey to come back inside.
When we went out again, she was obsessed with finding the balloon–sniffing under the cars, looking in between. Honey couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
We worked hard to expose Honey to lots of different experiences. I was very proud of how we’d introduced her to skateboards, power tools, elevators, and all kinds of other scary things. But I didn’t think of balloons. So now I’ll be investing in some balloons and good treats so we don’t have a fearful dog the next time we attend a birthday party.
I discovered the second lack in my socialization when I tried to Dremel Honey’s nails last night. Her breeders suggested this and when I saw how easily Honey took to this at 8 weeks old, I decided it would be a good method instead of clipping. I did it a few times when she was young. But Honey’s nails were so short it wasn’t too necessary.
And then, she entered her “bitey” phase. It became nearly impossible to get near her with anything chewable. Chewable as Honey defined it: scissors, nail clippers, Dremel, fingers, hair, clothing, shoes. I gave up. I’d get back to working on her nails sometime soon.
Of course, sometime soon got away from me and now I’m being scratched every time we play.
When I tried to Dremel her nails last night, I realized I had lost every bit of acceptance Honey had for the process and had to start all over again. I found this great video to remind me how I need to build back up over time.
I’ll blame it on Honey. She’s so good with every new experience we threw at her, I was shocked to see her react to a balloon. And Honey’s acceptance of nail trimming was so good at a younger age, that I got lazy and thought I could wait until later to get back to this important task.
If only Honey were a wicked, trouble dog. Then I’d have to be a better human being!