Friday, February 8, 2013

Humane Education Dogs

My dog Mystic has served as an outstanding education dog in my work at HAWS for the last 8 years.    Mystic started his career when he was only 9 weeks old, and I set out to create the perfect dog to help me in my work.  I knew I needed a dog who would be friendly and outgoing, tolerant of stressful situations and handling, confident in new environments and when meeting new people, and calm around children who's energy level might be an eleven on a scale of one to ten.  He's met literally thousands of children and adults through humane education programs and has been a great example of what a well trained and socialized dog can be.

Mystic is not retiring -- not by a long shot.  But recently I added another dog to my family and I'd like to add the new puppy to my education programs.  Quinn was adopted through Minnesota Border Collie Rescue almost two weeks ago.  They were a great organzation to work with.  I told them what my future puppy would be doing as a humane education dog, and what kind of temperment the puppy should have.  They found a puppy they thought would work, and so far, so good. 

I've started Quinn's education by socializing him to as many people as I possibly can.   Socialization is extremely important for puppies before they are 14-16 weeks of age, and the process should make socialization fun, not scary for the puppy.  Quinn's socialization includes having new people get down on the ground and giving him food.  The idea is that by teaching him that new people have treats he'll start to look forward to meeting new people. 

Here's video of Quinn meeting some kids at Waukesha's Blair Elementary School last week.  The kids are all being appropriate, feeding his food down low and with the treats in the palm of their hands so fingers don't go into his mouth, and he's having a great time meeting him.  I look forward to giving frequent updates on Quinn's progress. 

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