Last night for puppy socialization class we tried something new. Instead of bringing both pups, we separated them. I left Koda at home with PapaBear and I took Summer with me. We wanted to see how each did on their own, one in class and one at home. It felt strange at first, seeing Koda follow me to the garage door but then only taking his sister. I heard him begin to bark through the closed door, even though my husband was inside with him.
Summer was quiet in the traveling crate in the back of the car. I pulled her out and put her on leash. She seemed excited to be with me, and eagerly followed me into the dog training building. I told the instructor that I’d be bringing them one at a time, and she said that was a good idea (remember she is the one that gave me the eight pages advising against littermates). All the dog owners and puppies were greeting each other, with the pups exchanging butt sniffs and the adults reminding each other of their dog’s names. Summer seemed a little shy at first; she hesitantly smells the other dogs but doesn’t really like her own butt to be sniffed.
We took our place in the circle seated on a rubber mat. She did awesome in class. We practiced the settle hold, follow me, and sit. Then it was time for naked play. We removed the collars and leashes and off they all went. Oddly, Summer is less active in this play interaction with the other dogs, which is quite the opposite when she is around Koda at home in the yard. They run, wrestle, and chase. But in this class, Summer kind of hangs back, watching and looking like she may jump in but never quite does. That’s fine with me, the pit bull puppy nipped the beagle and he squealed in pain. I wouldn’t want one of my pups in on that.
We got home from class after being gone for almost two hours. The moment I stepped through the door Koda bounded toward us. My husband told me that Koda definitely felt our absence. He said that he barked and kept going to the baby gate and then the garage door. He had to give him the settle hold to calm him. My husband gave him a lot of attention. Then he was happy to see both me and Summer. Koda snuggled at my lap on the floor as I told everyone about the puppy class with just one dog.
Here is my take on separating the puppies: it is not such a bad thing. I enjoyed focussing only on Summer in class. She may even have enjoyed my undivided attention. It reminds me of realizing how important it was to spend individual time with each of my kids. While it was not easy to make that happen, the child usually felt very special when I did. Koda survived without Summer, and learned he was ok in the house without her and she eventually came back. While I am not saying that I am going to make efforts to constantly give them separate experiences, I am going to try to do so when possible. My husband commented last night that after watching just one puppy in the family room he was really glad we got two. The affectionate playful interaction between the two littermates is not only entertaining, it is a blessing; they are lucky to have one another in the same house. It’s more work for us, but definitely worth it!