Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Declan, as many of you know, hasn't been with me for very long. He's four months old and has had absolutely no socialization. He's afraid of everything new and different because he has no frame of reference for anything at all, so my job is to help him learn and grow and experience life so that he can meet new experiences with interest and curiosity instead of fear. His saving grace is that he's an extremely good-natured and naturally social little fella, so if I do my job he'll be fine.
Lachlan, on the other hand, is my furry social butterfly. Of course I've had Lach since he was nine weeks old and we've had many adventures together, and I've been careful to keep his experiences fun and positive, so when we go someplace new he's all "woo-hoo, COOL!"
Declan's just learning about things like leashes and collars so that we CAN go places, but the recent ice and snow hasn't helped AT ALL (it's pretty counter-productive to fall ON the puppy), so when he started puppy class yesterday it was his first time out of the house (other than the vet) since I brought him home. He had fun in the end, but it was pretty overwhelming for the wee tyke.
Today I thought "well, I'll take him for a short trip down to the pet store about 10 blocks from my house." Yeah, no. He wouldn't walk through the front door and he's too big for me to pick up and carry. I already had Lachlan crated 'cause I wasn't ready to try to walk both of them together ... but I leaned back against the door and thought about that, then took a deep breath and let Lach out of his crate. Declan looks to Lachlan constantly, and has since day one, for cues to what he should be doing and how he should be responding, so I wondered if he would follow Lach's lead in this as well although I was extremely nervous about trying to handle both of them at once.
It was a bit of a circus trying to keep their leashes untangled, but it worked perfectly! Lach trotted through the front door and Declan took a deep breath and charged after him, then they both pranced to the car with me. It was like watching my big dude and a little mini-me, emulating everything his big brother did at each step. Got them out of the car and across the parking lot at the pet store while a very nice lady held the door for us ... then laughed hysterically as the scene unfolded: Declan stopped dead at the door with his eyes huge, ears and tail down, obviously thinking "oh no, scary place", but Lachlan charged right in going "Woo-hoo! I love this place!" Suddenly Dec lit up all over. His ears and tail came up, his eyes brightened, and he charged right in after Lach going "Woo-hoo, Lachlan loves this place!"
Yeah, okay, I'd better learn how to walk them together QUICK, huh?!