I took two little babies with me on a shopping trip to Petsmart last night. It is a great place to go when trying to train and socialize new puppies. You cannot allow the puppies to walk on the floor (since sick dogs may have trekked through here) but a clean blanket laid in the bottom of a shopping cart makes for a convenient way to tote your little companion.
Petsmart type stores along with Petco and Tractor Supply are great for pups in training. They welcome animals into their stores and they are just full of customers and employees that will beg to handle your puppy (read socialize your puppy). What a great way to kill two birds with one stone: a new experience, lots of sights, sounds, lights and different experiences along with meeting lots of strangers in a positive environment with minimal risk of exposure to infection (such as is often a concern in vet hospitals and dog parks). Another great place to take your puppy in the warm months are kids playgrounds. Lots of anxious little puppy-petters to be found there.
It is also nice to have an excuse to look at puppy supplies. I’m totally a leash junkie. I have a collection. On this trip we got a couple teeny tiny puppy collars for training new puppies (needed some boy colors, naturally) and we got a couple new puppy toys for our resident trainees to play with. We also picked up some “Fresh Pet” dog food. I like this dog food for training puppies. It is easier to eat for little teeth and mouths and more palatable than dry food and doesn’t make a mess in your hand like wet food so it can be fed as a reward/treat when the puppy obeys commands properly. I prefer to use food instead of treats so that the puppy isn’t filling up on “junk food” and spoiling his appetite for healthy food. I hand feed all trainees so a clean, palatable food is necessary. I use bits of cooked bacon as high value treats.
We brought little Archie and Bentley with us to look at leashes and collars and they were very excited to meet all the nice people. The employees at Petsmart pretty much love me. I am always so thankful that they’re eager to pass my puppies around from employee to employee giving lots of cuddles and socialization that is so necessary at this age.
After seeing all the sights and getting all the love they could want little Archie and Bentley were plum tuckered out. They zonked out in a cart full of dog stuff (that they had been sniffing, chewing and playing with previously). Once they fell asleep they were OUT. Nothing could wake them up. They slept very soundly in their crates last night.