A week ago today, Cooper and I left Indy for our trip to BlogPaws. I tried to prepare him as much as possible, but honestly… I had no idea what to expect from him. It was his first real trip away from home and away from Emmett and Lucas. It was his first time going to doggy day care, staying in a hotel, and meeting that many people and pets all at once.
For the most part, he blew me away!
Some of the highlights:
He met Big Ant from Rescue Ink! I was super excited, and Cooper behaved impeccably. Big Ant was impressed that the little guy made the whole trip without getting car sick. I was happy about that, too!
He aced doggy day care! The pet sitter told me that Cooper was the official greeter, running to the door to welcome every new dog. He played with Max and Remy (couldn’t get a pic! They were running too fast!)
He played with Oliver.
Cooper didn’t get to meet Finnegan, but I did!! What a sweet, wonderful boy!
While he excelled at day care and did an amazing job wandering around the hotel with me greeting new and old friends, there are a few things we need to work on. I’m really happy we had this experience, though, because in our day-to-day I may not have discovered some of his… quirks.
Cooper does not like to be surprised. Not. One. Bit.
The few times he had trouble, it happened when someone came around a corner and he wasn’t expecting it. He put his fur up, tucked his tail, and barked his little head off. In a few instances, it took the person giving him treats to calm him down. A couple times, though, I ended up having to walk him away because he got too freaked out to settle down enough to take food. I felt really bad because everyone had the best intentions, but it was just too much for him. On top of that, he is super typical in that he dislikes an unfamiliar person coming at him with an outstretched hand reaching for his head. I’m used to going everywhere with Emmett who will let a perfect stranger come up and use his face as a pillow, so I did a bad job managing a few greetings… but Cooper let me know. Loudly.
So we need to practice his reactions with the element of surprise (any ideas on how to stage this???), and I want to start building up a super happy positive association with allowing strangers to pat him. This was only a very small percentage of his encounters, but I don’t want that small amount to spiral into a negative association with bumping into people in unexpected places.
That being said, Cooper amazed me. I asked so much of him over the course of five days. We drove about 1,200 miles, he met dozens and dozens of people, he played with a whole bunch of new dogs in an unfamiliar place, and he did it with a whole lot of smiles!
Good boy, Cooper!