Pup-dates: Mavis is 5 months old!

Mavis cuddling a soft toy

As part of our relationship with Dogs For Good, we are the Puppy Partner of a beautiful black Labrador puppy called Mavis! She is now five months old. Below is a run down of Mavis and how she’s getting on by Marilyn, Mavis’ Socialiser and Dogs for Good Puppy Coordinator, Vicki.

Mavis is now five months old and doing well with socialiser Marilyn who has been concentrating on getting Mavis into a consistent routine. This helps her develop in areas such as house training, learning to be left alone, and basic obedience. Marilyn spends time socialising Mavis around lots of people and animals, and together, they visit as many different places as possible.

“Mavis is a very sweet friendly girl who loves people. Her general behaviour is excellent and it’s only enthusiasm that gets the better of her sometimes. We are working on self control at the moment; not grabbing food from the hand and understanding that if we drop something it isn’t fair game. This is important if someone drops a chocolate or tablet, which could appear like food, but actually is dangerous. Mavis enjoys her sleep and it’s often me that wakes her up in the morning rather than the other way round. She’s a quick learner and it doesn’t take her long to understand what you want her to do. Mavis has been with us on lots of different outings: to Birdland in Bourton on the Water, several National Trust properties, shopping in a busy retail park; where she didn’t bat an eyelid, despite the crowds, a country park and many more. That’s beside her visits to family, where she is a very polite house guest, albeit one that might sneak off with unattended socks. She really enjoyed going to Birdland and was fascinated by the penguins and emus. Lifts are interesting and strange places for a dog to go in, but Mavis is happy to have a look round and doesn’t mind when the doors shut. We make sure we always visit the disabled toilets when we are in a shopping centre, so Mavis gets used to the noise of the hand driers. People always remark how calm she is for such a young puppy; that’s because she doesn’t live in their house. Give her a new toy and she will do laps round the house in excitement. She seems to know though that as soon as her jacket goes on, she should turn into the perfect puppy and she never lets us down. She’s a fun companion and never fails to make us laugh.” Marilyn, Socialiser

Mavis peeking over a wall at some penguinsMarilyn is responsible for looking after Mavis’s well being, carrying out routine health checks, ensuring she is the correct weight, and grooming. Vicki, their puppy coordinator, will work closely with them throughout their year together and, as well as seeing them at puppy class, will visit at home, to make sure Mavis is progressing well. This also gives Marilyn the opportunity to discuss any worries or issues that may arise.

“Mavis is very settled with her puppy socialiser. She sleeps well at night and during the day is an energetic little puppy. Mavis loves food but does have a delicate tummy and we are investigating whether there may be some food ingredients that she is showing an allergic reaction to. Mavis is currently on a prescription diet and this has given good results, which is very reassuring. Treats are limited to kibble from her daily food allowance with just the occasional piece of hot dog sausage as a reward for difficult tasks, which need that little extra incentive for success. Mavis will continue with this special diet for a couple of months, when we will gradually introduce regular kibble back into her diet and monitor her closely. Mavis enjoys puppy class and is keen to join in. We practice basic commands and getting Mavis comfortable with being handled. She likes having her teeth brushed, beef flavoured toothpaste, yummy! Building on the work done in puppy class we are also getting Mavis used to mobility aids in the supermarket, by Marilyn sitting in the chairs or scooters and giving her treats. Mavis is confident around other dogs and likes having a good game of chase.” Vicki, Puppy Coordinator

“Mavis enjoys puppy class and has taken part in all the little challenges set by Vicki. Along with her sister Maud she is one of the youngest puppies in the group but still keeps up with the others. We’ve practiced walking through the door calmly, no barging through, walking round cones and obstacles and being groomed on the grooming table. Last time one of the socialisers dressed up in bright clothes, wore a large colourful hat and walked through the room. This really helps in getting the puppies used to unusual sights and different types of outfits. These tasks are really difficult when you have all your puppy friends in the room, so a tasty treat and lots of encouragement helps to keep Mavis’s attention on me. At home she’s got lots of toys and enjoys playing with all of them; she particularly likes emptying her toy basket all over the floor before deciding what to play with. She learns very quickly and enjoys puzzle toys, where she has to work out how to solve the puzzle to get at the treats hidden inside. Mavis loves cuddles and will climb all over you for snuggles if you’re on the floor. She likes to play with tuggy toys or have a chew on a Nyla bone. She also loves being outside when it’s warm and can often be seen sunning herself on the back doorstep. On wet days she likes to stay inside and watch the birds, they keep her attention fixed for ages. We are looking forward to lots more adventures with her.” Marilyn, Socialiser

Marilyn will continue transferring the training they have practiced at home or in puppy classes to ‘real-life’ situations and environments. There is still a lot of play and learning ahead and we look forward to keeping you updated on Mavis’s progress.

Find out more about Dogs for Good who we are working closely with: www.dogsforgood.org