This year's route took us down the stairs to check out Santa Claus in his winter scene and to walk along the long line of parents with their impatient children waiting to sit in Santa's lap. We took a quick walk through the Williams Sonoma store to make sure that our puppies wouldn't be enticed by the wonderful smells and the goodies in barrels at just the right height for puppy noses. Since we can never test our dogs around food enough, we went back upstairs to meander through the Food Court. I asked Morgan to take the lead and snake her way between the tables with Perrin and all the other raisers followed directly behind. A walk through J. C. Penny and an elevator ride later, we found ourselves back downstairs to watch the children in the play area before heading back to our meeting spot.
This trip to the mall was hugely successful for a few reasons. First, all of our raisers did an excellent job handling their dogs in every situation they were in. Second, none of our puppies tried to get to anything that they weren't supposed to have. Even our three-month-old puppies were able to stay mostly focused on what they were doing. Third, even though the activity level was high, the volume was loud and there were children running around everywhere, the stress level in our dogs stayed down. Poor little three-month-old Winchester got a tiny bit overwhelmed at the end, but he held himself together for all but the last ten minutes.
- Keep your dogs out of the Christmas tree stands. The sap mixed with the water can be a toxic combination and the extra liquid can mean extra relieving time out in the cold for you.
- Poinsettias are poisonous for all animals.
- Christmas presents and stocking filled with chocolate or anything else edible need to be kept out of reach. They are huge temptations for puppies.
- Make sure that you are not stressing out your puppies or setting them up for failure with holiday company. Especially if you are having a holiday party, having your puppy on a tie down or in the crate is your best bet. That way, you will be able to enjoy your friends without having to worry about where your puppy is instead of risking the chance of losing track of them.
Raisers (from right to left): Kate Richardson, Ana Stein, Lesa Shields, Beth Avery, Kaitlyn Shelly
Puppies (from right to left): Anders, Perrin, Winchester, Presley, Prudy