A blog about dog training and dog breeding…and other sundry matters

Posts tagged ‘puppy development’

Tuvok’s Adventures on the Town

Tuvok went on errands again today, and he was so well behaved.  Again, he didn’t bark at anyone or growl, and walked nicely on his leash with no pulling.

He sat when we got to the curbs and was only mildly curious when a black plastic bag floated in the wind in front of him.  My rottweiler got spooked once at an obedience competition when a bag similar to the one Tuvok saw floated in a gust of wind outside the ring.

No one stopped to play with Tuvok, but that was okay.  I’m not sure that he’s really into being petted by strangers at this point, but I’m hoping that very soon he will accept strangers approaching and interacting with him.

We weren’t out for very long because it was hot, and his little tongue was almost touching the ground.  I suspected that the pavement was hot, too, so we called it a day after about a half hour, and rested in the air conditioned car for a while before heading home for lunch and a nap. 

Tomorrow we won’t be able to go out because I have an insanely long day at work, but I will have Friday free, and will be able to take both dogs out separately.

Now, I’m off to dinner, but I shall take Gretchen out later.

Puppy Chronicles–Day 54

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The The Muskateers are hiding under my bed while their mother lies on the floor playing with them.  They have really loud, penetrating voices now, and LOVE to vocalise.  Last night Turbo Puppy decided to bark for a few minutes–maybe two or three–before she got tired and went to sleep. 

I love the puppies’ energy level, but I’m always so happy when they go to sleep.  Then there’s peace in the house and nobody has to run from the ankle-nippers.

The two white puppies did very well in training today.  I guess they were hungry because the treats that they turned up their noses at day before yesterday, they gobbled down today.  I need to shape more behaviors, though and teach puppy zen.  I am keeping a list of training ideas in my office each day so that I won’t run out of things to train.  It will also ensure that I train a variety of behaviors to keep the puppies thinking.

Turbo Puppy was the only one who didn’t do any training.  After chasing her brother and sister around the house, grabbing toys and running around with them, chewing up my shoes, and, oh yes, barking her head off, she was just too tired to work.  So, she curled up under my chair and watched me.  I should have clicked and treated for that:  at least she was quiet.

I’m off to work now, and will not see the babies until quite late tonight.  I trust they will go to sleep after their breakfast and will do some growing while I’m gone.

Till later…

Puppy Chronicles–Day 52

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Screamer retrieved the ball for the very first time today!  I knew she would eventually learn how to do this.  When my now adult dogs where puppies (when I first got them), they did not know how to retrieve.  Now they are retrieve fiends–the whole lot of them.

Turbo Puppy, however, shows very little interest in playing tug, and I’m not sure why.  She played with the tug toy initially, but she performed poorly on the sight portion of the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test.  True, the testor, who is a complete novice at this, moved the towel too quickly.  Puppies, apparently do not follow fast-moving objects very well.

I haven’t given up on Turbo, and I never will.  She will become interested in the game of tug once more.  It’s just a matter of time.  To that end, I play with her everyday, as I do with all the puppies.

It’s amazing how the little ones have taken to clicker training.  They learned in two days what took my pomeranians four months to accomplish.  The pomeranians were not trained as puppies, and they were sound sensitive and afraid of the target stick.  The puppies have grown to love the clicker and they have the most intense, eager looks on their faces when I work with them.

I am mostly shaping behaviors at this point, and capturing good behavior.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s really cute when the puppies climb on my leg for attention, but it will not be so cute when they turn six months old.

Puppy Chronicles-Day 48

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I finally got a chance to work with the puppies individually today.  What a joy and an eye opener.  I did three things with each puppy:  played tug, played fetch, and did a spot of clicker training.  While all the puppies showed interest in the ball, and chased it, Little Darlin was the only puppy who consistently brought it back to me.  I didn’t take it from him, though, but allowed him to play with it for a bit.  This will encourage him to bring back the ball in future and not play “keep away” if he is ever taught the formal retrieve.  Turbo Puppy brought it back only once.

The two white puppies enjoyed the tug game.  Screamer tried to “kill” the tug toy by shaking it vigorously.  Turbo Puppy was too excited to have her human all to herself that she wasn’t interested in the game.  In the past, however, when I’ve played tug, she has been an enthusiastic participant.

The sessions ended with a few clicks and treats.  Of course by then the puppies were too tired to offer me any behaviors.  This week clicker training is all about getting the puppies accustomed to the sound of the click, and understanding that the click is followed by a treat.  So, I’m not putting too much emphasis on obedience training right now.  The puppies, after all, are only six weeks and five days old!

Turbo Puppy’s right ear went up today.   She wouldn’t hold still long enough for me to get a picture.  I’ll keep trying.

Puppy Chronicles–Day 44

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Puppies Day 44 016Turbo Puppy enjoys cuddle time with her human Grandma.






My cellphone has a really obnoxious ring, according to my students.  It’s loud, and whenever it rings during someone’s lesson, the poor child invariably jumps out of his skin.  Well, tonight while the puppies were polishing off Cody’s dinner, I placed the phone near to them and rang it from another phone.  The puppies lifted their heads momentarily from the trough, looked at the offending object, and went back to their meal.  It was clearly no big deal for them.  Tomorrow I’ll try banging a pot really hard.

The object of this exercise is to desensitize the puppies to loud sounds.  I am trying to prevent them from developing sound sensitivities later on. Once the puppies were finished eating, they went over to inspect the phone closely.  It quickly became evident to me that someone was devising a way to dismantle the phone, so I picked it up.

THe puppies wore collars today, and they did not seem to object one bit.  They scratched a bit, but basically ignored the collar and continued playing and eating. 

For the first time today, Cody had no access to the puppies.  I left them in the outdoor kennel while I was at work, and Cody stayed in the house.  There is always somone home to supervise, so the puppies were checked on frequently and fed during the day.  By mid afternoon they were brought back into the house where they spent the time in their indoor pend till I returned home.  That’s when they came into the house for more playtime.

Play is so important to these puppies.  It teaches them how to get along with other dogs, how to read body language, and develops their brains and burns off all that puppy energy.  It also encourages them to explore new objects without feeling fearful.  At six weeks these little ones are like sponges.

Puppy Chronicles–Day 43

Monday, October 5, 2009

 Puppies Day 43 014 

Turbo Puppy gets examined by the veterinarian prior to receiving her vaccine.






I believe I made a huge blunder with my puppies today.  They were to visit the vet for the first time for their very first vaccines.  Of course I had a crate for them to travel in, but I did not introduce them to the crate properly, and I hope I haven’t scarred these poor puppies for life.  Here’s what should have happened:

The crate should have been left opened for a while (over a couple of days) in the puppy play area for the babies to explore and walk in by themselves.  The object of this activity is for them to go in and come out at will, knowing that they would not be trapped in the crate for the rest of their lives. Then I should have locked the door with them in there briefly, once they were comfortable, then open the door to teach them that they may be locked in, but they would be released before they reach adulthood.

Although it has always been in the puppy room, the crate was kept locked until yesterday (it wasn’t very clean).  The puppies explored it, but were not too excited about it.  I left some food in there for them and a toy, but Cody ate the food, fished out the toy, and disappeared under the dinning table with it.  So here’s what happened this morning before the trip to the vets:

I gathered up all the little darlings, making sure to kiss each puppy on the head (I know, I couldn’t resist), then I unceremoniously shoved each puppy in the crate and slammed the door shut.  Then I hauled them to the car, where they had never been, and drove them some 20 miles in heavy morning traffic to the vet where they were met by strangers wearing gloves who poked and prodded and finally stuck each with a needle.

They didn’t behave too badly.  Someone cried for a bit during the car ride, but I sang to them and they settled down.  One of them screamed in the waiting room, just to let everyone within earshot know that we were there.

Unfortunately there was no way of getting around the issue of meeting strangers.  In an ideal world the puppies’ first encounter with strangers should not have been the vet or vet techs.  However, I have had to protect these puppies because the threat of canine diseases is HUGE in Jamaica with so many stray, unvaccinated dogs roaming the streets.  There are no leash laws or licenses in Jamaica, and very few people who own dogs bother with shots.

Some diseases, like Parvo, will live in the soil for years and infect dogs, much to the chagrin of their unsuspecting owners.  Consequently, my puppies have had no exposure to strangers, and I’m afraid it will have to stay that way until the puppies receive all of their shots.  My vet has warned me about this, and so has other experienced breeders.  Someone once told me that he lost his entire litter of rottweiler puppies to Parvo!  I cannot take that risk, though I know that at this stage in the puppies’ development, it is critical for them to be exposed to many different people.

Now it’s late, and the puppies have all gone to bed.  They got play time in their kennel today for a really long time, but I haven’t done anything today by way of individual handling because they had such a big day today.  They are tired, I know.  The house is so quite I can almost hear the cog wheels in my brain.  Before long I will be heading to bed, and tomorrow we will all wake up bright, refreshed, and ready to explore more of this beautiful world.

Puppy Chronicles–Day 38

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Of all my puppies, Little Darlin seems to be the most affectionate one.  He will actively seek me out, and climb on my legs for me to pick him up.  At this early age, I indulge him.  If he were an older puppy I would not encourage this by giving him attention, because it would encourage jumping.  At five weeks, however, I encourage puppies to seek out human affection.  So, I pick him up and cuddle him, and sometimes sing to him.  He loves to sleep in my arms.

Turbo Puppy is the most tenacious one.  She will sit at the baby gate and cry to be let out until either someone opens the door, or she falls asleep.  She will come and seek me out, too, but only after she realizes that no one will open the baby gate for her.

The Screamer seems the most independent of the three.  She has a mind of her own, and doesn’t mind running off to play with her toys.  She will play with me when I do engage her, but she will not elicit affection from me or anyone.

Of course these traits will probably change later this week or next.  The puppies change so rapidly, that just when I feel that a puppy exhibits the signs that I’m looking for in my next obedience dog, another puppy exhibits those signs later, too.   Of course, I love all my babies regardless of what qualities they possess, and I nurture them to be the best dogs later on.

I introduced them to the tippy board yesterday.  They investigated the board, but didn’t consciously climb on it.  They ran across it by accident when they chased each other around the living room, or fell onto it while wrestling.  The banging sound didn’t seem to bother them, nor did the wobbly-ness.  Tonight when I come home I’ll let them play one at a time on the board.  It is dangerous to allow the litter access to the board at the same time.  A puppy could get its paw crushed when another goes on the board and tips it.

The litter all decided at 5:00am that they wanted out of my bedroom, so they sat at the baby gate screaming.  It was too early in the morning to let them into the living room.  To pacify the puppies, Cody picked up “Froggie” the green from with the loud squeak and ran around my room squeaking it, hoping to distract her puppies.   Cody is one special dog!

Puppy Chronicles–Day 37

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Turbo Puppy found her voice today.  During breakfast, my rottweiler, Busta, decided to bark at the stray dogs on the road outside our house.  Now it’s very easy to confuse Busta’s bark with a thunder storm, because he not only barks, he bangs on the gate and makes a racket loud enough to wake the dead in the nearby cemetary.  Turbo Puppy raised her head from her bowl, stood her ground, and emitted the loudest bark that her tiny lungs could muster.

The puppies turned five weeks yesterday and received their second course of worming.  They got their nails trimmed and snuggled in my lap while I brushed them.  They are really  starting to act like dogs, now–loyal and affectionate.

At night when I’m going to bed they put their front paws on the side of my bed waiting for me to pat each head and wish them a good night.  Of course, they don’t sleep.  I was awakened in the wee hours by the sound of metal clinking against wood.  I got up to look:  Turbo Puppy had somehow managed to get Cody’s collar undone and was walking around my room with it in her mouth.  Cody sat down looking quite confused.

I rescued the collar.  Not only is it dangerous should the puppy eat the treads from it, but it’s blue, and I haven’t seen another one like it in the stores.  My shepherds are almost identical, and I tell them apart in a pinch by the color of their collars:  Cody wears blue and Athena wears purple.  Mix the colors and pandemonium could ensue

I’m planning on keeping one of the puppies, so I’ll have to find an appropriate collar for the new little one.  So many executive decisions…so little time…

Puppy Chronicles–Day 35

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Puppies Day 35 015Little Darlin plays with his toy.






Good Lordy!  My house is fast becoming a giant kennel with five adult dogs and three puppies.  The babies are now very mobile and very strong.  They no longer walk: they run, and they will race me to the door to get out of my bedroom.  When they are in the living room, they will race me to the kitchen.  Everywhere I go there’s a dog. 

The adults are all house trained, but not the puppies, though Cody still cleans up after them.  She has, however, relaxed her maternal duties somewhat, and it’s only a matter of time when the puppies are on their own.

Cody, the consummate mother dog, now teaches her puppies to play with toys and basic manners.  She’ll pick up one of the toys and walk around with it, encouraging her babies to follow her.  Yesterday after she was done playing and trying to get comfortable for a nap, The Screamer went up to her to play some more.  Cody just barely lifted her lips to expose her top teeth.  The Screamer took the hint and backed off.

The puppies enjoy playing with their toys, especially Turbo Puppy and Little Darlin.  They will drag Mr. Moose around my room.  It’s so cute to watch them because the to is slightly larger than the puppy.  They remind me of wolves in the wild hauling home the catch of the day.

They play with each other, too, and sometimes in the heat of play they forget to eat.  Little Darlin was eating his dinner when Turbo Puppy snuck up behind him and bit him on the butt.  Little Darlin turned out and reciprocated in kind.  A scuffle ensued and somehow Little Darlin ended up in the supper dish.

Maybe one day in the not too distant future mealtime will become a serious affair where the puppies will settle down to eat their meals in one sitting, but for now, meals continue to be a source of entertainment.

Puppy Chronicles–Day 31

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Puppies are beginning to follow me around; that is, when they are awake.  I think they are drawn to my ankles:  they LOVE to sink their fangs into my succulent flesh.  The little devils are becoming so independent now.  I wanted to spend some cuddle time but they all slept.  I only got to hold Little Darlin.  He’s a real snuggle bug.

I brushed his coat, too with the baby brush, and he really seemed to love it.  Tomorrow I’ll have to find some new adventure for the puppies.  Perhaps a new toy would be in order.  Must keep those little brains active and growing!

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