Proper puppy enrichment and socialization is the foundation to the success of a well-adjusted Weimaraner.
In an effort to share with prospective owners general breed information and what goes into enriching and socializing a litter of Barrett puppies, below is a micro-blog to photo-journal the Summer 2020 Boulder x Stella as well as the King x Gracie puppies. The Stella litter is co-bred with Anne of Touchstone Weimaraners and the Gracie litter is co-bred with Erin of BaseCamp Weimaraners. Both litters were raised in Tehachapi, CA at the same time. Enjoy! – Kim
Expectation. July 15th. Gracie and Stella Litters. After MONTHS of negative ultrasounds, we were beginning to think there was something in the water. Or maybe we pissed off the fertility gods. Or maybe it was just our “turn” to regress towards the statistical mean. Whatever it was, we took it as a sign to chill out. Netflix a few tearjerkers. Knock back a couple margaritas.
And then we went to work on a Plan B. And then a Plan C. And now that we’re on Plan W, or Plan X (depends on how you’re counting), we’re pleased to announce that we finally have some potatoes in the oven. !!!! They should be fully baked by August.
We’re beyond excited. But if we’re being honest, we’re also a tad freaked out. Will everyone be healthy? Will the temperaments align the way we need them to? Will puppies be able to hunt their way out of a paper bag? Will we get some good athletes in the mix? Do we have the proper homes lined up? Do they know what they’re signing up for?!?!?! Do they realize that puppies are jerks and that their entire lives are about to change? Are they dedicated and committed, regardless? (BECAUSE IRREGARDNESS IS NOT A WORD. !!! Sorry, English Majors here.)
Are we ready for another 56 days of doing daily puppy photos?!?!
Let the games begin…
Mandate. July 25th. Gracie Litter. GRACIE is confirmed via x-ray to be expecting four puppies within the next week. (Hey, that’s three more than what we thought we were going to have since the ultrasound only showed us one!!!!)
The interest list for Gracie’s puppies is 41% comprised of people who are familiar with crates and currently use it for their other dogs, and 59% of people who are not familiar with crates but are willing to learn.
Many, many applications (north of 50) were received from families who were opposed to crates. In general, these families also checked off, “I’m comfortable having my dogs loose in the house/yard.”
From just one question on our prospective owner questionnaire, we’ve learned two things: 1) There are lots of folks out there who don’t believe that dogs should spend time in crates, 2) This population shouldn’t have a puppy out of the upcoming Gracie litter. (This is also why 0% of this population is on the list for a Gracie puppy.) Click here to read WHY.
Patience. July 29th. Gracie Litter. One of the drawbacks to a good ‘ol fashioned live breeding is that we actually don’t know when Gracie is due. Based on the days she was bred, puppies were due as early as last Monday, but as late as this weekend. And since we don’t know, all we do is sit around the house and wait for Gracie to come into labor. For the record, she’s tired of us following her around the house asking, “Is it time, are you ready, how do you feel, can we get this started now???” #iflookscouldkill
Reward. July 31st. Gracie Litter Day 1. Erin and I are pleased to report that Gracie delivered two boys and two girls yesterday after a quick and uneventful labor. All four puppies are voracious little eaters. As expected, the kids are alert and active; in less than 24 hours we’ve already observed them moving quickly throughout the cabin. We’ve also landed on a litter theme: The Robin Hood Four. Puppies are identified as follows: Blue Collar Girl, Green Collar Boy, Black Collar Girl, and Brown Collar Boy.
Village. August 2nd. Stella Litter. Breeding isn’t done in a vaccuum. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll begin to see a pattern of breeders working together to produce the next generation of Weimaraners. [And you should also be alarmed if you don’t.] As for the upcoming Boulder x Stella litter, this is a collaboration that I’m really excited about for so many reasons. Behind these dogs on both sides are ladies (mah gurlz!!!) who are not only true stewards of the hunting Weimaraner, but are my close personal friends as well (a laYa-Ya Sisterhood). As a function of that, we are all guilty of spontaneously getting together for group chats and phone calls, and we may or may not also be culpable of traveling thousands of miles just to spend a few hours in the same room together. As a collective, we will know more about these future puppies than anyone will ever want to know. Got a nooker? It came from Pappa Boulder. Boobies slightly offset (yes, it’s actually a thing)? Probably Gramma Friday’s fault. Got one that worships you? Probably came from Grampa Judd. Incessant need to hang her chin on your lap? Blame it on Mamma Stella. And so on. Bottom line: be prepared for an adventure!
Record. August 5th. Gracie Litter Day 6. In Gracie’s litter of four puppies, three of them were born “extra large” and one of them was born “small.” It turns out that tonight’s biggest porkchop is Black Collar Girl, who now holds our heavyweight record for coming in at a whopping TWO POUNDS at six days of age. Seriously, in the three generations we’ve been doing this, we’ve never had a double-pounder at less than a week. !!! Not only is she hefty, but this girl is also a squawker. I have to place her onto the scale’s container upside down because if i don’t, she’ll whine and climb right out before the numbers are locked. If I were a betting person, I’d put $100 down on “she’s a keeper.” But let’s see.
Inundation. August 7th. Stella Litter. While we’re excited about the impending arrivals, we’re even more stoked for the new families. For some of them, this is their first time buying a puppy from a breeder, so for the next eight weeks, we’re going to inundate everyone with so much information you’ll all know more than you ever want to know… about Weimaraners, about raising puppies, about what to expect, what to work on. We’ll give you the good, the bad, and the ugly. We hope that folks out there will learn about what goes into producing a litter of puppies, what goes into their upbringing, and perhaps most importantly, what is needed to make them the best dogs ever.
Joy and Disappointment. August 13th. Stella Litter Day 01. We are so incredibly excited to announce that the Boulder x Stella puppies are finally here!!! Anne helped Stella whelped all six puppies in the morning (while Kim was sick in bed), and Stella took to motherhood like a duck to water.
We’re also utterly disappointed at having to spend the last day notifying families that because it was a smaller litter than we were expecting, we weren’t confident that everyone on the list would be getting a puppy. We HATE this part about breeding and wish it weren’t so. To the families who have to wait, we are so, so sorry, and hope that we’ll be able to get you another puppy from another Touchstone and/or Barrett litter, SOON.
Team Thunder Thighs. August 14th. Stella Litter Day 02. The breed standard is a “recipe” for what a dog should look like. It’s what separates Weimaraners from Chihuahuas and Afghans from Ridgebacks. Think of all the purebred dogs as all the different types of soups in the world. And let’s say for now that Weimaraners are chili.
Ask ten different Weimaraner breeders to give you their recipe for chili, and we promise you that you’ll get ten different write-ups. Some are hand-me-downs from tried and true resources, and others are made up from scratch, refined as the breeder goes.
One breeder may insist on putting beans in their chili. Another will tell you that beans are an abomination. A third will insist on adding chorizo. And yet another will swear by chuck.
Breeding works the same way.
We all have a basic recipe that we must follow (medium-sized gray dog), but the finer elements are seasoned to taste.
If you know me (Kim) well, you’ll know I have “a thing” for thunder thighs. I can’t help myself; I love a good rear engine, even if “broad thighs” are not mentioned anywhere in the Weimaraner breed standard. It’s what propels my dogs forward and gives them the power to do their jobs.
Boulder has a nice pair. And so does Stella. So it should come as no surprise that when Anne showed me Pink Girl (who had been whelped right before I entered the room), my first reaction was OMG I LOVE HER THIGHS!!!!!
Nerd Alert: Are there really things a breeder can see the day a puppy is born? Yes.
Can you see it?!?!
Family. August 15th. Friday. Today is Gramma Friday’s 12th Birthday (Friday is Boulder and Gracie’s mom).
Friday came to me via Anne/Touchstone Weimaraners back in 2011. The initial plan was for me and Barry to just “babysit her.” (Does this sound familiar to anyone?!?! Erin? Brent? Holly? Stacy?) Nine years later, we haven’t given her back.
In the early months, all we did was go hiking together. This FB page was actually started as a way for me to document all the dog-friendly trails Friday and I had been on together. Hence, Trailing Friday.
Little by little, Weimaraner folks started encouraging us to participate in sporting events: both dog shows and field trials. Supposedly, it was a great way to bond with your dog? Little by little, we trudged along, learning as much as we could.
Fast-forward to 2020. Friday is 12. Her son Boulder is seven. Her daughter Gracie is six. Gracie’s youngest kids are ten days old, and Boulder’s youngest kids are three days old. How in the world did we get here?!?!
Never in a million years did I ever think that buying a gray dog as a personal companion would lead me to where I am today. But here we are and I am forever grateful.
How fitting then, that Friday is now behind the litter that Anne and I have on the ground, together?
Happiest of Birthdays to you, FriFri. You are loved beyond measure and we are excited about your newest grand babies.
You also look incredible for 12. Bitch.
Happy Sunday. August 16th. Stella Litter Day 04.
Weimarized. August 17th. Stella Litter Day 05. A few times a year, we get inquiries from well-meaning folks who want to know if we could please leave their puppy’s tail and dewclaws intact. Some feel so strongly about this subject that they’ve offered to pre-pay for their puppy.
We’ve declined every single one of those requests.
Here’s the thing:
Decades upon decades of really hard work by a lot of really passionate people have gone into developing and then preserving the Weimaraner as we know it today. Our roles as modern breeders is simply to carry the torch.
If you close your eyes and have someone read for you the current (American) Weimaraner breed standard, a very clear picture will form in your head. Primarily, it will be of a medium-sized gray dog with fine aristocratic features. His coat will be short, smooth and sleek. In his silhouette you’ll see a moderately long neck, well developed chest, straight strong back, firmly held abdomen, well-angulated stifles, and finally:
A docked tail.
To put it plainly, the docked tail is a big part of our breed’s type, and to change that signature silhouette, to un-do all that work, now, just seems a little… rogue.
Early Neurological Stimulation. August 18th. Stella Litter Day 06. The textbooks say that conducting early neurological stimulation on puppies makes them better dogs. (Further reading at www.breedingbetterdogs.com) Do we know for sure it works? Meh. Have we done our own research to confirm the same findings? No…
A Midsummer’s Eve. August 19th. Stella Litter Day 07. It’s been really warm this week, even for us Tehachapi mountain folk. With mom’s help, the puppies have adjusted by finding bare spots in the box to take their naps. This one seems to be smiling in his sleep. Life is good.
Puppy Culture. August 20th. Stella Litter Day 08.
Kim’s going out of town for the weekend so Anne is in charge until Sunday. Task # 1: Learning by osmosis. Task # 2: “Scratch ‘n sniff” your workbook. Task #3: Nap in pinwheel formation.
Dad’s Night Out. August 21st. Stella Litter Day 9. Exactly seven years ago today, my friend Garret and I were traveling together in Boulder, Utah, for the first time. It was my first time visiting Southern Utah, and it left such an impression on me that my life was never the same after that.
I came home to Orange County, CA a few days later to a still un-named ten week old keeper puppy out of Friday’s first litter.
He was immediately named “Boulder.”
Tonight, Barry and I found ourselves back in Boulder, Utah. We now own ten acres here, and while we enjoyed a couple of beers before sunset, Boulder (the dog) wandered about exploring the mesa, eventually tucking himself under a tree to gnaw on a fresh deer leg.
For those of you who are about to bring home a Boulder kid, know that this guy is really special to us. I knew at four weeks of age we were keeping him, and he’s been a joy to know. I have no doubt his get will be just as lovely.
Boulder is always down for a road trip. He’s great in the car and doesn’t get carsick. Solid on his recall, he’s easy to keep a handle on when we’re out and about hiking off leash. Away from home, he doesn’t go off his food or gets picky about where he’s having his meal. Strangers are greeted with a tail wag and a kiss. (However, bushes with swaying branches in the dark must be presumed dangerous.) In a hotel room, he’s a perfect gentleman and will curl up in the tiniest little ball until morning… until he changes his mind and smacks you in the face with a stray paw.
Really though, lucky are the peeps who will be bringing home a mini-Bo in form of Blue Boy, Green Boy, or Black Boy in a few weeks.
Dare to be Different. August 22nd. Stella Litter Day 10.
On Sundays We Rest. August 23rd. Stella Litter Day 11.
Hi Hi from Black Boy. August 24th. Stella Litter Day 12.
“Sup, yo? ” – Black Boy
Checking in from BaseCamp. August 25th. Gracie Litter Day 26.
Everyone is growing so fast. We can see! We can hear! We can walk… kinda. We actually waddle because we like to EAT!
One Big Happy Family. August 25th. Stella Litter Day 13. Gracie Litter Day 26.
Tonight’s post celebrates all the grown-up doggies who live here.
Photo # 1. THE MOMS. Top dog is Stella. Bottom dog is Gracie. They each have their litters to raise (Stella’s is upstairs and Gracie’s is downstairs), but throughout the day, they wander the halls together and sleep in front of the AC unit together. They probably also trade motherhood tips together when the rest of us aren’t looking.
Photo # 2. THE HALL MONITOR. Britta (our first Weimaraner) wanders the house, going between litters to check in on the puppies. All. Day. Long. For a dog that has never had puppies of her own, she sure goes out of her way to be a second mom to them. Somewhere in the archives is a photo of Britta licking one of Stella’s puppies, as Stella nurses the others.
Photo # 3. THE UNCLE/DAD. Boulder plays the role of absentee dad really, really well. The Stella puppies are his kids, but he’s never bothered to go upstairs to say hi to them (even though he can). The Gracie puppies are his nieces and nephews, and he’s never showed any interest in them, either. If Boulder isn’t outside digging for gophers, one can usually find him lounging on the sofa.
Photo # 4. THE RETIRED GRAMMA. “What puppies? I don’t see puppies. I don’t hear puppies. Where’s my dinner?”
Really though, we’re blessed to have two nursing moms under one roof, and everyone getting along peacefully.
Editor’s Note: We cannot guarantee future puppy owners the same kind of “harmony” when you bring your little piranha home.
Puppy Raising I Don’t Know What Day It Is Anymore. August 26th. Gracie Litter Day 27.
I woke up this morning to Gracie licking my face and then rushed out the door for work where I pushed up a covey of quail out on the main road and thought hey I should work my dogs on these sometime which led me to the fact that I miss my white dog and then 24 phone calls later I realized that I needed to send Barry to the “goat milk lady” before 3 pm or else we’re out of luck and at some point I was in my boss’s office talking about buying a winery and we all thought it would be a fun side hustle and then I get a phone call from Barry who was stranded on the side of the 14 Hwy somewhere in the desert south of Rosamond Avenue with a pregnant dog because the WEIMBUS that we JUST got out of the shop (for a $2K catalytic converter) went bust again and AAA didn’t want to give him a ride home during times of COVID which led me to think geez so much for customer service because I MEAN HOW CAN YOU LEAVE A PREGNANT DOG ON THE SHOULDER OF A FREEWAY (and Barry too) but thankfully everyone made it home in the German car and now that it’s dark the dogs are hungry and I’m ready for a Hendricks ‘n tonic (extra ice) but first I have to get ONE picture of the first puppy I can reach in the pen because it’s National Dog Day or something like that so cheers and g’nite!
Supplementation. August 27th. Gracie Litter Day 28.
Late night research. An anonymous text. Then another. Appointment. Confirmation.
Across the Mojave desert, Barry unloads a cooler, rings the doorbell, and hands over a couple of Jacksons. In exchange, a woman hands over eight glass Ball jars. Full of goat milk. Raw. Un-pasteurized. Fresh. Free of antibiotics, hormones, and diseases. White as snow.
Nubian, Alpine, Saanen and Nigerian Dwarf goats are fed with alfalfa and organic grain. Milked daily. Machinery is stainless steel. Filtered. And filtered again.
Back at the compound, the puppies are starving. They’re getting bigger by the minute and Gracie’s getting beat. So we put down a bowl full of milk. Puppies are initiated, and then they’re hooked. It’s crack. They have to lick off the floor, off themselves, off one another. Within minutes, the bowl is empty.
And just like that, the weaning process has begun.
Supplementation. August 28th. Gracie Litter Day 29.
Brown Boy learned last night (during his intro to goat milk session) that there was a world out there that was bigger than his puppy pen. Around 9:00 pm when his littermates were asleep, he put up his front feet on the enclosure and whined to get out.
Before I could say, “don’t give in!” Barry had picked him up and put him on the living room floor. For the next 20 minutes the little puppy explored the house with curiosity and inquisition. When he got tired, he curled up in a little ball and fell asleep on the ground.
This afternoon, he wanted out again.
So we let him explore. He used the coffee table as an obstacle to conquer, uncle Boulder’s crate to sniff and experience, and then somehow landed in my lap for an afternoon siesta.
The next four weeks is gonna be fun!!!!!!
Potty Training. Crate Training. August 29th. Gracie Litter Day 30.
The puppy pen sits in our dining room (right next to the sliding glass door) and is roughly 4’ x 6’ with two levels; The back half includes a 4” platform that we keep covered in bedding and front half has potty pads laid over linoleum.
The set-up encourages puppies to sleep in the back half and potty on the front half. As a bonus, they’re also learning to “potty where the pads are,” a skill that will be useful as potty training progresses.
As of today, an intermediate Ruffland crate (without doors) has also been placed where the puppy bed used to be. For now, the crate is an obstacle course to play with, and then pass out in. Gracie doesn’t really fit, but she likes it too.
In another week or so, we’ll put in a crate door. And then the other crate door. And then we’ll start closing it periodically. And then overnight.
There’s also a bucket of fresh water in the corner. The bucket is clipped to the pen so it can’t tip over.
Your puppy will go home after eight weeks of age sleeping all night in a crate. DO NOT MESS WITH THIS ROUTINE.
WE REPEAT. DO NOT MESS WITH THIS ROUTINE. Doing so may cause side effects of asshole puppy shenanigans, including but not limited to running over your life and routine, keeping you up all night, peeing on your bed, jumping on your chest, otherwise testing your patience, and negatively impacting your every existence.
Happy Sunday. August 30th. Stella Litter Day 18.
Impressions. August 31st. Gracie Litter Day 32.
The textbooks say that around this time, we should be playing classical music for the puppies to listen to. “It calms them,” “they bark less,” “they sleep more.”
Ummm… so, we regret to inform y’all that Barry and I have been going through (the US version of) Shameless on Netflix, so if anything, these kiddos will be callous thieves, expert manipulators, and agile ninjas. [See also: Weimaraners.]
Since these traits are impressed upon these little potatoes at an early age, we highly encourage new owners to buckle up and hang on tight. It’s gonna be a wild ride!!!
P.S. This is White Girl, 0.0324 seconds before she decided to POUNCE. rawrrrrr
Baby Steps. September 1st. Stella Litter Day 20.
Came home in the afternoon to find that this ‘lil sprite had helped himself over the ledge. Not sure if we should be amused, impressed, or alarmed.
Season Opener. September 2nd. ROAD TRIP # 16 of 2020.
We now interrupt the “Summer 2020 puppy stream” to tell you about our weekend adventure.
For many, September = the start of hunting season. For us, it’s also the kickoff to the Fall Field Trial season.
For the last few years, we’ve made a tradition out of spending Labor Day Weekend in the White Mountains of Arizona. In addition to fresh air and abundant wildlife at 10,000 feet elevation, there is also a gaggle of gray dogs that have been camping out all summer. To be specific, three of Gracie’s puppies out of her first litter are there now, and also one of Elleven’s. And it’s finally time to see them all in action.
This year, the WEIMBUS is on life support and currently awaiting transplant surgery (a used motor from a nearby salvage yard will replace the current one, which will be given a proper burial). So, we had to rent an SUV for the trip. Unfortunately, upon arrival no one could find the reserved SUV (how does that even happen???) so we were “upgraded” to a Dodge minivan. First reaction: OMG a minivan?! I simply don’t “do” minivans. Next reaction after opening it up: OMG it has soooo much space!!! It’s like a tiny house!!!
So we’re loading up SIERRA, a field trial prospect out of Gracie’s second litter, and sending her into the abyss to see what happens.
I thought for a split second about loading up Gracie and her puppies (because there’s so much room to bring them!) but we did that last year with Bliss’ litter, and that. was. a. lot. of. work. So no progeny trifecta; we’ll try to get all three litters together in the Spring 2021 Field Trial season.
All this to say we’ll be reporting from the road for the next week or so. Toodles!!!
King. September 3rd. ROAD TRIP # 16 of 2020.
Me: Hey King, remember back in May when you told me about this cute girl named Gracie who you had fallen head over heels for? You picked her flowers, gave her your bully stick, and told her she was the most beautiful girl in the world? You said it was the best month of your life, and you were really bummed that by the first of June, she was GONE. No note, no forwarding address. Well buddy, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you better be makin’ some money here real quick, because word on the street is that Gracie went home to have a litter of puppies. It’s not that she didn’t love you… she just thought it was better to raise your kids at home instead of on the road. They ALL look like you, by the way. Down to the same white blaze. Congratulations, DAD. Now go make sum’n of yourself because you have four little ones to set an example for.
King: She still loves me?????
A Tale of Two Sisters. September 4th. Sahuaro Brittany Club Field Trial.
As a baby, TEDDY was fierce. The entire litter was advanced, almost savant. Every milestone was hit before we expected them to. At eight weeks, TEDDY went to live with Brent of L&L Weimaraners, and Erin and I prayed to the dog god (Hecate?) that she would grow up the way we expected her to. A season later, we’re told that TEDDY has been a shining star at Summer Camp. The competitive spirit in that girl is like no other; Always has to be forward, always has to be ahead of her bracemate.
SIERRA, owned by Erin of BaseCamp Weimaraners, was almost someone else. It was by a very narrow margin that Gracie’s “Purple Girl” was selected to stay in the family over “Pink Girl” last year. Pink Girl was smart, friendly, cooperative, and a retrieving FOOL. (She was definitely an early favorite!) But so was Purple Girl. In a last ditch effort to make a decision, it came down to “Who had more ants in her pants?” So we tested the girls again. This time, it was Purple Girl who had more get-up-and-go. She ran to her objectives with more speed and desire, and approached everything with more curiosity. When out in the field behind the Cedar house, she took off pouncing on grasshoppers and never looked back.
SIERRA believes life is an episode of American Gladiator. Assault course (where you get pounded with tennis balls)? Bring it. Atlasphere (where you roll around in a cage)? Game on. Gauntlet (where you run through a half pipe avoiding the other Gladiators with blocking pads)? You bet. And she does it ALL with a happy attitude and a high tail.
It should have been no surprise then that SIERRA (bottom of the screen) came out to the starting line this morning with a belly full of Wheaties. To TEDDY’S credit (top of the screen), so did she!!!
In short, both of these GRACIE daughters impressed the pants off of me. Was it enough to win the stake? No, not even close because Charlie the English Setter put down one hell of a run. But man, we’re really excited about these two. Gracie, you should be proud.
New Dual Champion!!!!!!!!!!!! September 5th. Sahuaro Brittany Club Field Trial.
It’s a BIG WEEKEND for the Weimaraner breed. Congratulations to TEAM KIRBY for his induction into the Hall of Dual Champion Weimaraners.
It takes a phenomenal commitment by an entire village over many seasons to earn this crown. BRAVO.
A Changing of the Guards. September 6th. Greater Phoenix Brittany Club Field Trial.
Tonight is SIERRA’S (2019 Bowie x Gracie) last night of being a “pampered puppy.”
Tomorrow, she officially checks in for Basic Training at the Rugerheim Bird Dog Academy, and the next time we see her, she’s gonna be all business.
Who are we kidding… she’s all business NOW. Baby dogs grow up way too fast.
Safe travels, little monster!!!! Be a good girl and we’ll see you soon.
Home. September 7th. Gracie Litter Day 39.
I sat down with GRACIE and went on and on about how great her older kids did this weekend.
Her heart screamed “I’m so happy!!!” but her demeanor said “I’m so freaking exhausted.”
Same girl, same.
Growth. September 8th. Gracie Litter Day 40.
And just like that, baby puppies are toddler dogs, complete with individual personalities. Hard to believe that in two and a half weeks, they’ll be ready to fly the coop.
Hooligans. September 9th. Stella Litter Day 28.
Gone are the days of “cute photos of sleeping puppies.”
Every time I walk into their room, the terrorists have pulled all their blankets down again. Some are outside the box. Some are under the bed. Some are struttin’ down the hallway. Some are nowhere to be found.
So, GRACIE’S puppies are going to get upgraded to the living room, and STELLA’S puppies are going downstairs to the puppy pen.
The Great Outdoors. September 10th. Gracie Litter Day 42.
Today we ventured outside, stomped on gravel, dug up dirt, sniffed the chickens, and jumped over railroad ties.
Food and Motivation. September 11th. Stella Litter Day 30.
The Stella babies loooooooove their gruel. The Gracie babies are little fatties and White Girl, especially, will try to climb in with the little ones any time she sees they’re getting fed.
Food motivation is an awesome thing. For the new owners, food is an early window into your puppy’s heart. One of the best ways to establish a great relationship with your little one is to flash your way back to the 80s when Reeboks and leg warmers were cool, pump up some Pet Shop Boys, and dispense a bunch of treats from a bedazzled FANNY PACK. We can talk about the details later, but treats used to mold and perfect desired behaviors will get you on the fast-track to success.
Life Skillz. September 12th. Gracie Litter Day 44.
Puppies learned about eating whole kibble, drinking from the big kid water bucket, doing the dishes, and napping with crusty aunt Britta.
Sunday Funday. September 13th.
Gracie and Stella Puppies. Sunday Funday with kids.
Good Puppy. September 14th. Gracie Litter Day 46.
Who’s a Good Puppy?!?!
Came home from work to four little gremlins greeting me at the door. I wasn’t sure if they’d been sleeping or playing, so we all went out back and one by one they all squatted. And peed. Outside. In the dirt. (The septic tank was just replaced so we currently have no lawn.)
I guess this means they’re all ready for their new homes. Y’all come and get them now, m’kay?!
Just kidding. We still have a week and a half to go. Guess we’ll teach them how to read tomorrow.
Guppies in a Fish Bowl. September 15th. Stella Litter Day 34.
Gracie and Stella’s TEN kids took a group spin around the premises tonight. Then the neighbor kids came over and YouTubed the puppies for an hour.
Dang, they’re fun.
Solo Road Trip. September 16th. Gracie Litter Day 48.
Since the WEIMBUS is still in the shop, we’re down to one operating vehicle so guess who gets chauffeured to work everyday!!!
This also provides a great opportunity to get the puppies away from their littermates and out of the house for about an hour. One goes in the morning, another gets the evening shift. And so on.
Note: No one’s getting out of the car to set their little feet down on “foreign land.” With unvaccinated kiddos who may have already lost maternal antibodies, we’re not that comfortable hitting that milestone just yet.
But – We can now add solo time and lap car rides to the “life experiences list.”
Stacking Puppies. September 17th. Stella Litter Day 36.
It wasn’t until entering the world of dog shows that I really understood the phrase, “stack ‘em up against each other.”
Because at the shows, dogs literally stand side by side by side in identical form (i.e. stacked position), held like imminently detonating bombs, so the Judge can stand in the middle and look at them, look at them, and look at them again to compare how they are similar, and how they are different, from one specimen to the next.
There are many, MANY elements that factor into the successful show dog. One of the many is the art of standing still. Four on the floor. With a confident tail, ability to focus, and an attitude that says, “I’m a force to be reckoned with.”
So here we are at five weeks plus one day. That’s 36 days outside the womb. And maybe, just maybe, we have some future winners in this bunch.
More Stacking Puppies. September 18th. Gracie Litter Day 50.
Unlike with Stella’s litter, conformation/structure was NOT a major consideration (if at all) for Gracie’s boyfriend. In fact, King was bred 200% for ability; there isn’t a single bench champion in recent generations on his side of the pedigree.
A primary goal of this breeding was to produce a puppy that would inherit dad’s natural ability, work ethic, and grit, but maintain mom’s pretty outline (and for the record she’s no bird dawg slouch either).
So, here we are.
And because we’re looking for a slick gray twin turbo-charged motor with an 8-speed dual clutch transmission, complete with sport exhaust and other mind-blowing specs, we won’t know what we have until we log a few years’ worth of mileage.
Fingers crossed that what’s under the hood is as nice as the polished paint job. Hoping Car and Driver gives us a favorable review in about 2025.
Friends and Family. September 19th. Stella Litter Day 38.
Both the Stella and Gracie puppies hosted new friends and family for almost 12 hours today. It was a joy to spend a whole day with y’all, and I can’t WAIT for you to bring your kiddos home.
Special thanks also to Patrice and Robin for coming by to temperament test the Gracie rugrats. We’re excited for their future families.
In closing tonight, we’ll leave you with Stella’s Pink Girl. She looks about how I feel: satiated and exhausted. G’night!!!!
Bird Dawggin. September 20th. Gracie Litter Day 52.
All four kids logged another couple of hours of in-crate car time and passed the bird test with flying colors. Or as our friend Shirley Hansen used to say, “Of course they would. They’re bird dogs. ” Thank you Beth and Bob for your birds and the use of your front lawn. Happy Sunday!!!
Seven Reasons to Have an Open House. September 21st. Stella Litter Day 40.
1. It nudges you to wake up early and clean the mountain shack.
2. Three hours later when you realize that you didn’t make a dent in scrubbing your home, you get to show off your entire collection of scented candles by lighting and displaying them on every flat surface possible. #pleasemaskthepuppy
3. Spend quality face time with prospective puppy owners.
4. Answer 100 really good questions, and three terrible ones. (Just kidding, there are no bad questions.)
5. Astonish your guests by releasing the hounds one by one out of their crates over a few hours until they are SURROUNDED BY A SEA OF GRAY DOGS. (Free puppy to the first person who correctly guesses the total number of dogs on the property that day.)
6. Lull your peeps into a false sense of hope that all their new puppy will do is sleep and look harmless.
7. Demonstrate your dog’s behavior, including up close and personal encounters.
In all seriousness though, this was a rare occasion where we had “both the sire and dam onsite” (for Stella’s litter, anyway), and both Anne (Stella’s owner) and Kim (Boulder’s owner) were on the premises to hang out with everyone. Having met both Stella and Boulder, we hope that new owners went home comfortable knowing that their new kiddo is from parents (both biological and human, ha!) who are temperamentally sound, overly friendly, oftentimes amusing, and occasionally mischievous. Fun fact: Boulder swiped a box of croissants while no one was looking. It took him 13 seconds to polish off the WHOLE package.
Today’s photo is one of my favorites of this whole series: All of Stella’s boys were on the sofa to snuggle with Vince, Ben, and Tom and at some point Stella decided to get right in the middle of it. In typical Weim fashion, she just wanted all the attention to herself??? Clearly, she had no qualms about having just met these guys. And then a few minutes later, she nursed her puppies… while still sitting on Ben’s lap.
A big thank you to folks who traveled all the way out to Tehachapi to meet with us, our dogs, and our puppies. We know it was a haul for you, and we appreciate your commitment to hang out with us. See you again real soon!!!
Getting it Right. September 22nd. Gracie Litter Day 54.
One night awhile back I got a call from a farmer. Said he had an old GSP who was gettin’ on in years and a buddy of his had recommended he give me a call. Try something different.
He started our conversation with, “I heard you’re the lady who sold my friend the best hunting dog he’s ever had.”
Alright. I’m listening…
He said he wasn’t interested in paper or pedigree. He just wanted a truck dog he could hunt over. All day. Everyday. And at home, at night, that dog needed to be good with his family.
I told him it might take awhile but that I was workin’ on sum’n special. And if I thought I had a pup who might be good enough, I’d send it up his way.
Now here’s a confession. I’m TERRIFIED.
It’s one thing to place a puppy with a family who has never had a Weimaraner before. You can sell them just about anything, and more often than not, they’ll love him, care for him, and integrate him into their home.
It’s a whole ‘nuther thing to send someone a Weimaraner when he’s hunted over Shorthairs his entire life.
We’ve discussed ad nauseam the fact that a Weim is not a GSP. They are different in personality, size, stamina, sensitivity, style, and pattern.
This is a go big or go home moment for #thebarrettcollective. Get it right, and Weimaraners get hazed into a circle of hunters who were previously non-believers. Get it wrong, and I will be scraping egg off my face for eons to come.
Exam, check. Certificate, check. Flight, check. Personal courier, check.
And now, we .
– Signed, Nervous Nelly in the Southwest
Caged. September 23rd. Stella Litter Day 42.
Snuggles. September 24th.
Puppy snuggles are the BEST way to finish off a REALLY long day. Bonne nuit, mes amis.
A Puppy Haiku. September 25th.
Had friends here for play
Too much fun with everyone
Now we out all night
Decisions. September 26th.
The textbook says that the best puppy to move forward with in a breeding program is the one who represents the best of what the sire and dam have to offer.
And then there’s that je ne sais quoi factor.
The last few weeks have felt like a season of American Idol. Who’s bringing their A game? Who’s so on point you can’t deny them? Who’s easy-going with the whole pack? Who stands up to Simon???
Decisions are hard.
So perhaps, we go with the scientifically proven method of: Eenie meenie miney mo.
Sunday Brunch. September 27th.
Thank you friends and neighbors for a great morning in Stallion Springs!!!
Puppies explored a new place, encountered strangers of different sizes, played with (and got drooled on by) dogs of other breeds, and had a great time. There’s even a cameo or two of their Aunt Josie (Judd x LadyBug litter).
Socializing must be hard, because everyone is passed out this afternoon.
One of these pups is not like the others….
Temperament Testing. September 29th.
It’s a series of exercises completed with a puppy, one at a time, in an effort to glean the puppy’s character and personality. Results are used not as a pass or fail, but rather as a guideline to help shape the puppy’s development plan.
Every Barrett, BaseCamp, and L&L puppy is temperament tested. But that’s not the whole story.
It takes many, many years of experience to know how to properly extract the data obtained in any particular test. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents (and the neighbor dog up the street, ha! ) all have to be considered in order to provide context. And then there’s day-to-day observation that provides clues that wouldn’t be seen in a standard “temperament test.”
For the record, WE ARE NO EXPERTS. We haven’t been alive long enough to learn it all. So we’ll provide the disclaimer that we’re “pretty sure” a tested puppy is going to be X, Y, or Z. But there is no guarantee.
We will, however, relay with good confidence that puppies who “scale walls” are destined for greatness.
Take Gracie’s Blue Girl, for example. This little nugget looooooves to climb out of things. And into things. And over things. And under things. And when she’s done with all that, she goes AROUND things. With a magic wand, there’s no doubt she’d go THROUGH things as well.
We could write a whole essay on the subject, but we’ll stop here. For now.
This puppy isn’t going to be right for everyone. But for those who appreciate adventure, drive, tenacity, and the ability to win a race, she just might fit the bill.
Life Experiences, Cont’d. September 30th.
It would be criminal to send home Weimaraner puppies without first confirming their ability to be evening snuggle buddies.
P.S. This is Denali and Jasper’s little baby brother.
Life Skills. October 1st.
If your Barrett puppy comes home with the following life skillz, you can credit Old Auntie Britta (age: 11, bar fights lost: 235, mug shots taken: 63). Brit’s never had a litter; she’s never been a mom, but MAN… she has those little wups wrapped around her paw and no one leaves the house without her expert tutelage:
– Pointing chickens
– Sniffing chickens
– Chasing chickens
– Snatching chickens
– Snacking chickens
P.S.: Britta says she was framed.
P.S. again: Suuuuuuureeee…
Parenting Notes from Boulder and Stella. October 2nd.
– Children can’t reach you on high ground.
– It’s acceptable time to correct your puppies for bad behavior.
– Be united in your discipline.
– Spend quality time away from the kids.
– It’s okay to look EXHAUSTED.
– End everyday with cuddles.
Homecoming. October 3rd. Stella Litter Day 52.
Been away since Thursday morning and it appears the puppies grew in the last three days!!! Pink Girl and her posse look like little dogs now. It’s also our last Saturday night together before everyone gets dispensed to their new homes.
Edited to add: Pink Girl now climbs out of the pen on a regular (and reoccurring) basis. Whoever gets her… GOOOOOOD LUCK WITH THAT ONE.
Homecoming. October 4th. Stella Litter Day 53, plus the last Gracie Puppy.
The puppy pen in the dining room was put away today. This means that puppies are officially free-range, with unrestricted access to the living room, kitchen, and backyard. They know where the water is, they know where their crates are, they know how the toy box opens, and they know which adult dog(s) will humor them (pappa Boulder) and which will not (gramma Friday).
Final evaluations will be done by Friday morning. We’ll know then, who is going where.
Genetic Predisposition. October 5th. Stella Litter Day 54.
In other words, when your new addition comes home and gives you that “puhleeeeeze feed me or I’ll die” look, your breeders will swear up and down that puppies have NEVER BEEN FED PEOPLE FOOD.
This is simply in their DNA.
Other gifts and talents that are in your Weim’s genetic blueprint:
– Mass executioner of stuffies
– Window glass nose artist
– Footwear dismantler
– Deep garden investigator
– Artistic water trough trail maker
– Swiss cheese blanket manufacturer
– Perimeter security officer
– Invader watchman
– Mud time enthusiast
– Bath time evader
– Night time bed warmer
What else are we missing here???!!?!
Evening Jam Sessions. October 6th. Stella Litter Day 55.
Y’all might have noticed that every post between M-Th occurs in the (later part of the) evening. That’s because I leave the house at 6:42 AM for work and don’t get home until 5:48 PM… or in recent nights, well after 7:00 PM. And I’m BEAT.
Emails, phone calls, text messages, and smoke signals will be returned before the end of the week.
Tonight after dinner, we stacked up the puppies again. Lordy, they’re growin’ up!!! I can’t believe it’s almost “that time” to send them on their way.
We’re 95% sure this guy here’s a winner. He’ll be representing Touchstone and Barrett in the months and years to come.
Or, he’ll dash all our hopes and dreams and take an early retirement on the sofa. Time will tell. Regardless, he has a great family waiting for him and we’re excited about his potential.
OMG WE MADE IT TO EIGHT WEEKS AND NOBODY DIED!!! October 7th. Stella Litter Day 56.
Let’s talk about nails. True to my Vietnamese heritage, I’m a fanatic about nails. In fact, I travel three states away on a regular basis just to have them done by a lovely gal who hand paints (freely) every little detail. Her artistry is a sight to behold.
Anyway, I digress.
We’re proud nail snobs over here. Puppies responded to tonight’s weekly manicure as follows:
Orange Girl – If you must, you must. Just don’t qui-OWWWW, lady!!!!!
Green Boy – We good. Just gimme the television. Oh look. That dude has a fly on his head?
Pink Girl – Ow, geez, do you have to be so rough? I’ll sit here, but get on with it already.
Blue Boy – Can we start with the left paw? I like the left paw. Here, take this paw. You’re nice. Can I lick you?
Yellow Girl – So yeah, like I was saying before you interrupted me, that bird had some WINGS man, and he was like, yeah, come and get me, and I was like, YEAH. Game on! Oh, we’re done already? Okay, bye!!!
Brown Boy – Ow! Lady! Stahhhhhpppp. This is torture. We’re not friends anymore. Call my parents, I’m OUTTA HERE.
Road Trip. October 8th. Stella Litter Day 57.
90 min of crate time in a busy vet office.
Smooching with the techs.
More stacking practice.
Orange Girl tonight.
Earning Keep. October 9th. Stella Litter Day 58.
The kids “went to work” today. These are a few shots with their Director after we wrapped the shoot. (No more public info available at this time.)
Our last full day together was incredible.
Tribute to Ziggie. October 10th.
The puppies have flown the coop.
Tonight, we close our string of “daily puppy posts” with a dedication to Ziggie, who was sent over the bridge by his loving parents, Virgil and Kinsey.
Ziggie was one of Friday’s virtual buddies, and we’re all going to miss him. If the newest class of Barrett dogs is given even half as much love and dedication as you gave to Ziggie, they’ll be lucky dogs indeed.
Sending the Wright family our love.