Time to kick it into HIGH GEAR. The next couple of weeks is going to be REALLY INTENSE for me. A short list of things to work on: crate training every individual puppy, alone training every individual puppy, exposing them to new places and faces, getting them used to being put on a leash, getting them used to following people, getting them used to the car… all that in between trying to figure out which puppy goes where.
Crate training. A second crate was added to the puppy pen this week, so I could separate the puppies into two piles. Four in one, five in the other. At night, they all get locked up. Around 2:00-3:00 AM every morning, either the husband or I get up once to let them all out to potty. The rule is that after potty time, everyone has to go back to bed. It’s not playtime. Note: Your puppy may or not be able to sleep through the night without having to wake up to go potty. Start thinking about who gets the fun job of waking up with the puppy in the middle of the night!
Sleeping alone. It looks like different puppies will be going home on different days. While that blows out the “pickup party” idea, it gives me a chance to really prepare the ones that are leaving. Three days before each puppy is scheduled to leave the house, I’ll single out that puppy to make it sleep by itself in a crate overnight, so that by the time it gets home to you, it won’t be in a new home AND sleeping by itself for the first time. I’m hoping this will help your pup with the transition into your house.
Food/eating. Right now, everyone’s eating together, three times a day. Each meal consists of three cups of Wellness, two cups of the Honest Kitchen, and five cups of water. I’m hoping to cut them down to two times a day next week, but we’ll see.
Puppy stacking. About every other day (or whenever I can fit it into my schedule), I’m stacking up the puppies to take a look at their structure. Without getting into too many details, I have my favorites. They also change everyday. LOL. Since some of these little guys will be going into the show ring when they’re older, I’m also doing this to get them used to the idea of standing still, standing tall, and taking bait.
Puppy movement. For me, how a puppy moves is just as important as how a puppy looks. After they’ve been stacked up for the day, I follow them around the yard to see how they move. This isn’t a pass or fail, no right or wrong. A lot of personal preference. I THINK I know who my favorite movers are.
Temperament testing. I haven’t formally temperament tested the puppies (that’s scheduled for the morning of June 8th), but I HAVE been watching them on a one-by-one basis to see how naturally curious or fearful they are, how sensitive they are to new things, sudden movements, loud crashes, etc. The decision about who goes where will be largely determined by temperament.
Exposure. I believe it’s important to get puppies out of the house and exposed to new environments. (Antibodies from their mother should protect them from germs, but I do make a conscious effort to take them to “clean” places.) As of this writing, six of the nine puppies have been off the property. Lilac, Absinthe, and Pinky accompanied me to Uncle Jerry’s house one evening; we all hung out on his lawn and had a good time. A few days later, I brought back Mardi Gras, Caribbean, and Mimosa.
Pet insurance. I received a question about pet insurance this week. My recommendation: If you only have one dog, it’s probably better to save your dollars and “pay as you go.” Under normal conditions, your puppy/dog won’t get banged up enough to justify the monthly premiums. However, if you have multiple dogs, it’s not a bad idea. I believe the primary local carrier is VPI; check their coverage before you commit.
May 29th – Playtime in the garden. At home one afternoon, I pulled out the Canon and captured a few shots of the puppies around the yard. Here are a few of those photos:
Other miscellaneous puppy photos from the iPhone:
Triangle formation – Puppies napping in their pen.
Everybody potties in the greens. EVERYBODY. No accidents in the house… yet!
Sleeping in the crate with the door open.
Sharp teeth. Remind me to talk about bite inhibition in the future, if I forget.
It’s getting pretty hard to walk in the backyard… I have to tiptoe around THESE little guys!!!
Puppies helping the husband with yard work.
Pinky, Lilac and Absinthe… first car ride to an off-site property!
Pinky, channeling her cover girl mamma Friday.
Every now and again, Friday still lets her babies snack on her.
Another puppy pinwheel.
Odd man out.
Another car ride… this time with Mardi Gras, Caribbean, and Mimosa (hiding from this picture).
This weekend, we’ll be conducting a formal temperament evaluation and taking one final look at the puppies. An announcement as to who everyone is getting should go out via email by Wednesday, June 11th.
Until next week!