September 22, 2008

Another puppy visit

I feel so fortunate to be close enough to go see the pups as they mature. Yesterday's visit was lots of fun! I took two toys with me, a braided length of fleece and a stuffed "bite meez" dog head shaped hand puppet (pictured below) meant for dogs and pups to bite. The whole group loved both! The breeder got some photos of them playing with the toys so hopefully they will be up on her site soon. At one point, all but one puppy was tugging on the long braided fleece. The pup not on the fleece was busy with a nature call. :-)
When I got home, myself and the toy were closely inspected by the dogs. :-) I left the green braid there for the pups. Surprizingly the first toy I got the pups is still intact! It's a really soft stuffed toy so I didn't expect it to last very long, but it's held up surprizingly well. Before the pups played with it, the toy below WAS white :-)

It is very clear the breeder has been doing a lot of work with these pups. They are not the frantic biting machines I expected. They are level-headed pups that play nicely with each other and with people. They do still put teeth on skin, but don't bite down nearly as hard as they do on the toys. I could really feel some incredibly strong grips through the bite meez puppet! I'm very thankful they didn't do THAT on my bare skin!

Smokey even did a really nice come/sit/front (twice) when he came running over to get attention! They have plenty of energy and clearly love to play, but they aren't "over the top" excited and out of control which is fantastic! They also don't bark at every moment. They do bark at each other during play, but they aren't running around barking for no reason which is also a great thing! When they are handled, it's clear they are completely comfortable with it and relaxed. The mouths are going and trying to hold with their teeth, but it's not hard bites and they are easily disengaged. Most were happy to be held and stroked without biting too- at least for a few minutes till something caught their eye and they had to go check it out.

However, when they are latched onto a toy, they are happy to hold on regardless of what is going on around them, during petting and light taps on their sides and the rough and tumble of the other puppies trying to latch on. Some are a bit softer on this than others though and the breeder is great about building their confidence without overwhelming them.

At the end of the play session, the pups were back in their pen and watching us quietly as we cleaned up all the toys and tossed them back into their pen through the open roof. They had no adverse reaction to the toys flying in over head and the last one, a piece of hose that hit the siding and made a loud bang, brought NO reaction, they just kept watching us. They have been through several storms, and lots of various noises so they shouldn't have any issues with noises.

The breeder has also been working on their crate training, teaching them to be quiet when left in the crate. This will be really great not to have this be an additional stressor for the pup once it gets removed from his littermates and the only home he has known so far. I did get a "snuggle puppy" for him to help him love his crate and hopefully be able to sleep most of the night. The snuggle puppy has an electronic "heartbeat" sound and has a warming pad in it to provide a soft fuzzy warm surface the pup can cuddle with that sounds like another pup.

The breeder said the pups get their second shots Wednesday morning and on Thursday I'll hopefully be allowed to provide an extra set of hands and eyes to help her take them on a road trip to various stores for socialization and exploring. I'm really looking forward to that! They will be 8 weeks old that day.

They are quite a handful now and VERY active in their exploring. They love to play in the holes in the ground, curling up in there, playing stalk and pounce in and out of them and sometimes they are tripping hazards if the pup isn't watching where it's going. But they tumble and flop as though they "meant to do that." :-)

I can't wait to hear which boy I get. I'm really hoping it's Stumpy, but as I've said before I like them all. Smokey seems the most cautious and reserved, but it's not bad, just in comparison to the VERY outgoing and social Stumpy. Moose falls inbetween them on his level of social-ness and boldness based on the few hours I have seen them. I'm sure the breeder has a much clearer picture of their temperments and personalities. She said she won't make a decision till after 8 weeks old. She can't even decide on which girls she is keeping for herself!

More soon!