Monday, June 15, 2009

Days 50-61

At 7 weeks old, we did the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test with the pups. All were fairly calm and unflustered by clanging pans, opening umbrellas and hanging in the air. They were social and didn't mind being dominated by the volunteer handler doing the test steps. They probably wondered what the silly people were doing with all these exercises!

Clicker training continued, repeating the commands of come (paired with the pup's name), sit, down and touch. We've started them on holding a spoon in their mouths, to get them used to metal (which some pups do not like) and as a precursor to "get it". We also started brushing their teeth with a finger brush and chicken flavor toothpaste. Good taste, but with a strange motion!

Roadtrips continued. One was just a ride through a thunderstorm, which mostly induced sleepiness! More exciting was the trip to an agility training course. They went in pairs to explore the tunnel, try out jumps, see if they could make it through the tire ring, walk through the weave poles, and check their sea legs on the seesaw. Part of the time they ran free, so we tried out some long distance "come" exercises, which they approached with glee!

Dealing with dominance

Clanging metal pans

Relaxed while hanging

Curious about towel dragged across the room

Checking out the umbrella

Putting mouth on spoon

Brushing teeth

Visit to the agility course

We love this place!

Watch me go!

Running the tunnel

Trying out the jumps

Trying out the tire ring

This thing moves!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Days 43-49

We continued clicker training, adding "down" this week. We are starting the concept of "wait" at the kennel gate, but that's a hard one for youngsters!

We spent some time meeting new dogs, and visiting through the fence with some older pups. So many folks to meet and greet!

Every week includes grooming and nail trims, but this week was our first official bath! It was a great opportunity to check out the mirror and try to figure out who that pup is looking back at me!

It was also our first week for a roadtrip in the car. We rode about 20 minutes to a local park, driving with the windows down to gather in smells and sounds of traffic. There were lots of new experiences, like the sounds of motorcycles, a lawn mower and an ambulance siren. We found a patch of shade on some freshly mown grass. The aroma got the pups feeling frisky, checking it out, and then wrestling with glee. We had a snack and then of course a few bites of the green grass. Everyone napped hard on the way home- not a peep!

Days 36-42

The pups weighed in today at 8 to 8.5 pounds each. They are growing fast now that they are completely weaned. And once they learned to chew, they discovered that trainers have cool treats!

We are working on some basic civilization skills, like potty training with pee pads and using the doggy door to go outside. We curb play-biting and barking with gentle reprimands, tapping them on the nose. Part of their play area includes a wire crate for familiarization before we crate train for overnight potty training.

We played the "come game" this week, calling each pup between two people to teach them their names. "Perry, come" is shown in the photos, going both directions. All now respond and recognize their name when called.

Clicker training is underway, both on an individual basis, and in groups to work on focusing through distraction. They are working on "sit" using the command rather than a lure. Without using the command yet, they are also working on "watch me."

We still spend plenty of time sitting with them for socialization. And playtime now includes toys that move, like the crazy battery-operated bumble ball that bounces around erratically. They are working on being calm, brave, and interested around something unpredictable!

Days 26-35

We continue to introduce new experiences daily. They have now ventured to pens outside, and are discovering that there are other big dogs beside Mama! Our Aunt Dog Phinley has lounged and played with the pups, giving their Mom a rest. Also, since they are actively weaning, a break from Mom encourages the pups to eat from the weaning bowl rather than chase after Mom for milk.

In the outside pens, they have been playing in water to cool off from our temps in the 80s and 90s. They also discovered some of the bigger pups in the neighboring pen, and got brave enough to visit through the chain link.

Some students from a class we teach at a local middle school visited, and we sat one of the teen boys right in the middle of the pups. The smell of testosterone is an important desensitization exposure. Other boys, who were shy about being "stinky", contributed shirts and t-shirts they'd worn so that the smell exposure was repeated several times.

We continue to turn the pups on their backs to be comfortable in that vulnerable position. We clipped nails, and used a brush to familiarize them with the sensations of grooming. Clicker training began, as we encouraged a "sit" with peanut butter on the trainer's finger ( an easy treat while before they learn to chew).