Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update on the babies!

Since taking Venom home and his flying solo, I haven't written about the puppies.  The puppies are doing well.  It has been hot in Dublin and Sue introduced them to a wading pool which they love!  Venom, of course, came home with me. I registered him with the name Dublin's Black Metal at Braveheart.  Sue, kept Dolly (pink collar) and is naming her Dublin's Black Diamond.  She is still picking out a call name but is thinking of Jewel or Karat, I love both!  Sharon took home Daisy (yellow collar) and named her Carrdox Little Black Dress of Dublin and calls her Posh.  I love that!  Rainbow Brite, the smaller of the longhairs is going to her new home after July 1st.  Her call name is Ginger, but I don't know what the registered name will be.  Violet, the other longhair is going to Canada to live with one of Sue's cousins who has been contemplating a second dog for a long time!  That just leaves Bluesy, now Slick, whose registered name is going to be Dublin's Black Ice!  Love it!  Sue is looking for a wonderful show/field home for him, of course he has to be a pet first!  The puppies are awesome and growing up beautifully!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Venom goes solo!

I have really enjoyed blogging about these puppies and will continue to post when things come up about the litter.  I have had so much fun that I decided to continue blogging about Venom, the puppy I took home from the litter.  To follow Venom and his training progress please visit his solo blog at www.teachingvenom.blogspot.com.

Venom is home!

On Saturday, Sharon Carr (Carrdox Dachshunds) who is the breeder of both Neena and the owner and co breeder of Casey came over to look at the puppies and pick hers out!  Yvonne Chohan, my friend and training assistant came over to do some stranger behavior assessments.  It was all very interesting and super fun!

Typically, Sharon and I are very close in our evaluations.  We know what we like and we usually know what one another will like.  That can happen when you breed, show and co own with someone for many years.  This time we had slightly different opinions.

She liked the two smooth girls very much which isn't surprising because they are very similar and both very nice.  In the end, Sue kept the pink girl (because that has always been her favorite) and Sharon took the yellow girl.  Even though Sharon liked Bluesy better in terms of structure, I chose the Green boy.  I chose him for a few reasons.  First, while I really love Bluesy's look, I still really like how Green looks.  He is a bit smaller, but very balanced and well put together.  The truth though is that I chose Green because of his more laid back temperament, his obvious sociability with humans and because he showed slightly more interest in the scent when we laid a tiny rabbit scent track.  So, Green is now Venom and he is home! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Seven weeks old! It's time!

The puppies will be seven weeks old tomorrow.  Deciding when to take a new puppy home or when to let your puppies go can be a difficult decision to make.  The most common age is 8 weeks old, but many people believe that it is actually better to take them home at 7 weeks because they have not yet hit the more fearful age period or waiting until after that more fearful period from about 8 to 10 weeks.  We really don't want any huge, changes happening in their lives during that period, however, that said, I have taken home many puppies at 8 weeks old and they did just fine but it is because I was very thoughtful and careful with the puppies, taking care to make sure that they did not have scary or overwhelming experiences. 

Since the puppies will be 7 weeks tomorrow and because I have the time and experience to carefully work with a young puppy, I will likely bring him home this weekend.  Yikes!  I guess that means I have to decide which puppy I am taking!

I went over today and spent some time with the puppies.  First, me, Sue and Michelle (one of my closest friends and the groomer at the kennel Sue owns) all sat on the patio while the puppies ran around playing.  I watched them and interacted with them.  They are all very outgoing, curious and active.  The biggest difference in their temperaments is that some of them seem to want to be held more than others and seek to be picked up.

We then took them inside and I stacked each puppy individually.  I am impressed with how they did.  I stacked them on a "Staxrite" stand which essentially a tray with two strips of wood so that the puppy can learn to stack.  The actual pieces that the puppy stands on are only about 3 inches off of the ground.  I used soft slices of American cheese so that the puppies were distracted and focused as I stacked them.  They all did really well.  They all stood relaxed with soft wagging tails, eating their cheese. 

Of course, we are getting a male which means that I only really have to concentrate on the two males.  They are very different in structure and temperament.  Emotionally, I am attached to them equally which is good because I am sure that I can make my decision based on the right criteria. 

As I have mentioned before, not one piece of either puppy can account for everything.  Rick really wants to field trial this dog, but when I asked him point blank what he felt was more important, living with him or hunting with him?  He said without question that because he would only be field trialing with him a few weekends a year, it was more important that he enjoy living with him.  I have been eye balling the puppy that is the most active, persistent, busy and independent, which I would like in a field dog, however, those qualities may not be what we want to live with.  In addition to the field trials, I plan to compete with the puppy in conformation, so I obviously want to show the puppy with the most show potential, but I am not willing to compromise on the best temperament for our lifestyle and home.  Rick absolutely refuses to choose the puppy and has told me that he wants me to pick. 

I have been going back and forth for weeks and now the time has come.  In a few days, I will make my choice.  Sharon is coming this weekend and will look at the puppies and be able to give me her input but I think at this point I am pretty sure what I am going to do. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

6 weeks tomorrow

The puppies will be 6 weeks tomorrow!  How time flies!  I went over today and spent some time with them.  I did a few scent activities with them today.  First, I added a lot more rabbit scent to my spray bottle and heavily scented their rabbit pelt.  Then, I pulled the pelt around for them to chase.  Bluesy (blue yarn), Green Bean green yarn) and Daisy (yellow yarn) showed the most interest in the pelt, although they all messed with it from time to time.  Daisy carried it around for a long time and showed a huge amount of interest in it.  Bluesy and Green Bean also tugged on it alot with each other and with Daisy, as a trio.

Next, I took three small tennis balls and scented one (the orange one) with rabbit scent.  There was definitely more interest in the scented one.  A few of them even carried it around.  Bluesy was very interested in that one ball and even took it into one of the beds.  Bluesy and Violet are shown carrying it around.

I took some head shots of everyone today too.
Dolly (pink):

Green Bean (green):

Bluesy (blue):

Rainbow Brite (multi):
 Violet (purple):

 Daisy (yellow):

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Choosing Venom

We are now just a couple of weeks away from bringing home our new puppy, whose name will be Venom.  As I have mentioned in this blog, this puppy is a great great grandson to my old dog Ivy who will turn 14 years old next month.  We are very excited about this puppy as it is the first standard smooth puppy we have had in about 8 years.

We have a lot in store for Venom.  The plan is that he is going to be Rick's new field trial dog which is why we are doing so much early scentwork with this litter.  But, we have other plans for him as well.  I am going to show him in the breed ring and plan to finish a championship on him.  I will also probably do K9 Nosework (scent detection dog sport) with him.  On top of all that, he will be living in our house with 9 other dogs.  So, there is a lot we need to look at here.

Temperament to me is the number one priority.  I want a pretty dog and I want a dog that can hunt, but most of all I want to live with a nice dog.  To be honest, I will take emotionally stable over "pretty" any day.  I feel strongly about this and frustrated because I feel that a lot of breeders put structural conformation over temperament a lot.  I see it all the time, dogs that are placed or kept as show dogs because they look nice but have unstable temperaments.  I am not saying that these dogs can't become great companions only that they shouldn't be put into the show ring and used in our breeding programs.

So, in a few weeks I will have to decide which puppy will be coming home with us.  I am pretty sure I have made up my mind, but I am staying open.  Generally, I would pick the best structured puppy for the show ring.  This time, I will choose the puppy that will make the best pet and field dog for us.  I am 100% willing to compromise on conformation in order to get the right temperament for what we plan to do with him.  Both of the males are very nice and I am sure both will finish easily, but they are slightly different in type and I may end up taking the one that is less the type I prefer in order to get the right companion for us and to ensure that both puppies end up in the best homes for them.  I think it important to keep in mind that both of these puppies have a right to go into the homes that are best matched for them and who they are and what they will be best at whether that is competing in the field with us or going to soccer games with some great family.  This piece is huge and it matters greatly to us and to Sue.

I am excited for the day to come when we bring Venom home and I can't believe it's only a couple of weeks away.

A discussion about fear/confidence

Last week after having the puppies out to the training yard and having a lot of new things for them to explore and investigate I blogged about it and how surprised I was about their level of confidence.  Sara Watson, a good friend of mine, fellow dog trainer and Basset Hound breeder commented that she thought it was completely normal for them to be this confident at 5 weeks.  She was confused by my (and Sharon and Sue's) surprise about this.  Which of course got us talking about this in depth (which is happens when you get two dog trainer/behavior consultant/dog breeder geeks talking about the behavior of 5 week old puppies).

I felt sure that these puppies were more confident than other puppies at this age.  Then Sara asked, "Are you sure you aren't thinking of them at 8 weeks?".  Well, I was sure, but now, not so much.  The truth is, I can't say for sure.  At first I thought I had not done this type of work with them before, but then I distinctly remember taking one of Ivy's litters outside (which are now 9 and 11 years old) and putting long boxes for them to run through as well as other items for them to investigate.  Come to think of it, I don't remember them being afraid either.  So, maybe all of our past litters were this confident and I forgot? 

Sue, Sharon and I discussed it and what we expected to see was the puppies huddle together for a few minutes, looking at things, soaking up the environment, then begin to spread out and check everything out.  This is very different from what they did which was scatter and immediately start running to everyone and everything.  It wasn't like we thought they would be afraid or anything, just that they would need a moment to soak it in, but they didn't. 

Sara thinks that we just forgot the age and it may have been closer to 8 weeks in the past when the puppies would likely be more cautious.  She could be right, I'm not sure now.  All I am sure about is that I am really happy with how these puppies are coming along.  This conversation has pushed me to pull out all my puppy raising books and go over all the information on developmental periods so that the information is fresh in my mind.  It has also convinced me how important it is to take notes and keep records of all of this stuff so that the next time, I won't be back here wondering when everything happened.