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. 

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