Puppies are now well into their 9th week and becoming super fun little dogs. Changing dramatically, almost daily, they are growing by leaps and bounds. But what is most striking is how their personalities are really coming on so clearly now that their confidence and coordination has developed.
Given the amount of individual attention they need at this age, puppies are becoming more and more work. Nevertheless, I am glad I have held onto them this long. I now have no doubt what kind of homes each one needs and will flourish in, and feel confident in my placement recommendations.
Also, the 8-week “fear period” doesn’t necessarily happen right at 8 weeks. Puppies don’t read books, and decide on their own when they are going to work through their fear development stage. While Lark seemed to have gone through hers at 7 weeks and is now a much more confident and outgoing puppy than I had predicted, Wren is going through hers at 9.5 weeks. Much better now and here than in a new environment where everything would be much more scary and potentially damaging.
The day before they hit their 9th week birthday, Kes decided she was done with nursing. She cut them off quite unceremoniously, and that was that! She is still happy to see them and will play gently with them, but otherwise is done with raising pups.
Now that Kes has left her kids behind and returned to the workforce, Aunt Holly has taken over as lead role model for the new generation. And what a great little role model she is! I am over-the-moon thrilled with my wee Kelpie, the only one of my adult dogs who is both trustworthy around the pups, and seems to enjoy them.
Another big change this week is that Cooper, now Snap, has gone to his new home. Reports are that he is getting long famously, learning lots of new things, sleeping through the night, and bonding with his curly haired new big brother!
I am doing my best to spend individual time with each remaining pup, playing, cuddling, and training (through more playing). This week’s big focus is crate training, which I keep promising I will write more about separately (and I will!). Pups are now all spending several hours each afternoon in their individual crates, and last night I had one sleep overnight in my bedroom. Not a peep! Dare I crate them all tonight? Hmm….
We’re also working on basic shaping, tug, retrieve, impulse control, and leash training. Busy? You bet I am! I am following Susan Garrett’s Puppy Peaks program for training, which she has set up as a series of 3-5 minute sessions. However, with each session you need to get organized, potty the puppy, do some relationship building, and then put the puppy away. So a 5 minute session really takes about 10-15. Times that by four! Ideally two or three times a day.
People ask me how I will ever be able to let them go. This is how! As long as I am confident that they are going to the right homes, I will say goodbye to them with ease and joy. Plus I am wanting to spend more time with the one I have chosen to keep. Who is that you ask? Let’s see if you can guess…
Week 9 Puppy Round-Up (in order of birth)
Mr. Griff continues to steal my heart. Good natured, laid back, confident as all get-go, and with a great sense of humour, this is quite the pup. No longer the excessively busy boy he used to be, Griff loves to chew everything and anything, carry toys around in his mouth, and latch himself permanently onto my ankle while walking (I now wear rubber boots on walks, and always carry a tug toy to redirect him).
Griffie is going to need someone with strong positive reinforcement-based skills to bring out the best in him. He is a pup who is happy to self-reinforce. Training him is super fun but also filled with lots of DWDH moments (don’t wanna! don’t hafta!). Fortunately he loves his toys just about as much as he loves food, so there is plenty to work with to motivate him. Keep control of the resources, and you will have this boy’s full devotion.
Built more for work than acrobatics, his ideal home will use him for stock work, tracking and scent detection, obedience or Rally-O, canine freestyle, and maybe something like sledding (just found out about that!). Four feet on the floor for him, and moving more in straight lines than tight turns. He will have lots of power and speed but twisting and turning won’t be his forte.
I can sum up this pup in one word: Wow! Love this girl. With near show quality structure (note – this matters to me from the perspective of physical capabilities, not looks!) and soft, quiet confidence, I have admired this pup for some time. Ever since she sat thoughtfully for a full 30 seconds, then dove forward to give me a solid, undoubting hand touch at 4 weeks of age, I have been keeping my eye on this girl.
I can’t quite put into words what makes this girl so unique. She’s just really neat. Nothing phases her but, unlike bold-as-brass Griffon, she’s quiet and unassuming about it. I initially thought she was timid or had low energy, a bit of a wallflower perhaps. But in fact she is just watching quietly from the sidelines, taking everything in, evaluating, and acting only if and when she concludes it is necessary.
Ravey has Griff’s confidence but is more handler centric. She’s whip smart with plenty of food and toy drive, with a great off switch, and moderate energy. Rave will be easy to train and is built to do anything. She will need work on touch sensitivity, for example clipping her nails or wearing a collar are both things she clearly dislikes.
A serious, independent girl, Rave will make a no-nonesense worker, and also a terrific little agility dog. Slightly smaller than the other girls, she likely will excel at tricks and disk as well. I don’t think there’s much this pup won’t be able to do.
Always the sweetheart of the litter, this little girl continues to bloom. A shy and tentative pup at 7 weeks, she is now confidently exploring the farm and leading the rest into all manner of trouble. With her intense eye contact and strong desire to please, Lark has wormed her way quite deeply into my heart and has won my admiration.
Lark has also been the one to show the most interest in stock, and actually follows my poultry around with curiosity. She is always the to first to offer a sit for anything, and never makes a peep in her crate. Obedient, thoughtful, and reliable, with plenty of energy, food, and toy drive, this pup will be make training a snap. Not as inherently operant as her sisters, her learning would benefit from shaping games like 101 things to do with a box.
Like Griff, Lark is built more for keeping all four on the floor and going straight rather than turning. I expect her forté to be stock work, although she is somewhat lighter boned than her big brother and should still do well at agility for fun or moderate-level competition. Other potential careers for Lark: obedience and Rally-O, scent work, canine freestyle, and perhaps Service work. There is something really special about this girl’s gentle determination to love and be good.
Goofy like Griff, sweet like Lark, and wiggly like no other, Wren is quite the going concern. Fast and furious with tons of drive, operant, and handler focused, this pup is FUN personified. She is most like her mother in personality and frenetic energy. The quintessential high drive BC, she’s the pup everyone *thinks* they want. In the right hands she will go far! But this is not the dog for the novice handler.
Wren is a busy girl, but her energy is not over the top. After a good romp she will sleep like the rest of them. Her energy is simply more frenetic. “Bean” is motion sensitive and quick. She will likely be the most challenging of the pups to train, mostly because she is easily stimulated over threshold and then has trouble keeping her mind on what’s being asked. This is very much like her mother!
A handler-soft personality, Wren will need an +r approach to keep her confidence up. This may be a challenge for some, given that she is part shark! Lots of impulse control games and tons of shaping for confidence should smooth the rough edges on this little gem. Her desire to please, oodles of drive, and outstanding structure will lead this girl to stand out from the crowd in agility. I expect she’ll make a mighty fine stock dog as well, although she may be a challenge to get up and running (again, like her mother). Tricks and disk are two other careers she likely will excel in.