Ruby's pups spent a day together at Carmel beach yesterday before saying goodbye to brother "Tak." Sharon, Tak's new mom, flew into San Jose on Monday evening and had a "red eye" back east on Tuesday night. That left us with a whole day to have some fun with the pups. The weather had been quite cold these past few days, but we had an absolutely beautiful day in Carmel yesterday with the temperature topping out at about 60 degrees F. Tonya brought Lego, and Ruby had her first taste of "freedom" since having the litter in October -- boy did she run!!! Both Lego & Ruby enjoyed splashing in the waves and playing frisbee.
Carmel is a very dog friendly beach and the pups met a number of other dogs that were out walking with their families. There was one particularly pudgy pug that really loved the pups and found them very curious. Of course, where there are cute puppies, people gather around, so the pups met a lot of new people, too. Big dogs, small dogs, big people, small people ....all very friendly, and the pups socialized like little champs. After about an hour or so, we returned to the car and loaded up. The pups were so tired, they immediately went to sleep.
While the pups were sleeping, we had a very lovely and leisurely luncheon at Casanova's -- wild Pacific salmon dish that was to die for. From there, we toured 17-mile drive and headed back to San Jose so Sharon might have a few hours to nap before her red eye flight.
I took the pups back home for baths and final preparations for Tak leaving. The pups all had a bath and quite a rigorous playtime before calming down to sleep. I spent some quiet time with Tak and then Lance, Ruby, Tak and I headed to the hotel to pick up Sharon. Ruby said goodbye in the car, and I walked into the airport lobby to help Sharon while she checked her bag. I gave Tak a kiss and told him to be a good boy -- my last vision was watching Sharon and Tak disappear up the escalator towards security and their gate.
The dynamics of the three pups left at home now is "quiet." No one pup has emerged as dominant yet. Perhaps they have noticed that their siblings are beginning to disappear and they are worried so they are on their best behavior...
Wow, a lot has happened this past week. First, our pack is one less -- Flora's Winnemucca Nevada has moved to Iowa with her forever family. She is now called "Trudy." Trudy's family flew into San Jose last Saturday and flew back to Iowa on Sunday morning with Trudy packed into a Sherpa bag. According to her now mom, BeBe, she was a great little traveler. Trudy's new home is a 40 acre farm!!! She's a real Farmdog! Trudy has a Golden Retriever, Fancy, who is her new best friend. She also has a cat, Rusty, that she has been trying to herd in a most respectful manner. She has not yet been one-on-one with the Terv, Devon -- slow introduction seems prudent. Moving from sunny California, Trudy has now been introduced to snow and ice.....brrrrrrr.....Travelin' Trudy is a real trooper and is settling in nicely. I believe the Mabry family now understands what those of us who have Farmdogs already know -- this is an awesome little breed!
Below are a few videos before Trudy left. These are the last of the "whole pack" videos.
Also, before Trudy left, we took her to our Annual Pawdemonium Holiday Party for socialization with fellow team members and their children. Below are a few photos from the party.
After the party, we delivered Trudy to the Mabry Family at their hotel. Ruby went in with us to say goodbye. Below are a few shots from earlier in the day before we left to meet the Mabry's and attend the holiday party. There are also a few shots at the hotel as Trudy settles in.
When we arrived home that evening with a pack of four instead of five, it took some time for the pups to settle down. They had to figure out the new order now that one was gone. Winne (Trudy) and Satch (Tak) have both been vying for the "alpha" position in the puppy pack. With Trudy now gone, Tak has firmly established himself as in charge, and he has settled into a position where he is confident of his status. The past few days, a new "sweetness" has emerged from Tak. Yes, he is still full of himself," but there's a really sweet side to him as well. It is interesting how the pack dynamics change as each pup leaves. The litter is full of confident pups that have had a lot of socialization and no bad experiences in their lives. These pups have delightful temperaments. Ruby continues to play with them and teach them valuable lessons.
For the next few days over Christmas, we have my daughter's Farmdog visiting -- Milly. I will work on getting some more photos and video to capture these interactions. Milly is only 19 months old and still quite the puppy herself. Whenever she visits, she tries to challenge Ruby for her position. It's a love/hate relationship. On one hand, Milly & Ruby love to play together. On the onther hand, Milly is continually looking for "one step up" on the pack ladder. In her home, as an only dog, she is on top. In our home when she visits, she is #4. It usually takes a day or two for her to accept that. Echo has taken quite a fancy to Milly, and was the first pup to really engage her. However, it didn't take long for the whole pack of pups to initiate play with her.
The pups had a "house call" last evening from my friends, Cherese, a veterinary technician, and Diane, a veterinarian, for health checks and first vaccinations. I set up my show table, and voila! -- a mini vet clinic. The good news is that ALL pups checked out just fine! All pups are sound.
Eyes, ears, mouths -- NO issues.
Males -- ALL have two testicles already descended.
Heart -- NO MURMURS.
Patellas -- ALL NORMAL, NO LUXATION from trochlear groove.
DPV Vaccine -- NO REACTIONS.
Weights at 9 weeks, 1 day (pounds):
Echo -- 5.6
Winne -- 6.0
Minne -- 5.0
Wasatch -- 6.6
Tahoe -- 6.0
Pups did not even know they received a vaccination, as I fed them small pieces of shaved cheese for them to gnaw at while Cherese prepped the vaccine and Diane injected. Then Cherese and I weighed each pup, again using "cheese" to keep them still on the scale. Their first vet experience was very positive. After health checks, we all sat around and played with puppies. THANK YOU CHERESE AND DIANE!!!
Later this afternoon, they will get another worming and nail trim (when they are sleeping). The first pup leaves tomorrow -- one of the girls. I hope to get some video later today of all the pups playing together. Tonya is coming over this afternoon for photos, too.
Pups turned 8 weeks old on Wednesday evening. Below are a couple of videos...enjoy!
I was going through my files the other evening, and ran across the file containing all my communications with Flora's breeder, Lisbeth Staunsholt-Nilsson of Kennel Agerhoenen. In Denmark, Lisbeth was the breed representative, and she was instrumental in the breed gaining official recognition in Scandinavia. In 1998, when I imported Flora, most of our communication was via letters and faxes, not e-mail. I have a whole file full of Lisbeth's Farmdog wisdom that I was happy to re-discover in my file cabinet. Anyway, one communication I wish to share with my puppy buyers is Lisbeth's "Dear Puppy Buyer" letter. The original was faxed to me and at the time we had the roll type paper fax machine. This type of paper is not very durable, and ink fades more easily, however, I was able to scan it and adjust it so it can be read. I thought about re-typing it myself, but then it would lose something. I hope you enjoy reading Lisbeth's letter and that you glean some of her wisdom from it.
For anyone who has attended a Pat Hastings seminar on evaluating the structural integrity of puppies, you know that any puppy Pat considers structurally incapable of doing the job for which the breed was intended is deemed "pet quality." For puppies deemed structurally sound in all aspects important for utility, Pat ranks them as "show/breeding quality" in accordance with a point system she has developed. Typically, a litter that Pat assesses has a split of 50:50 pet quality to show/breeding quality -- this is the NORM. You can imagine my reaction when Pat announced to me that this litter contained NO PET QUALITY puppies!!! I actually asked her to repeat what she said because I wanted to be sure I had heard her correctly. What this means, is that every puppy in this litter is structurally sound to do the job for which it was intended. The Frisco/Ruby pairing produced 5 of 5 durable dogs! The overall score range for the entire litter, males and females, was narrow 15.5 to 18, which according to Pat's scoring system, places the entire litter at "above show/breeding quality average."
Kennel Flora initiated Pat Hastings evaluations in 2010. A few years prior to that I evaluated my own pups according to Pat's "Puppy Puzzle." A few years prior to that, I sent photos to breeders I knew in Denmark for their opinions. I have learned that to get an unbiased structural evaluation it is important that a breeder NOT evaluate their own puppies.
My 2010 litter from Target/Dottie evaluated by Pat also had NO PET QUALITY puppies. This makes two litters of structurally sound pups from two different breeding pairs. I am highly encouraged that I am on the right track regarding structural aspects in my breeding program.
The males are ranked below in order. (1) Wasatch; (2) Echo; (3) Tahoe
Wasatch and Echo have beautifully laid back shoulders which are important to keep in the breeding program. Tahoe has slightly straighter shoulders. Straight shoulders appear to be common in this breed in the USA. This may be because it is more difficult to look at shoulders and front assembly and some breeders may not recognize it.
Wasatch has the correct proportions according to the breed standard. He is more rectangular than either Echo or Tahoe, who are slightly more square. It is important not to get too square by shortening the loin. The loin determines the flexibility of the dog to turn around in tight areas.
Wasatch has the best rear angulations, followed by Echo and Tahoe, who are slightly straighter.
Wasatch and Echo have more pro-sternum than Tahoe. Wasatch has the best topline whereas both Echo and Tahoe have very slightly sloping croup. There are no umbilical hernias, no herring guts, no slipped hocks. All 3 males have two testicles already descended.
All three males have good drive, but no one is "over the top crazy" driven. Wasatch has a more "non-responsive" temperament and will need a dog savvy home or he will be the one doing the training of the humans. Wasatch definitely needs a job with an "alpha human" to train him (This is Pat's favorite type of temperament -- the challenging one). Tahoe and Echo have temperaments which lend themselves to easier training and both may be good for both dog sports and therapy dogs.
From my perspective as a breeder, the boys have breed typical heads with good ear sets, Satch being the most triangular in proportion. All three boys have good scissors bites and the correct number of teeth. Molars are meshing properly.
The girls were rated equally by Pat -- Winne = Minne. Both girls are slightly straight front and rear, and proportions are slightly square. Winne has more pro-sternum than Minne. Winne has a slight ewe neck. Winne has a "busy" temperament (always looking for the next thing to do), while Minne is slightly more cautious. Both females were responsive and should be easily trained. There are no umbilical hernias, no herring guts, no slipped hocks. Both girls have good scissors bites and the correct number of teeth. Molars are meshing properly.
From my perspective as a breeder, the girls have breed typical heads, both girls equally triangular with good ear sets. Winne has slightly smaller ears than Minne.
All in all, I could not be happier with an evaluation. Those of you who know Pat, or who have attended a seminar of hers, will understand the elation I feel over this litter. Pat does not mince words and calls it like she sees it. Pat has evaluated over 30,000 puppies in her career, and validated a large number of her puppy assessments through data collection on puppies and the adults they grew up to be.
Allison had the opportunity to re-evaluate this litter tonight. She did a great job identifying much of what Pat saw. Both Allison and I are working hard to learn and implement Pat's techniques in litter evaluations to help each other with our respective breeding programs, and to ensure that US-born Farmdogs are healthy, structurally sound and able to continue to do the jobs for which the breed was intended.
Wow, it's hard to believe it's been a week since my last post. I imagine there are a few blog followers out there who have been anxious to see more puppy video. Sorry for the delay, but I haven't had much time to process videos due to my work schedule, and when I get home, there are puppies to attend -- and they require and demand A LOT of attention these days. So, instead of sitting at my computer, I've been sitting amidst a pack of puppies, enjoying my time with them and working with them on bite inhibition -- because they want to bite and chew everything!
My blog will take on a different focus over the next weeks, that of informing my puppy buyers about what to expect as they bring their new Farmdog puppy home. I've often described a Farmdog as a "big dog in a small package," and I still believe this to be true. These pups have an attitude bigger than they actually are. They want to do what the "big dogs" are doing, and they are fearless. Therefore, it is up to the human "big dogs" to always pay special attention to these small precious puppy packages.
While it is true in most aspects, puppies are puppies, Farmdog puppies may exhibit "more amplified" puppy behavior that their new families need to be AWARE of and ATTENTIVE to. Farmdog puppies are very impulsive and this may put them in harm's way. It is up to the human to protect them from themselves during these learning days ahead. With that in mind, I will start my blog with "Kitchen Lessons."
The pups are allowed the run of the kitchen when there is a human present. My husband and I slowly and carefully shuffle around the kitchen as we go about normal routines (cooking, cleaning, opening cabinets, drawers, the fridge, dishwasher), as the puppies are always underfoot. We shuffle our feet instead of lifting them to take steps. This gently helps the pups learn they need to steer clear of human feet. For the most part, the "puppy shuffle" works, however, occasionally, one gets "shuffled upon" enough to send them squealing to the corner where they try to understand what happened, but not enough to injure a pup. They are curious and want to observe and be part of everything we do. Farmdogs are very human-bonded, in my experience, more so than other breeds I have had in my lifetime.
We put our puppy x-pen up in the dining area of the kitchen for a number of reasons -- not only because, at present, it is the only area we have available. The kitchen is the hub of the home. It's the warmest room in our home, and the human spends much time there. There are many interesting smells, and strange sounds which emanate from the kitchen. From our kitchen, the pups can hear me vacuuming in the next room, or using the washing machine in the garage -- all normal day to day activities.
One cannot be in a rush or in a state of mind where they are not paying attention around a small puppy -- think of it as having a brand new baby. As I shuffle around amidst these pups in our kitchen, they are always underfoot and in everything -- they are curious and fearless. As I open the fridge, there are at least 2 or 3 pups poking their heads in. It is the same for every cabinet or drawer that I open. I must ALWAYS REMEMBER to be aware of EVERY DOOR I open and close, because it is 100% certain, there is a puppy in a precarious position that if I were to shut that door with any force whatsoever, I would injure a puppy.
Everything I do in the kitchen is SLOW and DELIBERATE. When I open the fridge, I always look down to see which puppy is there before closing it -- there is ALWAYS at least one puppy there. Then, I close it slowly allowing the pup to understand that it is closing and they must get out of the way. The same with the dishwasher. Everything is slow and deliberate with the intent of training the pup to get out of the way without the pup experiencing an injury. When I sweep the room, the pups think that this is the absolute best game. They love to chase the broom. I sweep gently, allowing an occasional gentle "knock" of the broom to teach them to stay out of the way. If I were to sweep briskly, as one normally does, I could seriously injure a pup. So I guess my bottom line message in all this is that you MUST ALWAYS BE AWARE of the dangers in your home environment and in your everyday activities and adapt them to safely teach your puppy to avoid these hazards in your home. So, think about the hazards in your home, and how you will adapt as you bring in your new puppy.
My husband and I work very hard to ensure pups raised in our home are introduced to normal human activity and that they do not have bad experiences which may cause fear imprinting. There is much for a small pup to learn.
Enough "Kitchen Lessons" for today. Below are a few videos for you to enjoy. BTW -- the pups have now been outside in our side yard, however, I do not have video yet. Perhaps later today or tomorrow.
The only Black Friday I'll be seeing today are the color patches on the coats of this wild litter of puppies! No need to go out shopping to be mobbed by a million people when I can get mobbed by possessed puppies!!!
The pups have had a number of visitors these past few days, including five new adults, a 10-year old girl, and three more Farmdogs, my daughter's female, Milly, Deb's boy, Han Solo, and Tonya's boy, Lego. All the pups handled the newcomers just fine with no fearfulness -- immediate acceptance and willingness to play -- especially with the humans. More human socialization to come before the weekend is over.
On Wednesday evening, Tonya came over for a photo shoot, and Tim, one of our Pawdemonium Flyball Family members came over to help -- TOTAL CHAOS!!! Puppies everywhere! There was no way we were going to be able to get a group shot of these pups sitting still.....little hellions! Anyway, we rigged up a "contained" photo studio, and Tonya got some nice shots, some of which will soon be shared.
In the meantime, I took a lot of early morning video, both yesterday and today, snippets of this and that. For those of you out there watching this litter, below is your "puppy fix" for the holiday weekend!
Puppies are loose in the kitchen early morning...
At 5:00 AM each morning, I walk into the kitchen with 3 adult farmdogs following me to be let out into the yard. I close the kitchen door and slide a board across in front of that door because the big dogs are able to open it with their dexterous paws. There are five VERY noisy puppies waiting for me to open the door to the puppy pen. I let the big dogs outside and begin preparing all the canine breakfasts and a pot of coffee for me. I quickly sweep the floor to ensure there is nothing for the pups to eat that they shouldn't, and then I go out to the garage to let the big dogs in. After wiping everyone's feet, I bring the big dogs in and give them their breakfasts -- all the while there are five NOISY puppies peering through the pen and pouncing at the pen door begging to be released. They will eventually learn to be more patient as they adjust to the ritual.
Once the big dogs are fed..... I open the door to the puppy pen. Five "puppies gone wild" scamper out of the pen and begin exploring all the areas of our small kitchen, half of which currently looks like a kennel. (We have moved the table out to make room for the puppy pen which is 6' x 6'.) The weather has turned colder, but the oil heater in the kitchen heats it nicely and all is cozy warm. The pups first rush their mother, Ruby, in hopes of a snack. Ruby obliges, but is not as patient as she once was, now standing to nurse them briefly because she is not making as much milk as before and they are very efficient at draining her reserves. The pups poke their noses into the adult dog's bowls looking for more breakfast -- they are sometimes met with a reprimand by one of their grandmothers telling them NO they may not lick their bowls. These are good lessons. Only Ruby is willing to share what is in her bowl. As I set down a puppy feeder bowl filled with Royal Canin Mother & Baby dog mixed with warm goat's milk, five hungry puppies form a circle around the bowl and begin lapping goat's milk and chewing on kibble bits. Once they are finished, Ruby cleans the bowl. Now, it's playtime!
While pups and big dogs mingle and play, I clean the puppy pen (with a "green" cleaner), change bedding and replace soiled piddle pads. Then, I pour myself my first cup of coffee and sit down on the floor to play with puppies. As pups pile into my lap all wiggles and licks, I forget how early in the morning it is and just enjoy my moments with these lovely babies. Puppies are the best medicine because they make you laugh and create a calmness within.
We play a little tug with some braided polar fleece, I roll a few small balls for them to chase and I give them the cardboard roll from the middle of the empty paper towel roll to chew on. One can make puppy toys out of just about anything. One by one, they eventually tire and make their way into a puppy pile and fall asleep. I move them all back into their cozy bed for their morning nap. It's now about 6 AM. Perhaps tomorrow morning, I will try to catch some of this on video -- at least the release from the puppy pen.