Sunday, 29 December 2013

Spark is 12 weeks old

Spark turned 12 weeks old yesterday!  She received her second set of vaccinations on Tuesday and we got the green light to start more serious socialization.

So now Spark has been busy experiencing the world outside her home.  We have visited the Shawnessy C-Train station, and we have stood outside both Micheals and Superstore. We hung out and watched all the people walking, running, chatting, pushing carts and going about their daily activities.  We watched cars and trucks race past us, and watched a few C-trains pull in to the station.  We even stood beside a power scissor lift with construction workers on it while at the station.

Spark has also now attended two agility events. A mini agility trial on Friday night and a club fun day
this afternoon.  She had a chance to see what horse barns are all about and watch agility dogs in action. She met tons of people and got lots of cuddles and treats from strangers. She had several opportunities to walk around and explore, and she even offered me some focused attention.

We have had a lot going on with the holidays too.  Lots of family visiting. For Spark that means listening to lots of loud conversations, cuddling with children, babies crying and loads more noises she doesn't normally hear.  She also visited my sister's house for the first time and met a cat through her kennel door.

She has been a wonderful little trooper through all of this.  In new situations she is a little quiet and reserved.  She is happy to watch from my arms or  my lap.  But once she gets comfortable she wants to explore and sniff, wander around and watch everything.  Her recovery time in new situations is getting faster. She is less and less bothered by the new noises and sites and wants to get in and be apart of it. Today at the barn she was even barking and whining in her kennel to come out and explore and earn some turkey treats for walking on a leash.

We are also working on her obedience skills most days too. Sit, down, stand, wait, front with attention, get into heel position from the left and right side. Spin left and right, circle around a pole, hand targeting and a bit of nosework.  We have a lot of exercises we go through in our sessions.  But each behaviour is only practised a handful of times.  Then we move onto something else.  Keeping it light, short and fun.  She is slowly staring to get it.  Things like sit, touch and front with attention are really clicking with her.  But down and the pole work are coming along much slower. I am not worried.   That is just how puppies are.  Some things make sense right away and  others just take time. In the end she will learn them all and many more skills.

Pictures are from this week.  There is a short video of Spark playing with a box. She was playing
with this box for probably 15 minutes straight. Then I get the camera and she is bored in 10 seconds! Puppies :)

oh and a quick brag.  Strider earned his Expert Steeplechase Bronze award on Friday night for earning 25 Steeplechase Q's.


Friday, 6 December 2013

And then there was one

The little boy met his new parents last night, Jack and Teresa Nauman (and Teresa's father too) for a meet and greet. He played with them, cuddled, tugged vigorously on Jack's jacket, kissed their faces, played a lot more and eventually dozed off to sleep. I think it was love at first sight for both puppy and people. 
This morning the family returned to take him home to start their new life together in Wyoming.  He will have a Golden Retriever buddy to play with, a huge acreage to run on and the most beautiful canine sports center I have ever seen to train in (Yellowstone Dog Sports center).  He will be an agility dog as well as probably dabble in nosework, tracking and obedience.  Of course he will also be a cherished pet and constant companion.
 This is the best and worst part of breeding. I will miss my little buddy and his many puppy antics.  But I am so excited for him and his new family.  It is a very heartwarming feeling to raise a wonderful puppy and find a perfect family and unite the two of them together.  Then watch as they grow together and develop strong bonds built on trust and love.  I feel very fortunate to be able to breed and be apart of these special relationships between owner and puppy.
His new family are currently trying to decide on a name.  A little time together and I'm sure the right name will come to them.  They did decide on a registered name and he will be formally knows as "Hyperhounds Fire and Ice"

proud new parents!

So now it is just me and the little girl.  We are keeping her and have named her Spark.  Registered name is "Hyperhounds All Fired Up".  A fitting name for a very feisty puppy.  It is just starting to sink in that she is mine and  not going anywhere. I am so excited to have another puppy to love and raise.  I feel like the luckiest person in the world who has the cutest and most loveable puppy possible. I'm sure all new owners feel the same way. It is all so very exciting! 

Spark seems a bit sad since her brother left.  So we have had lots of cuddles and play sessions together.  Being a dog trainer by trade I just couldn't resist starting a few little puppy exercises too.  So we started Sit, Down, Stand positions, nose targeting to my hand, and continued work on the recall, name recognition and nosework odour/reinforcement pairing.  We also worked a bit on being quiet when held. We microchiped them a few days ago and the needle was huge.  They cried when it was inserted and the girl ever since has resisted being held.  I'm sure she is worried she will get poked again. So I hold her, she flails and has a tantrum, and then eventually calms down and lies quietly with me.  It should only take a few repetitions of this before she learns that one: she isn't going to be poked again and two: flailing will get you no where, but calm behaviour is much more pleasant and it will get you back on the floor.  The Focused Puppy book calls it "manning down" the puppy.  It's an exercise we will do a lot in the next few weeks.

So here is the end of raising the Dylan/Spryte litter and now starts the raising of little Spark.  Stay tuned for updates on her progress growing up in our family.

last time together in their pen before the boy left

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Day 61

Today is my last day with the little boy. He leaves for his new life in Wyoming tomorrow with his new family. So I made sure to get some more  pictures and one more video of the two together for one last post.

together in their pen
the boy chewing on the tunnel strings
the girl chewing on her new skinny toy from Kim and Breeane (thanks guys the puppies LOVE them)
Spryte and the girl playing tug together
the boy looking very handsome
playing together
more play

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Day 59

This week the puppies started their nosework training.  I decided to try the "cocktail" method with these little guys. Basically I have a little container with holes in it and inside are 6 Q-tips, each scented with a different odour (Birch, Clove, Anise, Wintergreen, Pine, Thyme).  I place the container on the floor and the puppies run over to check it out.  While they are sniffing the top of the container I place a small cookie on top for each of them.  So they are learning that each time they smell these odours a wonderful treat appears!  While they are eating their cookie, I pick up the container and then move it to a new location to start the little exercise again.  When they start to get the idea I can then add a blank container so they learn that only the smell pays, not the container itself. I can also start to hide the container a little so the puppies have to use their noses and not rely on spotting it visually first.

I like the idea of the "cocktail."  I have been reading about it on many different nosework forums and
lots of trainers are now using this method to teach the odours to their dogs.  With the cocktail the dogs learn from day one that all those odours pay and each odour now has the same reinforcement history as every other odour. When the dog is smelling the cocktail of odours people believe that the dogs are able to pick out each individual scent.  So when the odours are then separated out into individual hides, the dogs are able to locate and correctly alert on each one.  I have never done it this way but I am eager to try it with the puppies and see how it goes.

The puppies have also had a few new experiences this week. Including playing with noisy toys like tambourines and bells, and they saw an umbrella for the first time. I did catch that new experience on video.  They have also been up on the grooming table several times and a few other elevated surfaces.

The puppies also met a 10 week old Aussie puppy on Friday too.  They thought he was great fun and chased him around.  He thought Spryte was way more fun and chased her around. Eventually they all started to play together and have a great time.

Below are pictures and videos from yesterday:

mom and son chewing on a toy
playing keep away with the toy
girl with toy

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Day 54

girl left, boy right

Once again I have been a bit negligent with my blog posts. It's been busy around here with moving, moving the business, puppy raising, etc.  So now I am catching up on my puppy updates.

Last weekend Paul and I where in Canmore for my Dad's 60th birthday. It was a great time away visiting with family and catching up on what's new in everyone's lives. While we were gone the puppies and the adult dogs stayed with Leanne (Spryte and Strider's breeder).  The puppies got to run around the house, play with many new sheltie friends and cuddle with a few new people too.  Leanne said the puppies are very confident and outgoing.   Great temperaments all round!

Since they have been back the puppies have had a few more visitors and lots more trips outside to play. Yesterday the boy found a full size tennis ball and was having a blast chasing it, pouncing on it and carrying it around.  I even managed to get a video of it!  

Unfortunately some bad luck hit our little family yesterday when the puppies were outside playing.  During their play session the girl started crying and limping.  Fearing the worst we rushed her to the emergency clinic for an xray.  The xray confirmed our suspicions of a few broken toes. Likely caused by a fall in a gopher hole in the yard. Paul and the staff bandaged her up and she is now in a splint for the next 3 to 4 weeks.  I was so very sad to see my little puppy injured and all bandaged up.  But like a good little trooper she has been getting around and still trying to play.  She is in good spirits and isn't letting a little foot injury slow her down.  And I was reassured that of all the breaks and injuries that could have happened, this is the best of a bad situation. It will heal quickly and without any complications. It won't affect her movement or structure as an adult.  She will be back to a crazy, bouncy puppy in no time.

Pictures and videos from yesterday:

boy left, girl right
girl left, boy right

boy with his ball
boy left, girl right
girl with her splint, cuddling with her daddy

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Day 46


The last few nights I have started to lock the puppies in the kennel when we go to sleep.  For now they are both in the same kennel.  They go in around 11:30pm and are sleeping until around 5:30am.  Next week I will bring out another kennel and they will begin sleeping by themselves.

Tonight I also introduced the puppies to a clicker.  One at a time I took the puppies to a quiet spot with a bowl of plain yogurt.  I put some yogurt on my finger, clicked the clicker and then gave the puppy the yogurt to lick. I have the more traditional box clickers, so they are a bit louder than the newer style clickers.  Both puppies definitely noticed the sharp noise and startled a bit when it went off. But they happily ate the yogurt being offered and didn't seem too bothered by the new noise.  It has only been one session so far, so they don't yet associate the "click" with a reward. But a little more classical conditioning and they will be getting pretty excited when the "click" goes off.

Here are some pics and videos from today:

puppies ready to pounce on each other (boy left, girl right)
more playing (girl sitting, boy on back)
the boy biting the girl's tail

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Day 43

Ok first thing before puppy stuff... I have to brag and congratulate Susan and "Cricket" on earning their Canine Good Neighbour (CGN) and CKC Rally Novice (RN) titles this weekend at the Lethbridge Dog show.  Cricket was High in Class with a score of 99 and her other legs were earned with wonderful scores of 97 and 92.  What a great team!  (Cricket is out of Ace and Spryte from last year's litter)

The puppies had another field trip yesterday.  We took them to two different houses back to back.  The first house had 6 adults and 3 dogs. It was loud and busy with lots of laughing, talking, the tv blaring etc.  In fact it was so loud I was having trouble focusing on the conversations around me.  The puppies didn't mind the noise or all the extra attention. It was also the first time the puppies met another dog.  The family has 2 dachshunds and 1 malamute X.  The malamute and one of the Dachshunds wanted nothing to do with the puppies. But one of the Dachshunds thought they were very interesting and kept running around the pen trying to play with them.  The girl wanted nothing to do with this and mostly sat in the middle and watched.  The boy thought it was great fun and would play bow, madly wagging his tail and then run around the pen chasing the Dachshund.  It was funny to watch.  The boy so badly wanted to play with this new friend.

boy and Dachshund
After about an hour at the first house we packed  up the puppies and headed down the street to another friend's house. Here there were two adults and one Puli.  We once again set up our xpen with blankets and toys and let the puppies loose.  This time the Puli was the one circling the pen.  However, she was more interested in stealing the puppies toys than actually playing with them.  The puppies watched her with great curiosity.  She sure didn't look like a dog to them and they really didn't know what to make of her.  After several minutes of observing and the Puli trying to steal toys, the boy finally decided she was a playmate too and started the same play bow/wagging ritual.  The girl once again wanted nothing to do with the non-sheltie.  After about a half hour more of running and playing both puppies passed out with exhaustion.  They slept in their pen for the next few hours while we visited and watched the hockey game (or rather while everyone else watched while I slept :).  At the end of the night we packed them back into their kennel, got into a cold car and drove home.  Another successful night of socializing under our belts.
the Puli coveting the puppy toys
Here are some pics from today.  Mostly blurry. I really need to learn how to use my camera better. With all the puppy action it's now difficult to get clear pictures!  And a video from today.  I found an animated ball that I have and put it in the puppy room for the first time today.  It wiggles and twitches and the puppies had no idea what to do with it.  It was priceless to watch!

Spryte trying to get a game going with the boy
Spryte ready to pounce on the puppies
the girl pulling the boy's tail
Spryte and the boy playing

Friday, 15 November 2013

Day 41

It was absolutely beautiful out yesterday.  So the puppies came outside with us and ran around while we put up Christmas lights. The puppies were outside for a good hour, running around, chasing Spryte, playing with their toys and pouncing on lights.  They were absolutely exhausted after and came inside and crashed for several hours. 

Today the puppies had their first field trip.  We visited my sister's house and the puppies played with my two young nieces aged 15 months and 6 years old.  My older niece had a blast with the puppies.  She played tug with them, picked them up and cuddled them, played more and cuddled even more.  The puppies and Ashley were all in heaven.  My younger niece is currently teething and was a little grumpy.  She laughed and giggled at the puppies and then had more fun playing with the puppy paraphernalia ( x pen, puppy toys, kennel, actually she climbed right inside the kennel twice!).  There were also a few bouts of screaming due to sore gums.  The puppies handled the screeching surprising well.  They didn't startle at all, never stopped playing and really didn't even seem to notice the noise at all. I guess those sounds CD's are paying off!  All in all it was a great trip out for the puppies, great exposure to new sights, sounds and people and tons of fun for the kids.

Here is a video from yesterday and a couple pics from today with my nieces (pics taken with Iphone, so not great quality):


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Day 39

girl left, boy right

Puppies had their first trip outside yesterday. It was a fairly warm day for November so we decided a short outing would be good for the puppies.   They were a little overwhelmed at first, and a little shocked by the temperature change.  But within a few minutes they started to explore the driveway, and wander around a bit.  We kept the trip short, probably no more than 10 minutes.  I managed to get a few pictures of the puppies outside too!

We are starting to kennel train as well.  The puppies have now been left in their kennel a few times for an hour or so.  They are usually pretty sleepy when we put them in there and close the door, so they don't seem to mind the kennel so far.

I have also been petting and handling the puppies when they eat. I stick my hand in their dish, pet them, move them around a bit. The puppies are used to sharing with each other, so learning from an early age that a human may also be in the way is no big deal for them.

Here are some pics from today and yesterday.

boy left, girl right
girl pouncing on boy
girl relaxing on her balance disc
the boy coming over to say hi