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