Saturday, June 30, 2007


Diablo's markings remind me of the family pattern that Aryan, Jeiko and Confetti showed.  More brown.  Diablo has been the most independent and strong willed of the crew.  He gets lessons in simple submission, and learning that there was some things throwing a fit just don't change.  In the submission lessons, the pup is gently placed on their back in your arms.  This is NOT the old alpha roll technique, which, if you ever thought to use it, is NOT recommended and even the authors, the Monks of New Skete, have rescinded this advice in their latest edition.  One hand is place on the pup's chest to gently restrain it and the pup learns that it is only released (with a verbal marker of "yes") when it is calm and not fighting. 

If you take a photo and someone is missing, it is likely to be Diablo, exploring on his own.  He recalls as quickly and happily as the rest and enjoys attention from people, but likes to control it.  If another pup wants to get petted and Diablo is there, he will try make the other pup go away.



Doc is best recognized by the stripe on his tail. 

He is also the largest of the pups at this moment.   Doc enjoys carrying toys around in his mouth.    Dark and D'jango are a lighter shade of brown, and Doc and Diablo are darker.  Doc and Diablo both have wavier coats.






D'jango has the most white on his body, with a brown spot on either side of his body.  One of the interesting thing about munsterlanders is the markings and that they can look entirely different on each side.  If two boys are going to squabble, it is likely to be Diablo and D'jango (pronounced Jango).  At one time, D'jango was one of the largest pups, but now has fallen behind Diablo and Doc.  He is a confident pup, as well, as evidenced by his exploration and conquering of the laundry basket! 

D'jango was the first pup to understand that sitting brings treats.   One important thing to note is that the fact that I have more photos of one than another carries no meaning other than that those photos turned out and were more than a blur!



This is baby Danica.  The Speed Racer.  She has to keep up with four brothers, so she is pretty tough.  She is also the most vocal and demanding, in getting attention!  Probably because she is so darned cute, that when she barked when she was younger, who could resist? (not me) 


Dark is actually a lighter shade of brown.  Only Diablo has more brown plating.  Dark is an affectionate, confident boy.  He follows willingly, but is interested in exploring on his own, as well. 

First Car Ride

 Sorry, I didn't take a photograph, but the puppies went for their first car ride this morning.  I piled all of them into two big dog crates in the van.  Danica and Diablo were in one, and the other boys together in the other.  I put a toy in so they could occupy themselves if they wanted, but we only drove 1 1/2 miles to the gas station so I could pick up a morning newspaper.  Once we got there, I opened the back of the van and they were all screaming.  Not because they were upset about being on a ride or even in a crate, but because when they hear me or see me they all want ME.  I am the bringer of All Good Things in their world, and so they were raising quite a ruckus to be the special ones plucked out for attention!  The clerk came out to pet them, and I told people it was their first car ride, so strangers came over to pet them, too.  I gave them small pieces of raw hamburger as a treat, but not so much that they would throw up on the way home.  There were no messes (everyone pottied before we left) and no upset tummies.
Back on the road, and we returned home where they got to finish the rest of the meat.  I think in the future, unless I take additional puppy wranglers with me I will only be able to bring one or two per crate because it is like holding water back in a dam to only get ONE pup out at a time. 
We are working on manners in getting our treats.  It is an unfortunate (from the puppy view of things) turning point in their maturity that they can no longer do a flying leap and be the one to get fed if they are on top of the pile.  They are learning to be polite-- which requires great restraint-- and be rewarded for sitting, or at least not trying to bite the treat from my hand.  I don't want this to sound more advanced than it is.  Not all of the puppies are in agreement!  So far, D'jango has proven the fastest learner on this issue.  I can tell you from experience, that I have made mistakes with this in the past, thinking it was soooo cute to catch the puppy on a flying leap in my arms. Only suddenly you have a 50 lb dog flinging itself at you as you walk through the field with a shotgun, and that just isn't pretty.  So, now the puppies must learn to stay off in order to get petted or given a treat.  As I said, this is new to them and some of them think they can still convince me otherwise.....
Next on their agenda is putting on new collars.  I like to cut a tab from leashes, so that there is not a handle to get caught on things but long enough that another pup can grab the end and "lead them".  It seems to help in their leash training, because they learn to "give" to the pressure and go along.  You've probably witnessed the bucking bronco antics of a puppy that does not want to be restrained by a leash! 

Environmental Challenges

In the puppy paddock we have our Urban Search and Rescue Challenge course.  Or it could be just good plain puppy fun!  The paddock is 50 x 50 and has a variety of surfaces and things for the pups to crawl under, over and through. Some tall grass was left and we have paths mowed so that the pups can ambush each other and be confident in a variety of cover.  Their "collapsed structure" is a playhouse that has been taken apart and the parts are in a pile. There is also a wood and concrete mini-rubble pile.  There is a storage shed containing dog crates, and the pups can go inside and nap and then run outside to potty, which is a good lesson to learn.  They prefer to move away from where they are playing and eating to potty, which is a good habit and will help with housebreaking.

Learning and growing

The pups were well ahead of all the usual puppy markers.  One thing that we do is to provide a good learning environment for the pups.  They meet new people, other animals and learn to interact in a variety of environments.  They have been on wood floors, carpeting, concrete, gravel, grass and in the wading pool.  They have been exposed to gunfire while eating and to the sound of banging pots and pans as they are called to dinner.  At times, though, it is also important for the pups to have quiet time with nothing stimulating.  There was a study done at Lackland, in their puppy program in which they thought that the puppy development would be enhanced by having more toys and stimulation in their environment, after observing that some pups had difficulty with new objects and experiences.  However, what they then found is that thoe pups who were constantly being stimulated became stressed when placed in a kennel with nothing.  Therefore, the conclusion is that it is equally important for the puppy to learn how to handle quiet time.  At night, our pups go to their whelping box where they sleep.  Soon they will learn to sleep in crates, to make that transition easier.

The pups have a wading pool where they can play and (of course) drink!  To date, I have not caught any of them peeing in the pool, so apparently they have better manners than many children <grin>.  They know that coming when called means something GREAT is going to happen and they come flying!


Once they are old enough to entertain visitors, they become very popular.

Every Saturday the schutzhund club members come up to the house to play with puppies after training, and our friends and the new puppy owners line up to visit.  In any visit, we oversee the interactions and make certain that the pups are not handled inappropriately.  It is the responsibility of the owner to make certain that their pups are protected from well meaning, but potentially harmful interactions.

   The pups meet our Siamese cats, Kia and Toyota.  Toyota prefers to take "high cover" and move from chair to couch as he watches curiously.  Kia, the female, allows the pups to jump on her and then cries for me to help!  They also are introduced to safe adult dogs.  Again, it is critical that they only meet dogs that the owner personally knows to be stable and accepting of puppies.  If you have not seen it with your own eyes, don't use your pup as the experiment!  And NEVER, NEVER take your puppy to a dog park or other group play with dogs you do not know.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard a dog owner say "oh, he's fine" only to be followed up with "he never did THAT before!" 

Bio Dogs

The pups are loved and handled and, of course, photographed!  This is little Diablo with the decoy

and Danica with her girlie things. 

When they are very young, the handling is more minimal so that they are not over-stressed.  They do experience carefully structured exercises as prescribed in the bio-dog program but one must be cautious not to over-do this or the pup's young systems will be overly stressed.  Better to err on the side of moderation than to get carried away with this.

If you are interested to learn more about the process of stimulating the pups to create advanced learners, follow this link the article by Carmen Battaglia.

Puppies born May 16, 2007

The puppies joined the world on May 16, 2007 which was Day 60 and right on target!  Our vet had made a kennel call on the morning of the 15th and we noticed Easy's temperature had dropped, a sure sign that puppies would arrive within the next 12-24 hours.  Tom was away for work and I was the anxious mid-wife.  We had erected the the whelping box in the attached garage, which in our case, has never been used for parking vehicles.  The whelping box is the size of a small room itself, and has two compartments; one for birthing and puppies and another where momma can escape to her own food and water and time-out as she desires.  As the puppies grow, the safety rails are removed.  Easy was restless, busy shredding papers and moving about but each time I checked on her there were no babies yet.  Finally, I turned out the light and went to bed, leaving the baby monitor next to my bed.  I must have fallen into a deep sleep because at 12:43 a.m., somewhere in the recesses of my sleepy brain, I recognized the mewling of puppies. PUPPIES!! OMIGOSH!  I jumped up and ran out to discover Easy had already delivered two healthy pups, a male and a female, without my help, Thank you very much!  Puppies continued until 4:40, quite uneventfully.  Easy was a devoted mother to the birthing, and all pups were delivered, cleaned and fed without need for human intervention.  To me, two signs I look for in a dog I want to keep are whether they are easy breeders and easy whelpers.  With those two in place, my anecdotal observations are that they will be an excellent mother.

Puppies are given litter names, so that when we give vaccinations and worm, or just document handling we can tell them apart and know who we are referring to.  Some times their litter names have simply reflected their markings (two spot boy, one spot girl) but this time they received actual names.  Owners who have made reservations can request their own "D" names, but of course, can call them anything they like.  We use the German naming protocol, so each subsequent munsterlander litter receives a letter designation.  This is our fourth litter, and so the names must begin with the letter "D", followed by vom Foxtal.  The word "vom" means " from or of" and our kennel name uses the word "tal" which means "valley" in German.  Therefore, we have names which essentially read, as example, Danica from Fox Valley.   The male and female who had arrived before my notice are at this time called Danica (the girl, the little speed racer) and Doc.

Dark and Diablo came next, at 1:52 and 2:22 respectively.  Diablo was the first puppy to receive a name (the others had to wait until their personalities dictated their names).  He was not even free of the birth canal and was shaking his little head back and forth, as if to say "get me the heck out of here! I've got things to do!"  As soon as he hit the ground, he complained and headed directly for the chow line!  I thought to myself, "you little devil!"  And so, he was dubbed Diablo.

 D'jango joined the gang at 4:40 and the family was complete.  His name is pronounced Jango, and you can see him belly up at the food bar while the others are happily napping.