Saturday, June 30, 2007

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!