Friday, July 13, 2007

Back Home

I'll bet you're just waiting to hear how the trip turned out! The Pupsters and myself all survived to make it back home, which , as Martha Stewart would say "is a good thing!"  We got a slightly later start than I had hoped for, which is customary for my travels. I got up early and got them outside and fed while I worked on the last minute check list.  I debated feeding before a road trip, but since we had at least an hour before Departure and it was going to be a long drive, I decided to feed.

 One large cup of coffee later, we are on the road.  I had room for four crates, so two pups doubled up.  It took only a moment for them to settle down once we headed off.

I stopped about 1 1/2 hours into the journey, to get each of the out to potty.  I had cautioned them to be sure they went before we left home but you know how that goes!!  I figured it was a wise decision to make certain they had, in fact, pottied instead of played on their way to the van.  I think puppies will pee whenever they emerge from crates, no matter.  And they did.  A woman approached and asked if they were for sale and inquired what exactly they were.  I pointed her to the website and hopefully she has visited and learned more about this wonderful breed.

No puppy should ever be sold on a whim, or just because they are cute.  Some authors write that puppies and other adolescents (children included) have the domed heads and infantitle appearance that creates a particular response in adults, so that we do not kill them!    Puppies grow into dogs and dogs were bred for particular purposes.  It is important that buyers understand the breed, and their purpose and know that this is appropriate to their needs and lifestyle.  When puppies are sold at pet stores, or to whomever arrives with the right change, there is no such understanding and the "ahhh, he's cute" factor rules.

Whew! We arrived!  I set up the Xpen, got the pups tucked in with food, water and toys and had a nice visit.  It rained a little, and the pups seemed to enjoy that cooling.  I had initially asked for a lawn chair to put in the pen so that they could sleep underneath, but immediately two of the pups (Doc and ?) climbed on top of it, and I imagined them jumping off and getting caught in the fence, or the chair, and I removed it.  Probably took all their fun along with it.

My Uncle Clayton accompanied me and the Pupsters on a walk around the property.  They have black bear and badgers that visit the yard, and I was worried some critter would eat my babies!  My mother assured me that the badgers were in the sand banks and we would be safe on the path through the old horse pasture.  Oh, did they ever have fun!  The pasture is now more like a forest and they Pupsters ran to and fro, investigating and wrestling and really enjoying stretching their legs in this new place!  When we turned back, I called and they all came flying.  Interestingly, they ran ahead and took the correct turn back toward the house.  Then it was a matter of assigning all the relatives to grab a pup and put it in the crate so we could leave.

We traveled 558 miles yesterday.  Quite a road trip for the Pupsters!  When we arrived here at home, they were wide awake (I was the tired one; they got to sleep!!) and ready to play some more.

I was very glad that I decided to take them with me when I discovered some things blown around here, including the portapotty on the training field blown over, which means we must have had strong winds while we were gone.  

Today we had visitors from Sun Prairie.  We took Dark for a walk and played with him and he alternated between being attentive and sociable, to running off to do his own thing and not responding to my call.  He made some nice retrieves, too.  One thing I do with puppies and young dogs in their play retrieves is to teach them that they can retrieve ANYTHING.  So, we pulled out an odd, knobby rubber toy and a rubber chicken for his retrieves today.  Those he proudly chased and returned with.  Later, up at the house, I just had to do onnnnneee more but this time he decided he was done and carried it off instead of returning, so I had to walk after him and get it myself.  In this instance, I do not correct him.  I do want him to pursue and to pick things up, and it is my job to shape the return.  I will make trades for treats so that he learns to let go calmly and without fighting for the toy.   This is the best way to teach a release, showing the pup that it is in his best interest to let go (the best teacher: self interest) and the faster he does so, the faster he will be rewarded.  To force a puppy to let go can result in a dog who does not want to return to you with an object, or who "chatters" while holding it because he is worried he will have to let go. 

The visitors wanted to see Mommy and Daddy, so I let Arec and Easy out for a run along with Dark.  Those folks took photos, but I just wasn't thinking and missed the shot myself.  This is excellent temperament when you can have the family together like that.  It was a beautiful afternoon and what a picture of the three of them, romping across the yard. 


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