The C Litter of Intention Hill (The Seas) are developing very nicely. They’ve followed a path that primarily seems a week in advance of the A’s and Beez. That is to say that their development seems a bit more advanced in many ways, in comparison to the routine of the previous two litters. They had early neuro stimulation, and have routine holding for nail trims, play, cuddling, and petting. They had their first porridge at 3 weeks, and by 4 weeks were eating small cubes of meat in their goat milk. By 5 weeks, they were having large pieces of meat, and at 6 weeks, their food is no longer warmed. Today they had their first poultry pieces, and ate in individual crates, as part of their early crate training. They go for walks most every day, sometimes 2-3 times in a day if I’m home for the day. They’ve been on 3 field trips in the truck, riding in a small 300 crate with their mother lying beside them. They’ve been excellent in confidence on these field trips, on their walks, and in their explorations around the property. This confidence extends to unstable footing and loud noises. They show no sensitivities, and are all showing nice tug drives, and beginning to show prey drive. They all seem to be overjoyed to see me each time I call them, and will bounce over to me, slap their paws in the air as they half leap into my lap to slather me with kisses. They do this with perfect Belgian smiles, all four of them. They have had multiple changes to their living quarters because of a storm that took our electricity for a week, and then because I rearranged for a house guest. Also they now go to a bedtime area at night, and during the day, when I’m home, they have an indoor/outdoor play area near my desk. That way they are in the middle of all activity in the house.
At now six weeks of age, they are really developing their personalities:
Red Ribbon (grey female) – The Grey Girl seemed to be the early explorer of the litter. She was very mobile in the whelping box. While the A’s and Beez were not very comfortable on their first visit outside at 3 weeks, the C’s are rather the exception. But Red Girl may be closest to the timeline of these previous two litters. While she was happy to go outside, she was not ready to explore. Bringing a blanket and toys outside really set her right, and she regained her composure. Within another week, more like the A’s and Beez, Red Girl was exploring independently, and has since shown some lovely interest in the sheep, if not even some natural balance and understanding of moving from head to tail.
The overall impression of Red Girl is that she is a brave and exuberant character, one who responds to encouragement, is silly and joyful, and has diminutive feminine way about her. She may have a smidge more softness than her siblings, but this may also be perception, because she is smaller than they. However she is very persistent about expressing her desires, shows lovely agility, ferociously growls at her raw food, and doesn’t give in when rough housing with her siblings. She has perhaps the most lovely structure of the girls, and I expect her head to be quite refined. Her personality seems to sing out with cuteness, alertness, focus on her person, responsiveness, and quick wit. She’s the little mini-me, the pocket rocket, the girl who seems she could do all things. She’d be my top choice for agility and obedience, and equally a lovely herding prospect. I expect her to be an energetic, zoomy girl. She seems naturally deep nosed, and tracking should also be a strong suit for her, if familial tendencies hold true.
Purple Ribbon (red female) – Purple Girl is still a bit of an unknown for me. Some of her traits are clear – she has prey drive, tug drive, is dominant with her siblings, and she has learned my “four on the floor for petting” rule the best. She will approach and sit nicely, until her puppy impulses take over, and sibling peer pressure forces her front paws onto me. Sometimes she will just sit and watch me, then slap me with her paw to remind me that she’s waiting for her petting reward. In fact tonight she observed me loading the dishwasher. To me she is a very thoughtful dog, one who problem solves and is exceedingly intelligent. I think this is a trait weighted with independence, so could be a more challenging type for training, but highly rewarding in the end. Though she was delayed in her exploration out doors, by maybe 5 days, once she decided being outdoors was interesting, she grew quite independent in her exploration. That would be my overall impression of her as of this writing – independent, dominant, but loyal to her person. She comes when called and follows me on walks. She responds to encouragement to try new things, is confident with stairs, and unstable footing. She seems laid back and responsive. She seems very sensible and able to problem solve. To me she seems like an easy choice for working in SAR or herding, and I especially like her for trailing. It’s a bit soon to tell if she would be a choice for agility and competitive obedience, as I wouldn’t generally choose the independent types for this. But I’m not fully sure who she is yet.
Blue Ribbon (grey male) – Blue Boy is a really lovely boy, and the early subject of many jokes and stories because he slept so much. I was calling him “Brother John.” But that was in jest. Really he is a loyal, handler focused boy (this week), is showing early signs of high prey drive, strong tug/bite drives, and in some ways could be a bit hard, but in other ways a bit soft – I believe that I mean that like many Belgians, he could be offended by corrections from his person, but will show great resilience and stick-to-itiveness if the topic interests him. I expect he’ll be a big boy, perhaps topping out at 26-26.5″. Blue Boy likes to hang onto my Carhartts when I’m walking the puppies, though I correct this. He isn’t going to a protection sport home, so there is no need to encourage the behavior. He likes to chase lead ropes, toys, socks, rags. He likes to play tug of war. He likes the wobble board I put in their “Romper Room” outdoor play area. I find him rather laid back in expression, and he lets the girls rule him a bit, but I do not believe he is a submissive boy, just a tolerant one. He has really lovely structure, and I would choose him for SAR, detection, herding, obedience and perhaps club level IPO, or even service work. I suspect he’d be a willing participant in agility, but his size rather dictates that it would not be his ideal pursuit. He shows great confidence on unstable footing, as do his siblings, and in fact seemed to enjoy the wobble board.
Coral Ribbon (red female) – While Purple Girl had my eye early on, Coral Girl has stolen my heart, much as her mother did. She is my probable keeper. I cannot resist her exuberance and her zest for life. She is joyful and full of puppy laughter. She is creative and silly, and a really wild child. She has an odd tendency to squeeze into tight places in her explorations, and then back out of them, but gets stopped if things interfere on the way back out. I’ve rescued her from between a crate and a wall, and from behind the dryer. She was really pleased with herself. She shows strong interest in the sheep, complete confidence on all footing, and great joy in greeting new people on all her field trips. This wild bundle of Belgian is all things I love, and I predict a girl much like her mother. I expect her to be a substantial girl like her mother, and would consider her a do-it-all type, though I suspect agility would not be my first choice for her, because of her size. I simply prefer the smaller pocket rockets for that endeavor, and find the larger dogs more prone to injury over the long run when asked to compete routinely in agility. But I’d expect her to be rock solid for SAR, and perhaps the type that prefers to area search over trailing, if only to allow her full expression of joy without the trappings of a tracking harness. I also consider her a strong prospect for herding, like her little Red Ribbon sister. I think she’ll be a blast no matter what she does.