It seems everyone has a formula for the success of their puppies. There is the “Super Puppy Program” which hinges on early neuro-stimulation and stressors scientifically “proven” to increase your puppy’s ability to handle stress as an adult. There are “rules” for exposing puppies to X number of people in X number of days. There are “rules” for exposing puppies to X number of “new” things each day. These are not unfounded processes, as they are based on current understandings of cerebral development. However, there is also just common sense. I think parenting was more effective at times in our culture when we did not rely so much on the expertise of others. I think that when we rely solely on the instruction of others, and fail to honor our own inner voice and the voice of experienced mentors, then we fail our children, puppies, society, friends, etc.
The Busy Bumble Beez have received their “early neuro exercises” befitting of the “Super Puppy Program” and have met new persons in their life, though not 100 people in 10 days, dare I say. They have met chickens, sheep, big white dogs, a black dog, and climbed a manure pile.
They have smelled human remains. They have perfected the art of movement on a Sit N Spin. They have learned about snow, sheep poo, moss, trees, toddlers, teenagers, men, women, music and television, pots and pans, blenders, food processors, telephones, brushes, Dremmels and X-Pens. They have ridden in a vehicle in a crate, and have had their first outing to a novel location. They have walked on unstable surfaces indoors and out, including the Sit N Spin and an inverted umbrella.
Their fifth week did include new persons tending to their needs, whilst I flew out of town for the funeral of my beloved Grandmamma McEntire. I visited with family I had not seen in 25 years. The puppies had 3 caregivers to visit them. My neighbor Stephanie came throughout the day to rotate the adults through the backyard for extensive play and potty time. She fed the puppies and adults each morning. She brought her toddler and teenager to help and to visit. My friends Sharon (fine breeder of Red Royal Standard Poodles) and Kathleen (skilled manger and rearer of all things wild, including coyote, wolf and fox for a game farm) came each day to spend additional time with the puppies, and to offer their second feeding, and attend to any medication needs for adults.
On my return, I continued their education outdoors, and added the human remains scent to their play pen. They just figured the scent tube was another chew toy. We also climbed the manure pile. It seemed like a nice mountain to climb for babies.
After playing, they got a wipe down with a damp cloth. They learned about the Dremmel and had their nails trimmed (it was too hard to see their nails to use clippers, so I switched to the Dremmel, which I use on the adults anyway).
A day after their 6-week birthday, the puppies began to climb the stairs on their own. And we ventured over to the forest edge, and they played on some tree stumps.
They also got their first brushing, which they all enjoyed. They also entered into their first “fear” period, which probably coincides more with the changing depth of field in their vision. Puppies are at first blind, then see shapes, then are very near-sited before this continued expansion gives them the eagle vision of a proper predator. When we’re outside, they can have trouble seeing me and Savannah if they don’t stay close. But on this day, they began to notice things above them, below them, and farther away from them. Some appeared a bit startled, others not. I remember in the A litter, the Purple Girl was dubbed the Purple Dragon. She was dominant and had a temper. The day her ears stood up, she became a princess. It’s so interesting how changes in their senses can change their behaviors. Pink Girl’s ears stood up, her vision changed, and so she was a bit startled by things coming toward her on this day, but much less so two days later.
Two days after their 6-week birthday was their first field trip. It was a fairly haphazard day, having had to travel a bit to fetch the last of hay I had purchased before this weekend’s snow set in. I also had to move a refuse pile from under the barn roof where the snow will pile as it avalanches off the roof. And I picked up the LGD’s bones from the field so that there won’t be sharp bones buried under the snow. Then I quickly loaded the six Beez into a crate in the back of the truck (which has a canopy) and off we went to Montana Earth Pottery, the business and passion of friend and fine breeder of Airedales, Judy Howell. Since it was cold, we carried the crate inside the shop. We probably both regret this maneuver as the puppies in the crate were screeching, waling, howling, and making all sorts of other profane remarks about not being allowed to explore en masse. We let one puppy out at a time to meet Judy and observe their explorations. They were fairly even except that Yellow Girl (Bhanavi) made more eye contact with her new friend, and was the most explorative (of course). She was also the loudest screecher when it was not her turn. Pink Girl (Benazir) also made reasonable eye contact, and was very independent. Aqua Boy took his customary moment to think on things, and then wanted to go about his independent way. Green Girl was her sweet social self and then explored. Orange Boy (Bashir) was also his sweet self, and seemed soft and pliable. Red Girl (Bhagavathi) was pliable and did explore but mostly wanted to be by the humans. When we first arrived, they were all a bit trembly or shivery, but otherwise, still explorative, confident and wagging their little Bee tails. Nobody really stood out in an extreme or dramatic way.
Then we let them out in two groups of three, just to have a quick romp. I noted the two boys zeroed in on the tupper of food (with the lid on). They got in the scent cone and went right to it. Not that I expect any less than this but I note these things. Aqua Boy was the only one to venture to the kitty litter pan. He was not permitted to ingest Kitty Roca. I think at that time, our human ears wore out from the screeching. They are getting better about this at home. I try to reward silence with visitation and feeding.
We had a big snow this weekend, so I will have to ponder their future visits. We have a plan for a visit to do a small temperament test, and a visit to evaluate drives in a novel setting. Though I prefer to look at drives at 10-12 weeks, the timing of Christmas and travel makes placing the Beez in their new homes at 10 weeks more favorable. I will have to plan their early scent tests soon 😛