Monday, May 16, 2011

The Great Puppy Saga of 2011 Continues... Puppy Cam!

Small bundles of furry cuteness are bouncing clumsily through my head these days. The "coming home" countdown has begun, and I've started to look at my house through the eyes of a puppy to see what needs to be put away, taped down or otherwise made inaccessible.
Sandy, the breeder over at Sprague's German Shepherds, has been very gracious and helpful in answering my questions about the pups, and has been posting pics and videos of the little critters on her website and on Facebook.
Shelby and the kids at three weeks. Sorry, couldn't get the video to play.
Sandy was also open to doing a little experiment a la Cesar Millan when I come for my first visit next week. In his book, How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond, Cesar had the breeder of the dog he wanted for his experiment on raising balanced dogs from puppyhood put all the pups in one room, then bring the mama in to feed them. By watching the order in which the puppies went for mom and fed, Cesar was able to figure out which dogs had the highest, middle and lowest energy.
Since he was looking for a middle energy dog for his experiment (and is an expert at this stuff, which I am not!), he was able to avoid getting what the breeder felt was "pick of the litter," a much higher-energy level dog than he wanted. I'd like a middle-to-lower-energy dog, because I'm not going to be training little Sam for schutzhund, agility (though I might get a couple of agility toys for the backyard), flyball or any high-energy sport- though I am thinking about taking him for herding lessons once he gets old enough. I think it's important for a smart dog like a German Shepherd to have something to do, since they're a working breed and not having a job makes for a dumb, bored, frustrated dog, and chewed carpets.
Mr. ShellHawk is tolerating my obsessive reading (great info from Dr. Sophia Yin here, btw) and subsequent information sharing with grace and the occasional glass of scotch. (I think there may be some eye-rolling when I'm not looking, but I can't prove anything.) I think it was helpful for him to be away at a conference this week, just for a break from my obsession! ;o) Even so, I asked him to start puppy proofing the garage even though I don't plan to have the little one out of my sight for the first few months. During a yard inspection, I found a space under our side gate that will easily be large enough for the little guy to squeeze under, so that went on Mr. ShellHawk's honey-do list, too.
His crate for crate-training is here, plus another, more open crate to put in the living room, so he can watch everyone from a safe, out of the way place. (I'd hate to squash his little toes because I didn't know he was right behind me!) It's good training for them to know they don't have to be in the middle of everything when activity is going on, but learn to be a quiet observer.
And before someone leaves me a nasty comment about how crate-training is mean, consider that a dog's natural instinct is to be in a den, which is far less posh than a crate with his favorite toy and a soft pad and blanket to lie on. It prevents you from stressing out because you don't know if your pup has left you a "present" while you answered the phone or went to bed (which stresses him out because your body language is freaking him out), and it also keeps him safe when you can't watch him. After all, you wouldn't let your toddler wander around when you couldn't watch her, would you? (BTW: playpen=crate for children.)
Bowls, leashes, and collars are standing by, and observing some local trainers is on my to-do list this week. I talked to my veterinarian this week about other stuff I need to have ready for his homecoming and how I need to feed him (large breed puppy food, she said). I think I'm almost ready.

Can't wait for Friday and the results of the little experiment! I'll keep you posted.


  1. Congrats on the soon to be new addition to the family!

  2. They are adorable. There is one lucky little puppy waiting to come home to you.

  3. As someone who has had several dogs, and been involved in training a great many, I can totally back you up on the crate training thing! In addition, I will also throw this tidbit in: since dogs are den animals, the crate will, as they get older, become a refuge for them. Whenever my dogs are scared or stressed, they head directly for their crate. Ultimately, it keeps them safe, helps to housebreak them, keeps your property from destruction during teething, and gives your pup a place of his own to feel secure. In my opinion, it is mean to NOT crate train!

  4. Very cool! Looking forward to seeing your new puppu!!!


  5. FQ- Lol! I was hoping you didn't mean "pup poo!" :oD


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