I found my puppy! I believe he meets all of the criteria of my search ( see https://wholedogcamp.com/2017/05/13/is-this-my-puppy/ ) except he will be bigger than I thought. Since I don’t REALLY want even a 50 lb dog landing on my back, or catching too often in my arms, probably a 95 lb dog has other advantages, such as leaving me feeling safe to walk in the woods where we have coyotoes and who knows what else.
I’ll call him Mo, short for M’Ocean, and someone will call him a Mofo or Mr. Mojo, Mopey mope, Mosey Mo, Moshe, Mosheski M’cean motion, I haven’t even met him in puppy yet and I’m in love. Quest M’Ocean Von Kleinenhain.
The breeder sends me new pictures and video every other day, and we plan to do a facetime! I found this breeder through a fellow trainer, who met this competitor who has german shepherds and competes in the same venues (agility and rally) and she knows the dogs and knew there was a litter of dogs on the ground whose parents all have SAR credentials. The breeder had three males, 4 weeks old, all the dogs in the line health tested and trialed and she was considering which one she might keep. I told her my training plans, we facebook messenged like mad, and she sold me this puppy I’ve been calling Mo.
Albert just gave me a birthday card (I’m now 59!!!) with Mo’s picture on it! Happy birthday to me! He will fly in from Kentucky when he’s 8 weeks of age (in about 2 weeks)! Here’s my training plan for introducing Quest M’Ocean to my 13 year old dog, my 8 year old dog, and our world. We’ll find out how many times I have to change my plan as we go! But my hopes are as follows:
- I’ll walk in the door with Moses in my arms. My dogs will come around and I well explain. “No Tigerlily, this is for Bee.” I’ll gate Tigerlily off separately. “Bee, is this your baby! Yay! Are you ready? Bee! Yay! puppy!! Sorry Tigerlily, no no, this is for Bee.” I’ll have Albert videotape this.
- I’ll do the above for about 2 minutes, and then take the puppy outside, and then crate in the room with me and my other dogs. In an out of the crate and other pens and yard, under constant close supervision.
- Today. I am already setting up crates and gates. When I don’t have the puppy in my arms, I’ll have him in the thick of things, but contained in some variation of crate/x-pen or smaller gaited room, never walking around the house unattended until he’s fully housebroken, beginning around one year of age.
- Already, I’m pestering and questioning and driving my breeder nuts to hear about all the things she is doing that will influence what work is ahead of me at the start of the monumental journey of conditioning Mo’s association to people, toys, mat, dremel and blowdryer, crate, head halter, birds, sheep, cows horse cats kids wheelbarrows, bicycles, brooms, hats, police men, nighttime, etc. . The whelping pen has a big influence on puppy temperament. I feel lucky that my breeder is experienced and a trainer as well as a breeder.
- To the best of my ability, my plan is to condition Bee and Tigerlily to view Mo as a prize, a reward, a special and limited opportunity, a new toy. Or at least, like the halter, something tolerable and they can control with good behavior and never need to resort to obnoxious behavior to discipline the puppy. So Mo himself will be hopefully conditioned as a reward , in limited doses as reward for cued/planned behavior. Then put him away when the reinforcement period is over! Short doses are easier to digest!
- Planned trips: first, when he is 8.5 weeks, we will expand his sense of his place in our tribe by hanging out with our children/grandchildren and their small dog. I’ll carry him around to visit our immediate neighbors. Veterinarian. Then at 9.5 weeks, I’ll carry him back and forth on the CBL Ferry boats, twice that week, hoping for nice exposure to school kids, dogs, passengers etc on the boat ride. Sit on a bench and listen to kids in a playground, 20 minutes each day possible? Find friends with cats. Visit Cathy and her alpacas! Walk in island neighborhoods, where there are feral cats, visit horses, visit fire department?
- 10.5 weeks, shots fully kick in and we can hang out around LLBeans where people often train dogs, go to Wolf’s Neck Farm on family day and smell some new smells, see some new sites, such as back bay Portland (East end beach dog park hours? Maybe?), start to introduce him to waterfront boats, docks, beaches,
- I think I’ll call some of the local daycares or schools and see if they would enjoy a visit from a puppy, and learn about how we teach dogs with a clicker! And demonstrate how puppies learn, and how we can condition dogs to relax and settle down on cue, by taking special attention to the puppy and rewarding calm behaviors.
- We will have at least 2 sessions per week of each: exposure and response to moving wheelbarrows, bicycles, brooms, rakes, vaccuum cleaners. Evaluate all the above and write next plan.
- At 12 weeks, the waterfront park, training in front of LLBeans, have first visits in classes in various training facilities, foundations training begins in earnest.