One Black Dog

I fell in love with this puppy within days of meeting her. She was the black girl with the big fat tail. I had my heart set on a black boy but there was only one boy and he was yellow. So I had three black girls to choose from and the girl with the lime collar was it.

She grew fast and soon it was obvious she was the bigger of the three. I was always trying to stay detached. What if she didn’t turn out to be the show performance puppy I was hoping for out of my Eddy and Punch litter. I remember at one point telling her that she had better step it up. I did not want a puppy lacking in energy or drive. And she did step it up. The first time I introduced the puppies to a duck, she was the first to pick it up. I loved her structure and temperament. She had the rear drive I was looking for in this litter.

Once we evaluated the litter and I knew she was mine I started puppy training. Nothing serious, all positive with lots of treats. She started catching on fast. Once she learned sit, there was no looking back. I brought out some of the puppy equipment for agility, a low table, the buja board and my clicker.

We were going to Georgia in March for a puppy match and Punch was going along for an obedience match. I had Winona entered in the Beginner Puppy Class at the Birmingham Kennel Club show in April. She had even gone to a few of the puppy classes at the BKC. Then on March 13 things changed. Soon all the matches and shows were being canceled.

But I kept training like I always have. I don’t know what I would have done these last few months without the dogs to train. Events are just icing on the cake. But AKC decided they would do a pilot program for their trick dog titles. Simple, video your dog performing ten tricks, then send the video to an AKC evaluator.

With all that I had been teaching Winona we had what qualified as ten tricks. So I set up the video camera and figured out where to place it in order to video all of her tricks. Then we went outside, performed our ten tricks and Win got her Trick Dog Novice title at six months.

Red Letter Day

(This post was written on or about Feb 22. I did not get it edited or posted, when I reread it I thought it should be posted so here it is June 8)

Last Monday the puppies were 15 weeks old. They went for their last set of shots which included rabies. They are now free to go out into the world and explore; hopefully safe from most diseases that we know are a threat. Puppies weighed in at about 28 pounds.

We now have a set routine with the big dogs in rotation. It makes it easier to get everyone fed, out to potty and play. The puppies are doing great with crate training. Winona now sleeps at night in a soft-sided crate. Hopefully that will carry on over to the shows and trials. The housebreaking has gone better than expected with all of the rain we have had in the last few weeks and more expected tomorrow. Winona seemed to catch on first. We have a doggy door and they have all learned to use it. Last week was great as we only had an accident or two.

Labs and rain. With labs wet conditions don’t seem to matter. It is great coming home to the pups warm and dry in their crates and then letting them out, watching them scatter to find just the right spot. The only problem is when they stay out to play and came back soaking wet. I have become the queen of the mop.

I remember once at a hunt test with Ezra, a storm was moving in fast as you could watch the black clouds pushing east. We ended up being the last dog to run before the judges called it and the rain came down in torrents. As we walked to the line the thunder and lighting was alarming. Ezra was oblivious as he was focused on his birds. We ended up qualifying that day. Labs are like that; just don’t expect that same love for a bath.

Since all pups were good to go we loaded them all up and headed to the park. Each one got their turn to get out and about, meet new dogs and people,hear new noises and enjoy the sunshine. They all did great on leash. Winona even got to practice her down and back for her upcoming match.