Puppies vs Egg

November 5th, 2017

Yesterday three of Jim’s graduate students came to visit the puppies. We had them sit on the floor in the living room and let the puppies have to come out of the pen to greet them. I realized that most of the socializing has been taking place with the puppies IN the pen, so we wanted to change things up. No worries, they were thrilled to meet new people and find new fingers to bite and hair to eat!

They are getting fitter and their stamina is increasing. Just a few days ago a jaunt outside the pen for zoomies would tucker them out in just a few minutes. Now they need several real world zoomie adventures a day before they’re tired.

They’re real little dogs now. They’re looking quite pudgy so I expect they’re gearing up to grow some more.

I’m feeding them a variety of things, and so far they love everything. They’ve become excellent eaters as Vallhunds usually are, and clean their plate in record time. They’re eating Primal raw (a variety of protein types), kibble, canned food, various chewies, and people food (they’ve tried popcorn, cheese, baby food, various meats, and eggs). I will start feeding them in crates in the next few days. They now have a treat ball filled with kibble in the pen, and they’re gradually learning how to make it dispense the food.

One of our favorite enrichment activities with puppies (we got the idea from my dear friend and mentor Ulla Gamberg at Vastgota Swedish Vallhunds) is giving them a hard boiled egg to figure out.

Ironically, even though this litter took forever to start eating, they made very short work of the egg and figured out it was food immediately (past litters took a while). This morning’s zoomies and the egg tired them out (for now).

So here, without further ado, our magnum opus: Puppies vs Egg. (Spoiler alert, the puppies win, the egg was harmed….oh my….).

Clarion Canine Obedience Club AKC Agility Trial

November 4th, 2017

Zhora still off due to needing several sports bras. I cost Nina a double Q today but she is SO HAPPY to be back running. We got a Jumpers Q. Always love judge Candy Nettles! Thanks to Zap as always for videoing!

Jumpers (first place, 18 points):

Standard (NQ, nice run):

Nina Is The Best Grandma

November 2nd, 2017


November 2nd, 2017

How did we get here so fast? The first few weeks seem to pass so slowly, but now they’re changing nearly every day and when you think you should do something with them you blink and they’re already doing something else!

What’s happened recently?

Several more visitors.

One puppy pierced Jim’s ear. Now they’ve tasted human flesh we’re all doomed…

They’ve had various different enrichment items, including a beach ball!

They get to run around the downstairs when I clean their pen. This makes for some interesting monitoring….

They spent some time on the deck today since it was warm out. The grass is soaking wet so I haven’t had them on it, but at least they got some new smells in a new location today!

They’re eating wonderfully, they LOVE their raw. They’re eating two raw meals and two kibble meals a day. I want them to eat a variety of things, not only because I think it’s probably healthier over time, but also because I want them to be willing to eat whatever their new people want to feed them. My own dogs eat one kibble meal and one raw meal a day.

We started charging the clicker (finally!) last night with baby food. We also took their first set of individual “stacked” pictures. I am very pleased with this litter so far, they’re well built and all have lovely temperaments so far. Chex already has two ears standing up! I expect they’ll fall again when they grow, but it’s really cute.

They had new visitors all the way from Connecticut today!

They’ve slept in the big pen all alone the last three nights, with Zhora and I next door.







Various videos from the last few days:

Tamarack Lake AKC Agility Trial

October 28th, 2017

Nina and I have been off since the end of September (basically she got her MACH on a Saturday, another double Q on that Sunday, and then we were off for puppies). But since we’re going to the Invitational in December, which is getting extremely close, we really need to start getting back into practice. Since the puppies are still nursing a lot, I scratched Zhora, but still ran Nina. I crated out of my car and only took her into the building to warm up and run, to hopefully minimize exposure to other dogs as much as possible.

Nina was AMAZING! Over the course of her career, she’s had some periods where she hasn’t had three double Q’s in a YEAR, and she came back after 12 weeks of and DOUBLE Q’D! That’s three IN A ROW, she’s never done that. 10 year old Nina was so excited to be back she couldn’t stop bouncing up and down and barking. When we went to Sue’s on Wednesday just to at least try and remind ourselves how to play agility, she was so happy she zoomed!

This was our first time showing under judge Bob Jeffers, and I hope it won’t be our last. His courses were challenging but very fun, they ran better than they walked, and Nina double Q’d! So NO complaints!

Jumpers With Weaves (Q, third place, 4.9 YPS, 20 points, the top 3 dogs were all within half a second of each other):

Standard (Q, second place, 4.06 YPS, less than 1/10th of a second behind the first place dog):



October 27th, 2017

Clockwise from top left: Popcorn, Ruffles, Chex, Orson, Frito

…and it was NO thanks to me!

As you know if you’ve been reading along, the puppies haven’t been all that interested in solid food. Well between my friend Lynn Uram of CastleGate Shelties (who suggested the Answers goat milk), and Jim, who just happened to offer them straight kibble today instead of soaked mush, THE PUPPIES ARE EATING LIKE REAL EATING PUPPIES WHO EAT! Mush is for babies, I guess.

This is truly my “it takes a village” litter!

They have the cool chewies suggested by my friend Megan, and they’re extremely playful and interactive (or “obnoxious”, depending on your point of view and/or mood and/or if they’ve just demolished the potty area you just finished cleaning). They still sleep probably 80% of the time (that’s when they grow after all), but when they’re awake, they’re very, very busy.

Yesterday I snapped open a garbage bag next to the pen and startled the bejeezus out of them, it was loud enough that they actually ran away, but then they came RIGHT BACK to see what it was. Can’t hope for more than that!


October 26th, 2017

They celebrated by getting their nails Dremeled for the first time. Baby food was the reward. They mostly complained about having to hold still, none of them seemed to care about the actual Dremeling.

They’re eating a bit better but still prefer mum. I’m starting to keep her away for periods of time so they’ll be hungrier and eat more. I don’t normally do this but Zhora can only keep up with so much demand and they’re BIG and HUNGRY. They drain her in a very short amount of time now. I’m adding Answers raw goat milk to their kibble/mousse/tripe mush and they seem to really like it.

I think they liked the baby food enough that I can use it to at least charge the clicker, I’m champing at the bit to start clicker training but with them not really caring that much about food, it’s been impossible.

They visited with Sue on Tuesday and had a wonderful time. They got dried duck feet as their enrichment item on Tuesday, yesterday it was a different toy, and today it was various different chew things suggested by Megan (who works at Pet Supplies Plus).

Yesterday we separated them from each other and the other dogs for 2 1/2 hours so that we could do their cheek swabs for the Animal Health Trust DNA test for retinopathy. Again, caution is the key here, remember that there is a LOT we don’t know about the retinopathy, almost no dogs go blind if they have it, and dogs who are genetically “affected” can still have normal eye tests (Nina is one of these, she had yet another normal eye test this year at the age of 10). But still, I think it’s important to test and know what you have, so I opted to test this litter instead of doing eye examinations. They were surprisingly (or not) wonderful for this – just some fussing but mostly they just snoozed. I was very impressed considering they’ve only been apart for considerably shorter periods. They did NOT like the swabs, poor babies. Their soft little mouths must be so tender. But it’s for a good cause.

They are definitely baby dogs now, they’re looking very attractive and they’re so outgoing and so BITEY….oh lordy they’re bitey…sitting in the puppy hot tub is an exercise in trying not to be eaten alive too badly just now. They definitely tell each other off for biting too hard, and they’re NAUGHTY – part of the problem with all this enrichment is that everything is something to be explored and experimented with and dragged around, including the potty patch (not mentioning any names…RUFFLES), the litter box (not mentioning any names ORSON AND POPCORN), the TOWEL THEIR WATER BOWL IS ON….not mentioning any names CHEX! Frito is a perfect angel except when he tried to pull my sock off and run away with it….poor Zhora can’t be enjoying nursing them. I keep waiting for her to kick them to the curb but she’s still gamely in there feeding them of her own volition. Definitely going to start pushing the food though.

Weigh in:

Ruffles – 3.7 lbs/1680 grams (birth weight 216 grams)

Orson – 4.5 lbs/2050 grams (birth weight 189 grams)

Chex – 4.2 lbs/1892 grams (birth weight 180 grams)

Frito – 3.8 lbs/1720 grams (birth weight 179 grams)

Popcorn – 2.7 lbs/1247 grams (birth weight 158 grams)

30 Days Old – More Visitors!

October 21st, 2017


Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who’s been coming to visit, we’re averaging at least one new visitor per day just now and this is exactly what we want!

Today the puppies met 6 year old Abigail (they already know her mum Caroline), and her grandma Sharon, who kindly brought her cane and wheelchair so they got to see those too!

Mum Zhora came in to provide refreshments

30 Days Old – Collars!

October 21st, 2017

Usually with Vallhund litters there’s enough variation in markings, tails (not in this litter obviously), etc. that you really don’t need to put unique markers on the puppies at birth. And I’m paranoid about collar safety. However, they do need to wear collars eventually so today they took them out for a test drive! These are breakaway puppy collars but still, they will only be wearing them while we’re in the same room just in case.

As with the last litter, I’ve purposely tried to avoid anything other than relatively neutral colors to avoid influencing my opinion (or your opinion) about the puppy. Just like in Reservoir Dogs, everybody wants to be Mr. Black.

Collar colors:

Ruffles – red

Orson – orange

Chex – yellow

Frito – green

Popcorn – blue

LOVE this quote

October 20th, 2017

“Breeding is an important by-product of the wider interest in ones breed and some kind of dog hobby/work, not the main aim.” (from “Brainless” on the Champdogs.co.uk forum. “Brainless”….ain’t)