Archive for the ‘Puppy Culture’ Category

Sound Sensitivity

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Tonight the puppies listened to: agility, fireworks, NWA, Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys. Because we don’t want to influence how they feel about the whole East Coast/West Coast thing yet, they need to make up their own minds (also because loud male voices and sirens, but mostly because they need a solid introduction to hip hop).

First Visitor!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

The puppies are right at the start of the socialization period, so they had their first visitor! Melanie, who owns their half brother Enzo, came to see them!

The Next Stage Begins!

Friday, January 21st, 2022

The puppies have a startle reflex as of this morning! So now they are listening to Mozart on Spotify, and we will start the Puppy Culture sound desensitizing protocol! They’ll also be getting something new in the box for a while every day! Now the fun (and work) really starts! You spend the first couple of weeks just making sure they stay alive and grow, but the dam does all the work. Now it’s my turn!

Thirteen Days Old!

Sunday, January 16th, 2022

Mr Pink is first to have eyes! A couple of others look like they will open their eyes in a day or two, but he’s first:

Soon the super fun “Mr Magoo” stage will start. We’re also checking a couple of times a day to see if they can hear yet. One of the most important things I learned from Puppy Culture is that there’s a period of about a week when puppies have a startle reflex to sound, but don’t have a fear response yet, If you can trigger that startle reflex several times during that period, the puppy may grow up to be less sound sensitive. Anything you can do to help a puppy have a better life is worth doing!

Now that they are quite mobile, I have added a little bumper mat as a bed for them. It’s also something novel in their environment!

From days 3-16 I perform Early Neurological Stimulation on my litters. This is a “can’t hurt/might help” thing, since they get a lot of handling anyway, but I’d always rather err on the side of having done something than wish I’d done it later. Orange Girl didn’t start until day 5, because I felt she had enough stress just gaining some weight.

There are five exercises designed to stress specific things and hopefully help the puppy develop a more robust response to stress as an adult. It’s like astronaut training for puppies, although we usually call it their ritual abuse. Tactile stimulation (a Q-tip on the pads), vertical position (head up), head pointed down, on the back, thermal stress (a damp towel that’s been in the fridge).

Here is Purple Girl with her ENS today:

Reward The Behaviors You Like….

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Here are the puppies “manding”, or sitting politely in order to ask for something (in this case, be picked up). This is not so much about training them to sit, but rather to teach them that they can communicate their needs (and “you give me something I want, I give you something you want”):

Day 54 – Clicker

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

My timing isn’t great (video is unforgiving), but they are getting the idea.

Yesterday was affirmation of why I have started sending them home at 10 weeks instead of 8 weeks. Yellow girl Charlie and red girl Alfa, who’ve both been happy and confident all along, were worried about the paper bag I gave them to play with. Fear period. Today they are almost back to normal, but pink girl Golf, who’s consistently been one of the bravest of them all (and who was a maniac with the paper bag just yesterday), is worried about things today. Fear period.

Fear periods are very normal and can come and go quite quickly, but the wrong thing at the wrong time during a fear period can be a problem sometimes. Much better not to upend their entire world when there’s a statistically higher risk of a fear period! You can see pink being quite cautious and subdued in her clicker video below, when she was perfectly happy and reckless as is her usual personality yesterday. Fear periods can happen throughout their first two years according to some behaviorists. We used to think you should work through them but now most think you should just ignore them and they should normally just go away (and the risk of what’s called “single event learning”, which is where one bad experience can cause a significant and lasting issue, is higher during a fear period).

The paper bag:

You will see in pink girl’s clicker video that she is quite subdued, this is NOT normal for her, as anyone who’s been to visit them will attest, she’s normally an absolute lunatic (and look at her in the paper bag video taken just yesterday). Purple girl and red girl are also a little quieter than normal.

Red girl:

Orange boy:

Yellow girl:

Green boy:

Blue boy:

Purple girl:

Pink girl:

Barrier Challenge Day 41

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

We videoed their barrier challenges today. This helps them with frustration and problem solving. The first video for each has the puppy and the food very close to the same end of the barrier (the puppy can see and smell through the barrier). The second video has the puppy farther away from the food. Later we will place both the puppy and the food far away from the way around the barrier.

Alfa barrier challenge 1:

Alfa barrier challenge 2:

Bravo barrier challenge 1:

Bravo barrier challenge 2:

Charlie barrier challenge 1:

Charlie barrier challenge 2:

Delta barrier challenge 1:

Delta barrier challenge 2:

Echo barrier challenge 1:

Echo barrier challenge 2:

Foxtrot barrier challenge 1:

Foxtrot barrier challenge 2:

Golf barrier challenge 1:

Golf barrier challenge 2: