Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wayne's World

It is a big wide world out there. Things like riding in the car and going for a run are old hat for Momma and Big Brother but it must be intimidating to be thrown in the back of the truck and driven to who knows where. As long as he’s with Halo and Raimi and most especially Petal he’s all for it.

He has developed a certain love of Petal. He can often be found belly crawling to her and wagging like crazy. She turns her nose and grumbles but he just wags harder. If we’re somewhere he’s never been he just looks around for Petal and is instantly at ease. Not a thing in the world phases Petal – she’s seen it all. She seems to like him a little too and doesn't mind cuddling with him when he needs comfort. She does not like him when he being obnoxious but he backs off when she tells him to. She's a great stabliizer with nervousness.

It must take a certain level of trust in me for Zero to not panic at everything. He never panics at a single thing. He was with Halo and Raimi behind the dog gate while I did some work in the kitchen floor I did NOT need help with and he wanted to help. He put his paws on the gate and pushed til it toppled. Well, he was so proud of himself he trotted over the clattering gate and came to see me. I look around the corner and there are two scaredy cats of almost 200 pounds of dog staring at me like ”GATE … scary. We’re staying here.” Some lion hunters.

The only dog actually scared of the gate is Raimi who just hates things like that – especially since it fell on him once when it was leaning against the wall and he bumped it … now its an Evil Dog Eating Gate. Halo was scared of the consequences of coming across a gate she was told to stay behind – she is exceptionally good about barriers really. It took her til almost 3 years old to learn that if a door is open a couple inches she just has to push it to get through.

Zero has no fear. He stomped all over the Evil Dog Eating Gate a couple times while it clattered and banged. Nothing bad has ever happened to him so he figures nothing bad ever will. He will be much like Raimi in temperament but far more fearless. Raimi is a STOP LOOK LISTEN dog who contemplates strange things before acting. Normally the action is to look for Momma and see if she’s worried(which is exactly never). Zero’s response is “STOP LOOK INVESTIGATE.” Could be because he’s young yet but I hope it carries to adulthood because Raimi’s startle reaction is unwelcome in a dog his size.

Carbon Copy

Several people who got puppies and have a current dog have commented about how the puppy seems to want to mirror what the other dog is doing. This is a normal part of being a puppy. Safety means being with someone bigger and stronger than you. Puppies know they are helpless which is why they try to ingratiate themselves to anyone they encounter. They are completely harmless if a little irritating.

I know some dogs ‘don’t like puppies’ and cannot be trusted around them because rather than accepting the puppy is harmless they get annoyed and lash out. Frankly I sometimes feel that way about kids. However, I don’t yell at or smack other people’s children(sometimes I’ve itched to tho) and adult dogs should not be allowed to do it to puppies. They can correct but they should not attack. Nor should they have to tolerate annoying puppy behaviour so if they don’t like it they should remove themselves from the situation or you should remove them. This is Rifka's friend(who's name I can't recall) playing with her. What shiney teeth you have ...

If your current dog has habit you want the puppy to learn then let him shadow as much as he wants. He won’t become dependent on his big friend(unless he’s a Momma’s Boy like The Boy) because he will, like all puppies, eventually turn into a teenager.

When he realizes he knows not only more than the dog who taught him but more than you and anyone in your house he will cut the apron strings and fly on his own. And get into LOTS and LOTS of trouble.

Your other dog will look on and say “I don’t think that’s a good idea” while teenage puppy destroys valuable possessions. Much like I imagine Petal did while Halo destroyed my couch. Sometimes the other dog will join in the fun … hooray peer pressure. Always remember: two dogs don’t do the same amount of damage as one dog – they do the damage of about 4 or 5 dogs. It usually results in a significant shrinking of the bank account.

So if Puppy is learning good behaviours from current dogs let him. Frankly it’s ultra-cute and if the other dog is okay with it then don’t worry. If the current dog has habits you do not want … that is a harder correction. Try to prevent puppy from seeing the behaviour and at the same time you can take advantage of the change in routine to correct the other dog’s behaviour too. Remember, it’s harder to un-teach something than it is to teach it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Many Happy Returns

The new blog picture is Momma and her Boys snuggling in for an evening nap after a trip to Crossfield and an afternoon spent DESTROYING a 30 year old teddy bear. It lasted precisely 20 minutes in my house. I went outside to clean the van and returned to carnage. My fault for leaving it exposed but honestly, with about a zillion toys in the house they had to pick him?

I feel like I’ve been busier since the puppies going to their new homes than before! I never seem to have enough time for … me. We finally have everything squared away with the truck and the dogs fit perfectly in the back.
Zero spends his time giving me the puppy eyeball and annoying Halo and Raimi ... what a cute guy.

Mungo has made the transition to his new home in Calgary very well indeed – especially with two kids to keep him occupied. He gets to make trips to the vet clinic with his mom(who is a vet ;-)) and tries to entice the dogs going into surgery to play. They can’t so he gets frustrated with them but soon he’ll be able to play with other dogs.

Isis – the puppy formerly known as Dark Pink Girl - in Edmonton also has two small children to play with. I think people with small children have it doubly hard to integrate a puppy because there are so many additional considerations. Who’s toys are who’s, what kind of play is allowed on both sides and who the boss is. I have no worries as Isis’ parents have had a Ridgeback in the past and know what they’re in for!

Lulu in Dauphin is shadowing Gibson who is not sure he’s okay with this addition to the household. I think once he realizes that she will be a play buddy at his disposal all time he’ll come around. It can be hard for the resident dog to accept that this little … thing … is now a part of their life. Hope it warms up in Dauphin soon!

Still waiting to hear from Mya in Thompson but I do hope she’s doing well and made it home safely.

And I just HAD to add this picture of Ramsey … honestly … how CUTE is that???

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Life is Beautiful

Now that everyone is in their new homes it's nice and quiet around here. Zero is a little star, already sleeping 8 hours without peeing in his crate and peeing outside whenever his feet hit the snow. I guess I set the bar pretty high for puppies as a dog trainer. I figure if he starts early learning he has to hold it then he'll be more accustomed to doing so when it really matters - like long car trips to dog shows! He made himself a little nest in his crate after I put the big lion in there with a blanket Halo had been sleeping on so he felt more cosy. He only cries about 2 or 3 minutes before settling down to sleep and 8 hours later starts to whine at 6am. He has a HUGE pee and then we head back to bed for a little lie in all together on the bed.

This is the only time the dogs get to sleep on the bed with me - besides Petal who always does. Zero cuddles up near my head under the covers and snuggles right in, Raimi sleeps along my right side and Halo curls up on the left next to my torso. Petal of course usually finds a little spot next to my legs to lie on but she can get too hot so then she lies close to the end of the bed.

Of course, he has already learned that during the day the couch is the napping place and while he needs a little boost up he can get down just fine by himself. Once he can get up on his own he will be totally self-napping suffucient.

We were out yesterday for a walk in a quiet, often un-used area of the park. He had such a good time chasing Momma and Boy and trying to keep up. It was so cute. Then it was time for a few hours nap before going to a friend's house for dinner and a playdate for the dogs. Everyone was so tired they slept like the dead.

Today is a trip to Crossfield to visit the Pulis of the world and get the van ready for it's new home. At left is the SUV I'm replacing the van with because the dogs need to be contained in the back while I'm driving and that's hard to do in the van. Over my dead body will a full sized van be my commuter vehicle and there are no other vehicles that will fit dog crates the size these guys need. So it's an SUV and a barrier to prevent me getting a poke in the eye when I shoulder check.

Pics to come of Lulu and Isis (Dark Pink Girl) in their new homes ... still waiting to hear from one home how she's doing and Shane I know is doing great - will try to get pics of him too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Waiting ...

One would think I’m suffering from empty nest syndrome. But no. I am relishing the idea that soon I will have one puppy left that I can house train, soak up all the cuteness before he’s gone and then … Raimi can have me back full time. He’s been very very patient to far – so much so that he was sharing a bone in the living room. What a great temperament on my boy. The puppies should be very similar …

Lulu and Mya flew away yesterday in a crate together and are now safely ensconced in warm houses keeping out the -30 weather they’ve been hit with again. Mya pooped and peed before we left and whined a little on the way to the airport but generally it was a much quieter trip than with Bella. They were sharing a bone with Raimi the night before they left ...

Lulu was too busy playing to remember to go potty before leaving. I told her she really should but kids never listen. Apparently she got home and had a HUGE pee but didn’t mess in the crate. What a little clever clogs. I was sure she wouldn’t hold it that long – it bodes well for house and crate training that she absolutely did not want to mess in her crate. Or maybe she didn’t want to lose face in front of Mya.

Shane is not sure the disappearing act of all his siblings is something he’s super okay with. Zero does not seem to have noticed – he’s too busy chasing Ceilidh, Raimi, Halo, chewing on things he shouldn’t and wearing himself out. Shane is a little more tentative about things that he does, of course, once he’s doing naughty things he does them well but it takes him a moment or two to warm up to new activities.

I am so impressed that everyone so far has settled in so easily to their new lives. Someone asked me if it was hard to see them go and I guess it is until I hear from their homes. I’m getting such great feedback about how smart, cute, pretty, popular, happy and well-adjusted they all are that I instantly stop worrying.

Congratulations to everyone on your new puppy. I trust you to keep them well and safe for many years to come.

Skin Deep

Lots of questions about the babies are coming from all the new homes. Most of the info you need is in the information package such as what shots they’ve had, when their next shot is due, what they get fed, feeding schedule, etc. so if you have a question likely the answer is in the package, if you can’t find it ALWAYS contact me to ask anyway. All questions are valid.

The thing I didn’t mention in the package and only mentioned to some of the new homes was about the micro-chip scab. It’s over the right shoulder and was glued shut so it will take some time for the glue to go away. It’s over the right shoulder because it could be mistaken for a dermoid if it’s between the shoulder blades where the chip is normally put. Most vets – if they get a stray or lost dog – scan the whole dog anyway because the chips can migrate to other areas of the body.

Also, apparently Eidap has changed their process in the last few months and I need to verify for them that I’ve sold the dog to you so I will get an email if you register the dog with the company. I will make sure to do this for all dogs that have their chips registered.

If you move to the USA the Eidap chip is NOT recognized – Eidap is an internationally standard chip accepted by most countries of the world except … you guessed it … the USA. They market their own chips some of which are NOT recognized by any other country except the USA. Make sense? Of course not. This means if your dog gets lost in the USA most vets will NOT be able to read the chip because they likely won’t have the scanner required to read an Eidap chip. Canada accepts some of the USA chips such as Home Again and Avid but the reverse is not true.

You will likely be able to feel the chip under your puppy’s skin for several weeks yet but eventually the skin will thicken and you won’t be able to find it anymore. I know of a dog who’s chip migrated into her leg and you could easily see and feel it as a little bump. Here’s hoping not a single one of these little guys get lost anywhere ever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fly Away Home

We are now down to 4 babies. It's so quiet around here. Everyone is settling in to their new homes ...

Bella left yesterday on a flight to Victoria. She screamed all the way to the airport and pooped in her crate. I'm not sure which happened first. Maybe she was screaming because she wanted out of the poopy crate. Either way she made it safely to her new home and has already discovered the joys of your own brand new bed.

Ramsey is kicking Pug butt in Springbank. This is his new little buddy Deuce who is teaching Ramsey a thing or two I imagine. He's got to get his licks in early because soon Ramsey will outweigh him by quite a bit! They have lots of room to run which I'm sure Ramsey will take advantage of while Deuce supervises.

Little Karma with her friend Kenya in Brooks obviously has everyone wrapped around her little paw. She a princess who knows how to kick some butt. I hear she is very good at ambushing Kenya from under the bed and scaring her pretty badly. Kenya will soon have a little sister to wrestle with and has already discovered the benefits of a nap buddy/pillow puppy.

Rory in Calgary has a good teacher in Seth. Poor Seth doesn't know what hit him - apparently he thought they might have been just transporting Rory for me somewhere else. But alas Rory came home with them. And has the audacity to share his bed. Good ol' Seth tho seems very patient with him and doesn't mind sharing. For now.

Kona in Edmonton seems to have a little buddy too. He will soon grow into that bed and that alligator will be toast - especially if he has a squeaker inside. What is it about the squeaker than they MUST destroy? For now tho the alligator is a good bed buddy because he doesn't kick or hog the covers. I must admit I love to see them sleeping so comfortably ...
Rifka in Edmonton has several friends to keep her occupied - two pitties, a fox terrier and a cocker - oh and a lot of horses. Here she is obviously confused about what part of the softness is the pillow - but when it's already heated how can you turn it down? She was introduced to the horses and seemed to think they weren't going to eat her which is a nice start.
Mungo is in Calgary but he's camera shy. However he's settling in too and has his very own bed with a ramp ... lucky boy. Soon those long legs will catch up with ambition and he won't need a ramp. There's time yet for that tho.
Lulu and Mya fly out to Winnipeg tomorrow and Shane goes home this weekend. It's been a great ride - they must have been born with the Christmas spirit because they've all been so very good - no coal for these guys!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Some Ridgeback breeders will say you can't own a cat with these dogs. Those narrow minded thinkers pigeon hole these hounds as cat killers unable to curb their chase instinct. I say bollocks. Ask my cat ... ask my dogs ... they are sleeping less than a foot away from each other and when they are awake ... the cat teases the dogs into chasing her.

When it comes to the dogs and puppies ... Ceilidh is happy to teach a thing or two ...

For a long while she didn't bother with the puppies much, I think she saw them as some other-worldy creatures far beneath her notice. She was interested enough to take a peek when they were born and then occassionally pop her head in to see what sort of fiasco they were perpetrating. She didn't seem to want to be involved.

When her interest in them began she was first popping her head in the room to take a peek while they were focussed on playing . If one spotted her she pretended not to be looking and headed back up the hall post haste. Nonchalant at speed as only a cat can.

Then we progressed to out and out interest. Close quarters, good sniff by puppies, mild replusion by her. She is declawed (but not of my making) and so she knows that her best defense is height.

However height doesn't mean invisible. It means unless you keep moving they will figure out a way to reach up and grab, poke, sniff and wave paws at you. They also make noise at her which she doesn't much like. Mostly it's frustrated whining with an occasional bark.

Gradually she just gets higher and higher but never panics. You may also notice the garbage can has followed the cat to the edge of the tub - it kept emptying itself on the floor of the bathroom somehow. The cat says "It wasn't me."

At last she is making sure they are all in order. She knows they can't get to her there ...

... but Raimi can.

She also likes to bat the heads of the puppies much like the carnival game Whack-A-Mole. I think she secretly likes the entertainment but she will never win a cheap stuffed toy. If she did likely it would be covered in puppy poop or pee ... or both.

Gone in 60 Seconds

It's been a crazy crazy day. We're down by half so far, Rifka left last night to go to Edmonton to her new pittie friends and fox terrier who she will out grow alarmingly fast. Tomorrow another goes and then another ... then two and then one. I took a picture yesterday morning of them all together on the futon and it turned out quite well. Everyone is there - I can't identify all of them but they are all accounted for in their last day as a dozen.

It was a busy day evaluating, vaccinating and meeting their 5 new homes. They all went off with saucer eyes and wrinkles in full force. I'm sure they are all settling in and getting to know their new families. I feel a little sadness at their going but everyone who came was so excited and happy to have their puppy at last it made the parting much less sorrow.

Little CPR Ramsey who has finally caught up in size (to his sisters at least). Big Ol' Rory who's puppy package I missed and who ended up with Ramsey's micro-chip info. Kissing Karma who was held and held and held again by an adoring little girl. Wide eyed Kona who settled into his new dad's arms with his head inside the jacket to fall asleep. Sleepy Mungo who was woken from a comfy nap to be packaged safely in his crate for his ride home.

Now we have Miss No Name pink who is going tomorrow morning and is promised a name by the time they get here ;-) Bella will hop on a flight to Victoria Monday to enjoy the lack of snow and an earlier spring than we'll ever see. Then Lulu and Mya ship out via Westjet to Manitoba in a crate together and then will part ways in Winnipeg. Then Shane will move just a few blocks away to start a new life tormenting Ryder. And finally we are down to Zero ... which is actually one. He will stay til it's safe for him to head to Utah where he will represent Canadian Ridgebacks in the American show rings.

Halo was saying goodbye yesterday which I actually think involved her telling them she was changing the locks and they were not to ask to borrow any money. She was losing patience with them and growling a lot so it was short good bye.

It's so odd now to have so few. They are certainly much quieter and seem a little baffled by the absence of some of their buddies. They recover quickly tho and are not pining much for the loss. I hear paper being re-arranged in the room and am now off to ponder the why's and how's of a litter of twelve reduced to six still making the mess of a litter of twelve.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Long Goodbye

It has become evident they are more than ready to bid one another good riddance. Now we are so close to them leaving I felt it I needed to put down what I wanted to remember about each of them.

Mr Black aka Rory has had ENOUGH of these hooligans. Three times I pulled him out of the fray to tell him he did not need to get so worked up. When he grumbled at me I said NO! you don’t talk to me like that. He looked contrite for a moment but I didn’t believe him. His new brother Seth will teach him a thing or two I’m sure.

Ms Maroon aka Mya is always looking for attention. Every time I lean down to do something she’s in my face. Well, they all are, but Mya in particular sits back and then, using all of her little strength, jumps up to whack me in the cheek with both paws. I’ve gotten wise and avoid the smack down but sometimes she still catches me. I try not to think about where her feet have been.

Mr Orange aka Ramsey is catching up with everyone else. He won’t match Zero or Rory by the time they leave but he’s definitely getting harder to pick out – normally I could spot him easily because of his size but now he blends. One of his favorite things to do is go under a sibling instead of around when he wants to get by. He is a little angel.

Ms LW Girl aka Karma likes to look at me. If I speak she is almost always the first to arrive. No matter what I’m doing she is usually within a couple feet of me. Apparently I am supremely fascinating. She has big eyes that gaze at you, not the kind of stare where you feel like she knows what you’re thinking, more the curious “What are you doing? It looks interesting. Can I help?” stare.

LW Boy aka Shane is a little trouble maker. He was chewing on my belt loop last night and I pushed him away at least 4 times. This morning he wanted kisses from me … Shane’s kisses start out all gentle and then after about 4 licks … CHOMP. I’ve gotten wise to his ways but he’s a naughty little monkey. His new brother Ryder is going to have a heart attack.

Ms Green aka Lulu is the watcher in the pack. She is quick to run to something interesting but it’s almost as though she’s deciding if it’s worth investigating. Waste not want not and all that. She has not lost her patience with her siblings much, I think she prefers to hang back and avoid the mayhem. Her new big brother Gibson will appreciate her thoughtful nature I think.

Mr Red aka Mungo means business. He is always looking for something to do. He doesn’t much start any altercations but he doesn’t back down if one comes to him. Often I lose track of him because he’s off somewhere being a busy boy. He certainly knows what he wants and like a little tank he elbows his way to his goal no matter who is in the way.

Ms Pale Pink aka Bella likes to do whatever the popular kids are doing. She used to be a little more independent but age (HA!) has perhaps made her wiser and a little more cautious. She is a bit of a follower now although I think it’s more that she doesn’t believe everything is a good idea and if the game doesn’t play out the way she thinks it should she moves onto other things.

Mr White aka Kona is a pretty independent boy but enjoys attention from me. He plays with the other puppies on his terms. Once he’s done, he’s done. He doesn’t really tell anyone off … he just leaves. He can be found playing by himself but if invited to a game he certainly joins in. He doesn’t demand attention but welcomes it when it comes, I think he appreciates it more that way.

Ms Dark Pink aka I Don’t Have a Name Yet is a pretty independent sort and seems to prefer my company over the other puppies. She gets right in there when its playtime but after the initial run amok fest she can often be found by herself playing with the corner of the towel or a toy. If I make noises at her she comes running and snuggles and kisses. She likes to look at me a lot and those big wide eyes are full of smarts.

Ms Yellow aka Rifka is the Biff girl. She can often be found in the middle of the pack kicking some boy butt and taking names. She’s not generally feisty or pushy … just throws her weight around. She is a very confident puppy and doesn’t generally need me to cuddle lots … I’m convenient for a good kiss and cuddle now and then but then she squirms to get back to butt kicking. Kind of like the “MOM … my friends are watching!”

Mr Blue aka Zero is a show boy who knows it. He always the very last puppy to sleep because something exciting might happen that he’d miss. He loves attention and is on the alert for any new toys or activity that comes their way. He plays very fair with his siblings and never starts a spat but will muscle in on a good wrestling match given the chance. He seems to be fearless going into new territory and welcomes adventure. A huge bonus for a potential show dog. He’s staying with me a little longer than the rest and Raimi will be thrilled.

They are all so sweet – I feel bad that I couldn’t offer each of them the attention they deserve given the number but with the help of people coming to visit they have gotten a lot of cuddles and kisses to tide them over til their new homes. To have 12 healthy, happy, well adjusted puppies heading out into the world to represent the Ridgeback is a blessing and I am very proud of them and especially their mother – despite our struggles!

Monday, February 11, 2008


There has been an explosion. There are puppies .... everywhere. It's like they suddenly multiplied by a zillion and are now just monstrous. Although - thinking about it, I do believe they are mostly ear. I mean ... their ears are HUGE. I wonder if the creators of Dumbo saw a Ridgeback puppy at this age and thought - what a ridiculous ear size. They are huge flaps of velvety softness - I defy anyone to come up with a material softer than a Ridgeback puppy ear. Ever touched something so soft you didn't think you could feel it? That soft.

However, nothing compares with the size of their poop. It seems to be proportionly two times larger than it should be for a dog this size. I have to clean it up so I have become intimately aquinted with the output of a dozen puppies. I find it's easier to actually ignore the poop and make sure I catch the pee because between cleaning up one or the other ... I prefer poop I have to say. So much tider. They also seem to actively avoid stepping in the poop but don't mind tracking pee every where. Any poop stepping is accidental at best and immediately the puppy goes "Ew".

I have basically turned a blind eye to the mayhem that ensues everytime they come out. I just cannot keep track of the destruction. This morning I slept in because I accidentally turned dow the volume on my alarm. I rushed to clean them out, threw down some paper and turned my back for two seconds. They thought that the paper floating from heaven was so much FUN. Blind eyed turned.

Small twinges of sadness grip me once in a while thinking about them going. I hope their new homes are fun and they love long lives and make their people happy. I know they have to go but I still worry. This litter was so much easier than the last and I couldn't wait for those demons to go. These little guys are so good and such easy puppies they spoiled me. Some of them are going far away ... once they're gone ... they're gone. Can anyone else take care of them as well as I do? Of course .... but moms always worry.