Puppy socialization diary: day 1

THE CLOCK IS TICKING!

As you know, a major soapbox of mine is how important socialization is for puppies. When puppies arrive at 8 or 9 weeks, they’re like little sponges – ready to experience all kinds of things and primed to fit those things into their view of the world. Once they hit 12 weeks, they’ll respond to new situations, people, stimuli, and animals (including other dogs) with substantially more caution or fear. So you have to flood them with as many positive associations and different experiences as you possibly can, so they’ll have very few encounters that they don’t feel happy and comfortable with throughout their whole lives.

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Friday is a SUPER happy puppy. Nothing bothers her and nothing scares her, but she’s not hyper (at least not yet!). We want to keep it that way. I could absolutely wreck her by isolating her or not exposing her to new stuff.

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So I thought I’d keep a diary of what we do for the next four weeks, because having to write it down will keep me on track. Every day counts.

First walk around the apartment complex! Met three other people and a Min Pin.

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At the house to work on fencing and paint the basement. Got to hang out with Bronte (who was the only big dog we brought). Met one adult, two other dogs, both male. One of the other dogs was a large breed. Got substantially covered with paint. She doesn’t have white beauty marks on her ears – that’s paint.

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Was cute.

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Demonstrated how quickly she could get absolutely filthy.

Being won over

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When new puppies come into the house, there’s usually a period of time where I look at them and they look at me and we kind of size each other up and make some decisions. Clue is the only one I can ever remember the bonding being immediate – she came out of that crate and unicorns sang and angels cried and an organ played right there in the Delta cargo terminal.

Little French Fry here has been more of what I would consider a normal experience. I was thrilled she was here safely, happy she loved the kids, glad that she seemed to come out of her shipping “shell” quickly. It wasn’t until after the kids went to bed that I started trying to get to know her.

Other breeders know what I’m talking about when I say that we buy the body and hope the brain comes along for the ride. We MUST select our possible show and breeding dogs based on their bodies, as long as they pass a certain minimal “non-spooky” personality test, so sometimes you do end up with keepers that aren’t the ones that called out to you personality-wise. You work with what you have, and try to bring out the best in whatever you kept, but it can be a bit of a trial sometimes.

I’ll be able to say more over the next few weeks, but right now I’m VERY happy that this one brought her brain along with her. She’s been almost completely unflappable. Vacuum? Yawn. Cat? No big deal. Other dogs? Please respect my personal space, thank you, now let’s play. Happy to eat, found the water bowl right away, asks to come up on the couch but if I say no she just puts her head on my foot. She’s very pushy physically, which I love; when I lift her up on the couch she comes over and slings her head over my leg or mashes her nose into my hand and falls asleep. If I push her aside to make room so I can type, she flops on her back and falls asleep.

She is a little frood who definitely knows where her towel is.

Getting to know…

More pics, I promise, as I take them. Right now we’re trying to clean up and get kids in bed.

She’s a very nice “in-your-pocket” puppy. Walks when you walk; when you stop she circles your feet two or three times and ends up in heel position (really quite funny!). She’s calm – at least today! – and confident with very little noise or fuss. She was badass enough to bite at Clue when Clue got too pushy, but is appropriate with the big dogs otherwise. ADORES the kids.

Conformation-wise I’m very pleased. I’ll stack her up and take pics tomorrow if I can. She has a really gorgeous rear, tons of angle and a cute short hock. Her shoulder is where it’s supposed to be. She’s got a lot A LOT of bone and is fuzzy as heck (she’s not a fluff but is definitely going to have a lot of “fancy” in her coat). So I have to dig through her coat to find landmarks, but once I’m in there I’m happy. She’s got a different face than my other two did; I don’t know what she’s going to look like.

She’s lying at my feet, on her back, tugging at my skirt, which I LOVE. Ballsy puppies are the quickest way to my heart.

Deja vu all over again

As has been the case with the other puppies we’ve gotten from Betty Ann, this one arrived

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Withdrawn,

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Shy,

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And sad.

These were taken about 30 minutes ago, in a Trader Joe’s parking lot outside the city. The trip in was AWFUL; it usually takes 45 minutes, we left ourselves an hour, and it ended up taking almost two. I-93 was a parking lot from three towns north of the city all the way to the airport. I spent more time in tunnels than I ever want to again.

So we were late picking her up and by the time we got her she had been in that crate for six hours. Poor baby. As soon as her feet touched grass, though, she walked over, saw Tabitha, and said “Well, heck, there she is.” She could care less about me right now; she just wants Tabitha. We’ll see how long that lasts once she realizes that mine are The Hands That Hold Out Meat. She’s a happy, waggy, happy, did I mention happy puppy.

And! Her name is Friday. Everyone was right – that’s what she looks like.

Name feedback

First of all, you guys come up with some GREAT names.

Here are the “Other” suggestions:

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Orange You Bad…call name Squirt

South Sea, call name Bali

Black Label (call name Whiskey)

South China Sea (call name- China)

Bittersweet Symphony “Sweetie”

Smoke on the Water, call name Geneva (or, then. Neve/Niamh)

South Sea (call name Poly)

Trouble the Water (call name Maya)

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I absolutely LOVE Orange You Bad and I am totally going to use that someday. The Sea/Water ones are awesome too. And I’ve been singing Bittersweet Symphony ever since I read that suggestion.

Looks like the frontrunners are Summer of Love (Paisley), Friday I’m in Love (Friday) and Short Skirt Long Jacket (call name TBA). I too have a weakness for food/alcohol names, but as a Baptist pastor’s kid I can’t use Whiskey :). Somehow I’d feel sinful every time I called her name!

I’m leaning toward one or two but I’ll let you know what she looks like when she gets here. Many pictures to come!