It's been awhile since I blogged about the Imagine litter. They turned 5 months old with the New Year and all their families were awesome about sending me new photos, so I thought I'd do a post with a few updates and a continuation of the "head study" collages I started with this litter. I really find these fascinating! First - here are their 5 month "mug shots". I think they are all beauties!
The puppies are truly growing up fast! Jo Jo is very nearly as big as his mother! He has not been weighed for awhile so I don't know what he weighs but I know he is STRONG! He has managed to pull me down once on a walk! We have been intently working on "walking nice" since then with modest progress! Both Sadie and Aurora had occasion to visit the vet in the past couple weeks and they are both over 30 lbs now. Kiki has caught up to the others also weighing in tonight at just over 36 pounds! I think these girls are all going to be substantial elegant Dalmatians weighing just around 50 lbs at maturity. Maxwell is more substantial than Jo Jo who is nearly as big as his mama so I think they will both top out closer to 60 lbs.
We meet up almost every week with Maxwell and Aurora's families for a walk. Sadie was able to join us once and hopefully will some more. It's so great to get to see them all together and watch them grow up! Some highlight photos of those walks were in the video I posted last week, so I won't put more here.
Everyone is pretty much done with losing their puppy teeth. Jo Jo just finally lost his canines last week. It is so nice not to have those needles piercing my skin anymore! I think all their bites seem good. Bad bites aren't common in Dalmatians but it can happen that they are over or undershot which is a fault in the conformation ring.
They are all full blown adolescents now. That means they are very busy finding new ways of getting into trouble. All of them have the inherent Dalmatian counter surfing gene. Kiki has become very adept at finding puppy gates accidentally left ajar and escaping into off-limits parts of the house to wreak havoc. Aurora has mastered getting attention through "vocalization". Maxwell and Jo Jo are boys and very interested in their own boy parts! Jo Jo actually lifted his leg on a tree today during our walk! None of them show any remorse for any of their misdeeds! Imagine that! Here are a few fun photos.
We need to begin working on training for the show ring. Hopefully there will be dog shows on a routine basis somewhere besides Florida, South Carolina, Alaska and Texas soon! But in the meantime, these puppies do a fair job of just stacking themselves! Here are a few of them!
Last but not least, following are the collages of each puppy's head shots from 1 day old to 5 months old. It is really interesting to me to see how their heads develop and change! Until next time.....Please stay well!
Everyone has their 2020 stories to tell! I choose to sum mine up with "walkin & chalkin". The year began with unspeakable personal sorrow, then expanded to national and global sorrows. Our losses of Raj and then Lucy in the first two months of the year literally scarred me for life. But what our nation and the world has been through since March - not just from the pandemic - were things I could never have imagined in my lifetime. I am thankful for the simple joy of chalk messages, that - so far - my family remains alive, the joy of new friends that our pretty puppies brought into our lives, and the hope that a new year might bring. My link to sanity is walking almost every day with my Dalmatians. This year, we walked 1,992 miles, and I leashed up at least one dog to walk 358 days in 2020! Since I started keeping track of my miles with my dogs in May of 2013, we have logged 13,210.8 miles or 53% of my personal goal to walk the equivalent of the circumference of the Earth at the Equator! As one of my Dalmatian Distance Log Program friends pointed out, we are on our way home!
For some unknown reason, early in the Pandemic, I got some sidewalk chalk and started leaving rudimentary chalk messages on our daily walks. We did them for 101 consecutive days and then sporadically throughout the rest of the year. I am stunned by the number of strangers who stop me walking randomly to thank me for these little notes of hope. It's good to do good.
Enjoy this little slide show of the highlights of our walks from 2020. ONWARD!
Thanks to everyone who voted, voted, voted! It's been a long and tense week. Now it's time to remember >>>
The puppies are now 14 weeks old, and they are growing, growing, growing! This post will be short on words and long on photos and videos!
Jo Jo and I have continued our quest to go somewhere new almost every day. We are so blessed to live in a community with hundreds (literally) of parks! I just get in the car and say, "Siri, Parks near me." She instantly pulls up a long list. I pick one and hit the road! This week we visited several new ones as well as a trip to PetSmart. Jo Jo's "thing" this week is to be disturbed by inanimate objects. The sign at a park; A statue at the park; A rag laying on the floor by the cat adoption area at PetSmart; My shadow late at night. Imagine that! A calm reassuring voice and some kibble always get him beyond his fear, but it is interesting to watch what this little bruiser finds threatening!
The first baby tooth has been reported lost by first born Maxwell! If Jo Jo doesn't stop puncturing my hands, I may begin extracting his prematurely!
We had a meet up with Maxwell mid-week at Chesterfield Central Park. And today, we met Maxwell and Aurora at Faust Park. We walked way further than we should have with young puppies, but it was fun. Thanks to Riley for serving as Team Photographer again!
Photos included of pretty Kiki who broke into the laundry room and found a cozy spot for a nap, some of Jo Jo's adventures this week, and our outing today with the gang. I also indulge myself by including the latest Spotter magazine cover which features our pretty Rhani - mom to the Imagine babies! Videos include Jo Jo's bad walking on a leash skills, Kiki's "bring it" with her signature Drop, Roll & Stop move (which she does every single time she needs to stop running!), and playtime at class on Wednesday night.
Enjoy! Until Next Time....
I have lots of fun puppy photos and news to share, but first, I want to ask everyone who reads this to VOTE if you have not already done so. I will not go on about who to vote for, but I will say that this is the most important election of our lifetimes. All our voices need to be heard. I will also ask that you pick the Democrat or the Republican (not some third party which is just wasting your vote.) It might mean you have to hold your nose, but just do it! Our country has never been so divided since the Civil War. We need to remember that "We can disagree without being disagreeable" R.I.P R.B.G.
Now to the news of the week!
The puppies are now 13 weeks old, but on the calendar, officially 3 months! I'm really pleased with how they are all turning out so far - physically and mentally!
Kiki's training last Sunday went well. The trainer was very impressed with how smart she is and rated her "at the top of the scale" for ease of training! Wow! But Tom, and the rest of us, are being reminded that puppies take one step forward and two back when it comes to training. Puppies like to test their limits (just like teenagers). They can be perfect one day and hellions the next! Patience. Patience. Patience. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. They will be grown up in a year or so! Hey, we have put up with COVID for almost a year now. We can put up with a puppy that long!
Here are some photos of Kiki and her family from last week. Such a cutie pie with a family to match!!
Jo Jo and I continue to go to new places almost everyday. Sadly this week, two of his new places were vet offices! He spiked a fever late Wednesday afternoon, so instead of going to class, we went to the emergency vet. $300 and 3 hours later, we don't know what caused it, but he came home with subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics. (We will get to see if that 30 free days of pet insurance offered by AKC with registration is worth anything!) The next morning he was still running the fever and trembling, so I made an appointment at the new vet we are going to try. By the afternoon when the appointment was scheduled, he was back to his own ornery self, (Imagine that!) but we went anyway. After the new vet checked him over thoroughly, I told him about the concerns expressed by last week's vet. He put Jo Jo back on the table and thoroughly re-examined him. He could find NOTHING wrong with him. I probably should report that other clinic to the state board! Anyway, he's fine now. In fact, he finally has mastered getting himself into the rocking chair in the kitchen. He weighed 23.2 lbs on Thursday. We've been to several new parks this week, he experienced some cool children's playground equipment, went through the car wash, and met lots of new people. Of course, he's had car rides every day to get to all these interesting places! We continue to work on recall and this week we starting working on "Stand" using the "wait...one...two...three..." method. I'm pretty happy with how quickly he has figured out to hold still till the magic word "three"! Perhaps this week, we will start working on "walking nicely on a lead"! See photos below from our Saturday pack walk!
We had a big meet up at a new park on Saturday! Michael and Sadie joined us for the first time. It was a beautiful day. Jo Jo wasn't as bad a bully as usual and the puppies had a great time exploring rocks, a lake, bridges, the play ground, meeting people - especially little children, and visiting with each other! Thanks to Riley for manning the camera for most of the walk and capturing some fun memories! Some after walk Halloween photos also included. Isn't Aurora cute in her "Super Girl" costume?
Again - I feel so blessed to have such fantastic families to love our babies!
Enjoy the photos! Until next time....
It's been nearly a week since I posted and what a week it was. Sit back for a longish blog post by me. I have a lot on my mind. And there are many more photos than usual.
Before we talk about the Imagine puppies, I have to talk about heart breaking news I received this morning when I opened FaceBook Messenger. One of Baili's puppies, Raj's brother, Thor (Sheldon as a baby) died suddenly and completely unexpectedly last night. He was loved by his family, Carl, Anna & Megan Ericksen, in Arizona, and by his sister and housemate, Lady Sif (Penny as a baby). Thor was very special to Carl who had always lived in a house full of women and female Dalmatians. Thor was his first boy buddy. We have no idea what happened that caused Thor to go from perfectly fine and outwardly healthy, to having a seizure (which he'd never had before) and moments later being gone. As a breeder, this is gut wrenching. I know the agony of losing a dog you love with all your heart far before his time. Please, everyone, say a prayer of comfort for the Ericksen's and hug your dogs close tonight. Please also say a prayer for Lady Sif. She is bilaterally deaf and depended on Thor a lot. I am just so sad for all involved. I know the Ericksen's will want to get a new boy puppy soon. If you are a breeder reading this, there is not a better family to love one of your puppies.
It is hard to segue from that, but life is a circle. Every Day IS A Gift.
So.... the puppies are 12 weeks old today! That means it is time for their second set of vaccinations. I've had the same vet since we moved here 20 years ago. He was a good diagnostician, but he disliked any input from the owner. (I always had input! LOL) When Raj got hurt, I asked him to get me an appointment at the Vet School with the neurologists and he wouldn’t do it. That just did it for me. I had been taking Lucy to this new vet office nearby that did acupuncture and laser therapy. I liked them. That’s where I had her euthanized and they were so kind and their offices were so comfortable and comforting (environment wise). So I decided to try them. Baili had an anal gland problem this summer and I liked the way they handled that. Anyway, I had the litter’s first shots at 8 weeks at our reproductive vet. He examined all the puppies thoroughly (which I was allowed to observe) and pronounced them all perfectly fit. But I decided to start Jo Jo with the new vet. It's all curbside there, so the vet calls me after her exam and tells me that he has pain in his hips and recommends some ridiculous surgery (JPS) to artificially close the growth plates. Then she tells me he should not be bred because it would be unethical if he has been surgically altered and he should be neutered. Are you kidding me? I was completely insulted that she would think I would even consider breeding a dog that had been altered to correct some serious condition! However, Dalmatians have almost no incidence of Hip Dysplasia (which is what this surgery is meant to head off). It is also a genetic condition, and this pedigree is full of CHIC Dalmatians with good to excellent OFA hip evaluations. He has shown ZERO indication that he has any pain in his hips at home - running up and down the hill in our back yard, zoomies with his mom, up and down the stairs inside and out multiple times a day, jumping on me, jumping over the ex-pen gate entrances, wrestling with his siblings, multiple leash walks every single day, etc. etc. What he does show is discomfort being manhandled! He is extremely independent and does not like to be messed with. I have never before heard of this “surgery”. I checked with a couple good friends who have been breeding a lot longer than me and neither had they. Oh, and this must be done before he is 20 weeks old. There is nothing wrong with this boy physically - maybe mentally, but not physically. Who suggests such a thing based on a palpation? I asked if they would confirm an abnormality via X-Ray or MRI before surgery and the answer was no. INSANE! I did research the surgery. It is legit, but X-ray confirmation of the abnormality is suggested and it is primarily for breeds that have high incidence of hip dysplasia Ok. Now I am all pissed off again. I shouldn’t have written about it. If he turns out to be dysplastic when I take him for OFA x-rays at 2 years old, I will go back and give them my apologies. But I’m pretty sure though that they are whacko! I did send them a well-considered email explaining why I would not be back to their clinic. I just feel bad for all the unsuspecting casual pet owners who take their little puppies there and are given advice to have a probably unnecessary procedure. Wow!
Thank you for letting me get that off my chest!
Now for 12 week old puppy adventures! Well - first they are growing! Imagine that! Maxwell and Jo Jo weigh 22 lbs. Kiki weighs 17 lbs. and we bet Aurora is 20 - 22 lbs. (She holds her own with her brothers!) Sadie goes for her shots Monday so we will find out about her after that! Here are their 12 week mug shots! I am prejudiced, but I sure think these are pretty babies! (Left to right/Top to bottom - Maxwell, Sadie, Kiki (PKA-Rita), Aurora (PKA-Lizzy) and JoJo.
Maxwell stayed with us from last Saturday till Wednesday AM while his girls played in miserable weather conditions at their golf tournament. We went to visit our friend Linda, and the puppies met a Mini Bull Terrier. Maxwell got to meet our next door neighbor's dogs - Bucky and Patch, as well as many of our neighbors. He also got some short walks along busy Clayton Road with traffic zooming by. Steven and Cat came to visit and played in the yard with the puppies. Maxwell taught Jo Jo the joys of using the pool cover as a trampoline! I will admit that after a day or so, I abandoned cheese as the "break 'em up" strategy and resorted to banging two metal pans together over their heads. It was equally effective in stopping the madness and much easier for me to manage! We had a grand time despite pedicures on Monday! I think Maxwell was happy to be home with his favorite bed though!
While this was the third week we went to class, it was the first "official" class in a 6 week AKC Star Puppy program. Aurora, Maxwell and Jo Jo are all enrolled and they make it interesting! This week we continued to work on "Come" and started work on "Down" and "Trade" which I call "Drop It"! Hard to imagine that these puppies will be AKC Star Puppies in just 6 weeks, but we will give it a try! Sorry no photos!
Kiki is starting training with a trainer at the house tomorrow, but her training is already well underway with the family! One of her self-acquired skills is digging and burying things in the yard. Oh Joy! She was a big hit at the vet clinic today! They sent me several great photos this week. She is just such a pretty girl!
Maxwell arrived last night to spend a few nights with us while his people are out of town. I was a little nervous about whether Jo Jo would be nice or not since he's been such a bully to his siblings at puppy class the past two weeks. (He's nice to all other dogs he meets - just his siblings!) Carola and our trainer told me that when he goes after one of them to shove cheese or some really good treat in his face. That sounded completely counter-intuitive to me - like rewarding bad behavior, but guess what....it worked! The pups are mostly playing nice together now! Rhani was happy to see Maxwell although she is less interested in playing with two puppies than with one. She likes them better out in the yard than inside or on the patio. Out there she can do zoomies with them! Inside, they are just scary!
Maxwell is being a very good house guest. The three of them eat together and all sit before they get their food! He didn't make a peep in his crate last night (or have an accident) even though he is used to getting breakfast before 6AM but at my house breakfast isn't served till about 7:30!
Today got even more exciting because we met Sheryl, Madison and Aurora at Longview for a walk. Plus Cindy and Steven joined us with the puppies' Great Aunt Lexie. Three 11 week old Dalmatians along with Lexi drew quite a lot of attention - all good for the puppies! This was pretty Aurora's (PKA Lizzy) first visit to Longview and she did great! We saw horses, skate boarders, baby strollers, met little children, lots of adults and a friendly large "oodle-something" named Carley, did the open stair steps, witnessed an almost dog fight, chased lots of leaves, smelled lots of things, and did it all with good humor! After the park, Aurora came by the house for a play date with the boys in the yard. Everyone was pretty tired after 2 solid hours of stimulating activity - including me! However, Maxwell was not too tired to figure out how to get in the rocking chair. (JoJo still can't do it, but Maxwell is now a bit taller than Jo Jo and that little extra leg was just enough to hoist himself in!) Thanks to Cindy and Steven for being our "pupographers" and sharing the photos they took!
Since I last posted, besides Longview today which wasn't a new place, but it was new to go in a "pack", Jo Jo has been to two different sections of Queeny Park, and Home Depot. At Queeny, we found something Jo Jo doesn't care to walk on - Sand! Weird! He walks on gravel and river rocks, but sand, he did not like! Couldn't get out of it fast enough!
We also went to our second puppy class Thursday evening. We were a big fail at class on the recall. Every other puppy ran straight to its owner. Not JoJo! Oh no! He headed straight to the end of the puppy line and eventually came to me when he was good and ready! Imagine that! This after we played hide and seek in the yard all week and he got a treat from me every single time he came to me. Deep sigh....
Michael's video below is part of a 3 min training session teaching Sadie "come" and "free". He already has a plan for her beginning Scent Work training! I asked if he could come train Jo Jo! Kiki (PKA Rita) has new sleeping quarters, is practicing walking nicely on the leash at Lowe's, being loved and standing around being pretty! Again - I am so blessed to have such wonderful families for all these puppies!
Until next time....
As part of Jo Jo's social development during his first 12 weeks of life, I've been taking him someplace different every day. He's gotten to be quite the little traveler, hoisting himself onto the rear bumper every time I open the back hatch of the Acadia! Last Saturday, we met up with the whole Marino family and Maxwell at a new little park just up the street from us. What a big morning for the brothers! Grocery shopping carts, pumpkins, lots of Starbucks customers, an underground pedestrian tunnel, fake coyotes, real geese and ducks, a life sized horse & dog statue, a fountain, a waterfall, lovely sweet adult Labrador Retrievers named Moose and Luna, fire trucks and firemen...OH MY! Maxwell has lost most of his baby fat and is looking good! He is such a sweet boy! Both of the boys weighed 17 1/2 lbs mid to late week last week. They are growing up fast!
Sunday, Jo Jo and I went to Longview, but we walked through the park rather than just around the pasture. There, he mastered open stairs without hesitation, walked across bridges, saw more people on bikes, a horse up close and baby strollers, got petted by children, met a 12 week old Golden named Josie and smelled a lot of stuff!
Monday, we went an extra block along Clayton Rd outside our subdivision and made an impromptu visit to my walking acquaintance, Linda, who happened to be in her front yard when we walked by. Lots of traffic whizzing by, Linda's three young grandchildren who were laughing and squealing and making all kinds of children noises as they rode scooters and tricycles around the driveway, Linda's little Yorkie - named Cody, and a nice visit with my friend!
Tuesday, we went to Lamp & Lantern Shopping Center. What a good idea, I thought! People coming and going from shops, outdoor patio restaurants, parking lot traffic, a pet supply store....What could go wrong? Well Jo Jo was very interested in one of the natural areas while I talked to a shop owner who came out to admire him. Next thing I know, he's got something - I think a small skeleton, but who knows???, in his mouth. We haven't yet learned "leave it" or "drop it". So there I am, trying to wrestle this - whatever it is - from "little" Jo Jo's jaws. Well, he decides it's his and uses those jaws to chomp down on my thumb and middle finger! OMG - it hurt soooo bad! Blood everywhere! And Jo Jo swallowed the "whatever"! What a little "S!@#!" We walked calmly back to the car where I used Clorox Wipes to clean up my hand and mostly stop the bleeding. Then we somewhat completed our rounds of the shops, but he did not get a treat or a new toy from the pet supply store. Imagine that! Instead, he got 2 cc's of Peroxide when we got home and got to empty his stomach! I did not careful search the contents, but everything seems to be moving along normally today, so hopefully, the "whatever" was purged from his little system!
Today, we visited the salons where I get my nails and hair done. Lots of interesting smells and different people to meet. We also walked across a busy street, experienced his first manhole grates, and stopped at a private school for a walk on the way home. Fortunately, he did NOT consume anything he shouldn't have! We keep working on checking "experiences" off the list!
It's not that easy to think of different places to go every day! Maybe tomorrow we will venture over to Queeny Park. It's huge and he can only walk a little ways at this point. That should be good for several days because there are multiple parking lots and we can head in different directions on different days!
He has not yet mastered climbing into the rocking chair (or any of the inside furniture). So now, in the mornings, he's convinced Rhani to share her bed with him when they decide to settle down following their after breakfast romp. Those romps are increasingly active. Rhani doesn't wear her collar anymore when he's around because he is obsessed with biting it. They are spending more and more time running in the back yard, but he's still too small to be out there unsupervised. There are places in our fence line that he could scoot under if he decided he really wanted to.
I continue to get good reports from Kiki (PKA - Rita), Sadie and Aurora (PKA - Lizzy). Everybody has had baths now (except Jo Jo!) Tom has been searching for a good trainer and found a highly recommended guy who is doing online classes due to COVID. They start soon, but she already has learned heel and other commands and is making great progress on house training! She gets to go to school to pick up the kids in the afternoons too! Sadie is loving her "big brother Chip" (see video below). I think we will see Aurora and Maxwell at class tomorrow evening, and Maxwell is going to have a sleep over with us this weekend because his girls made it to the State Tournament in golf. The family is going to Joplin for the tournament, but 11 week old puppies are not welcome on the course! Good luck, Amelia and Campbell, and have fun! I promise we will have a lot of fun with your boy while you are away!
Enjoy! Until next time....
Since I last posted, I retired a pair of walking shoes because they reached 500 miles, got more cute photos from puppy families, started catching up on back logged DCA and DCAF duties, Rhani and Jo Jo play and play and play, we learned that Maxwell and Jo Jo both have reached 17 1/2 pounds, and Jo Jo went to school! Where to begin? Let's start with Rita - now called KiKi! She's doing great with her new family! Kiki is just one more pretty girl in a house already full of them! Poor Tom! See for yourself!
Maxwell continues to LOVE his bed! They apparently hide it from him for most of the day and only bring it out for him about 7PM when he sits at the family room gate and whines for it. Just watch him get his nails done on his bed. It was an entire family affair. How could he possibly object with all that love coming at him? OMG! What a goober! Maxwell didn't come to class tonight but will join us next week! Can't wait to see him again!
I've been increasingly worried about Jo Jo's extreme independence and preference to play with Rhani rather than with us, so I've been limiting his time with Rhani the past couple days. I knew he was independent, but for the past few days, he pays absolutely no heed to me when I say his name. Oh my! So going to puppy class tonight was really important! An old friend, Cooper's co-breeder - Janice Brennan, is an excellent trainer who has started a training business with a colleague. They both previously worked for Support Dogs as trainers so have excellent credentials - AND she knows and loves Dalmatians. I think she trains with the perfect balance of positive reinforcement and no nonsense that a hard-headed Dalmatian needs. While these babies are young and have had only one set of shots, I decided the need to give them a great foundation before they are 12 weeks old outweighed any limited risk of them picking up a bug. Here's a pretty good and quick to read article regarding the importance of what puppies learn especially before 12 weeks and ultimately before 16 weeks. After that, it's really hard to alter behaviors. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/socializing-new-puppy#5
So class was great! There were at least a dozen different puppies there including Aurara and Jo Jo. Our friend, Kara, was there with her 4+ month old Ela, so Dalmatians were well represented! At first, Aurora was a little overwhelmed, but she quickly recovered and did great. Jo Jo was even a bit taken aback by all the different dogs - some bigger than him. At least he respects bigger dogs! Imagine that! Lots of great tips and reminders (if only I can remember them!) Probably the biggest is - DON'T mark bad behavior. Instead try really, really hard to divert to a good behavior and mark that with a treat. We may have to cut out lunches to make room in his diet for all the treats he will need! Can't wait till next week! We will practice what we learned tonight in between! Thanks to Kara for capturing a photo of our reunion with Aurora and the video.
While I am sharing articles, I'm also posting this one about why harnesses are not a good idea. https://www.avidogzink.com/to-harness-or-not-to-harness-that-is-the-question/?fbclid=IwAR0fsBe-Ycb-5JDCg2bMtVNxyV4ZVZ5BwmaMbUSn-_7Ss65OIUqHkzkipL0#comment-2663 The article reports the findings of a study that demonstrated that any kind of halter restricts the dog's natural movement of the shoulders and upper arm/front leg. This can actually damage development of a young dog and result in injuries for adult dogs as they learn to not use their shoulders and upper arms appropriately. I see so many people walking dogs with halters and it makes me nuts. (What drives me over the edge are halters with flexi leads! But I won't go into flexi-leads in this post!) In addition to the actual damage that can result for the dog, you really have no control of a dog on a halter because you have no control of its head. Call me old school, but if you control the head, you control the dog. That applies to both physical control and mental control (training). If you think about it, halters are functionally used for animals that pull things - horses/carts; sled dogs. So it makes no sense that a halter would discourage a dog from pulling! However, the massive pet supply industry is making a fortune from halters convincing the general population that these are somehow more humane because collars damage the trachea. That is only true for some very small breeds. Put a collar on your arm and tighten it to see how much it "hurts". It doesn't. My preferred type of collar is a limited slip or martingale. These slip over the head (no buckle to come undone) and tighten if the dog pulls. There is my soapbox for the night!
Until next time...
It's with pleasure that I can now reveal Rita's (call name TBD) new family because she is home! Juju N Onsengeltje Stand By Me lives in Tomball, TX with Tom and Liz Shomette and their three daughters, Lucy (12), Katy (11), and Sophie (7). Rita is especially important to Katy whose responsibility was care of their old Vizsla, Amos, who they lost about a year ago. Since then, Katy has pined for a new dog - particularly a Dalmatian. Tom and Liz kept Rita a secret until he drove in the driveway with her this afternoon. The video isn't crystal clear, but the audio is! The second video is a cute one Tom sent me from their last pit stop on the long drive home today. Sorry we don't have a complete family photo yet, but trust me, Rita fits right in as another pretty girl in a home with 4 pretty girls already! Poor Tom! What a good daddy!
Meanwhile, here in St. Louis, Valerie and Maxwell met Jo Jo and me at Longview Farm Park for a .9 mile walk! Talk about sensory overload for a couple 9 week old spotted puppies! Dozens of children of all ages. Baby strollers. People on bicycles. People in helmets. A person using a walker. Baby strollers. Sirens. Streamers flapping in the breeze from a wedding reception's decorations. Lots of dogs. And HORSES! Oh my goodness, these puppies are Dalmatians! Imagine that! They were completely mesmerized by the horses! Jo Jo stood like this for at least 5 minutes before we finally coaxed him away, and Maxwell jumped right over the bottom board of the fence into the pasture in a blink of an eye to get closer to the horses! Both puppies handled all the new stimuli well! Some things they found unsettling but they were over it quickly! We were almost back to the cars when Maxwell said, "Enough" and just parked his sweet little butt by the park bench. He is ADORABLE! And the Marino's are doing such a great job of bringing out his best self! When we got home, Jo Jo and Rhani had a late lunch!
Before going to the park, I began researching local puppy kindergarten classes. It looked like Pet Co had a class starting tomorrow at noon, so I decided to drive over there with Jo Jo after leaving the park. Well, glad I did. I think the trainer may have a medical marijuana card. Check that one off the list. Then I went to Pet Smart. The first class we could do there doesn't begin till 11/4. That's well past the 12 week window for developmental influence. (Jo Jo got to visit both places and was especially fixated on the dog food aisles!) My friend, Kara, told me that an old friend, Janice Brennan, has started her own training company and that is where she is doing classes with her new puppy, Ela, so I called Janice and BINGO - we can go to our first class this Thursday! Janice worked for many years as a trainer at Support Dogs here in St. Louis. She was Cooper's co-breeder, so not only is she a great trainer, she is a great trainer of Dalmatians! I let all the local puppy families know as soon as I found out!
Based on several FaceBook comments, I guess I need to spell out that, yes, Jo Jo is staying here! Heaven help us! He is a pistol! His registered name is Juju N Onsengeltje Out of the Blue. All the puppies registered names are song titles that John Lennon and/or the Beatles wrote and/or recorded. Out of the Blue (actually Out the Blue); Stand By Me; She Loves You; Here Comes the Sun; and Here We Go Again.
Jo Jo's big challenge here at home is figuring out how to get into the rocking chair in the kitchen! This chair has been a favorite seat of all the boy Dalmatians in our home since we lived here. Interestingly, the girls have never cared about it except to sit in someone's lap there. But the boy dogs have all owned it! I don't have a photo of Odie in it because Odie predates iPhones, but here is Cooper, Raj and Jo Jo - trying! I expect he will figure it out within a day or two!
Potty training is always fun with a puppy! Jo Jo is doing ok, but let's just say, I spent a lot of time out in the yard today with no results! Rhani being out didn't help! She and Jo Jo had a party in the backyard this afternoon when I thought he should be doing his business!
Last, but not least, we got some cute updates from Sadie today! She is apparently loving her life! She loves to play with Chip (the Lab) and understands that Ezra is a tiny boy who should only be kissed - never subject to her needle teeth! She's been on her first walk in the neighborhood and got all kinds of new experiences as well - garbage trucks, power saws, other dogs, other kids, cars, dogs barking, etc. These experiences are so important for puppies under the age of 12 weeks. Most research suggests that the first 12 weeks of a puppy's life will determine the ultimate personality of the dog for it's lifetime. Nature (genetics), of course, is a key factor in that, but Nurture (the experiences you give a puppy) can have an enormous impact on the puppy for the first 12 weeks and to a smaller degree up to 16 weeks. Any behavioral changes after that will take tremendous effort. Here's an easy read on the subject for those interested: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/socializing-new-puppy#5
Until next time...
This post will mostly be photos and videos from the last couple days as we prepared to say our good byes to Rita and got fun updates from Maxwell, Sadie and Lizzy - now known as Aurora (or Rori for short). Isn't that a great name?!
I took Rita and Jo Jo each for walks yesterday and today. Today, we increased our walks to 3/4 of a mile and they did great. Jo Jo and I walked along Clayton Rd (the busy street outside our subdivision). He thought all the cars zooming by were a little unsettling, but he recovered quickly after each!
Since Rita has a long road trip ahead of her, I took her and Jo Jo for a little ride yesterday afternoon. They did awesome - not a peep. It was cool here, so I left them in the car while I ran into the grocery store to pick up a couple things. When I returned, they were both sitting up looking around like they do this all the time! Then as we drove around aimlessly, they fell so sound asleep that I had to wake them when we got home. Such good puppies!
Rita got to say good-bye to one of her biggest fans, Margot and her grandkids, yesterday when we were walking. Steven and Cindy came over last night to say good-bye to her too. Dave had a golf tournament today so he had to say good-bye to her early this morning. I've been teary eyed all day. Imagine that! We already miss that pretty spunky little package, but we know she will have a great life. More about that after she gets home.
Now that Jo Jo is the lone puppy here, we are beginning the transition from indoor and outdoor enclosures to family pet/house dog. Oh boy - potty training, don't chew electric cords training, don't pull up the carpet training, don't chew the furniture training.....We also need to continue to offer new challenges at least daily, go more places, meet more people, get exposed to everything I can think of that he might encounter in his lifetime...all before he's 12 weeks old and in a manner that doesn't put him at too great of a risk for contracting some disease for which he isn't fully vaccinated. He loves running through the family room and has mastered climbing the stairs to the kitchen AND back down! Tonight, he had dinner right beside Rhani and they both stuck to their own bowls! Rhani was a good mom and waited patiently for him to finish his before licking his bowl to make sure there weren't any morsels left for her. Of course, I was standing right there watching to make sure she did! LOL!
And as promised - I received updates from everybody else via photos and one video. Everyone is doing great! The video of Maxwell cracks me up! But first Rita! Enjoy!
Until next time.....
I like to keep a diary of the puppies as much for myself as for prospective puppy buyers and interested friends. Sadly my blogs for Lucy's and Baili's litters are no longer available due to legacy systems, but I saved them off as pdf's and was reviewing them last night. It was a good refresher on all kinds of things and brought back lots of good memories. Looking forward to Imagine memories too!