4th January to 18th January
Tuppence is now 11 weeks old, and started his puppy class which was on 5th January. All his siblings were there plus two Golden Retriever puppies (bundles of fluff in comparison). They were all given their microchips and then allowed to play… and how they did play. Even though most of the puppies are in households with other dogs or they had a guide dog in training returned for the Christmas vacation to play with, here they were able to play with dogs their own size. A real rough and tumble prevailed. After all pups had been given their chips we all gathered in a circle sitting cross legged on the ground (some find this easier than others!). We then place the puppies between our legs in what is generally referred to as the “comfort position” one hand on the chest of the puppy and the other stroking, feeling, rubbing ears, paws etc. The idea of this is to get the pups used to being handled, be it at the vet, when in kennels, by the owners etc. After a while we “pass the puppy” to the person next to you and you in turn receive another. It is during this time that, we each in turn discuss problems that have happened such as car travel, feeding, house training etc. When the puppies were returned to their raisers it was then time for the puppies to learn some manners… “to sit”, and “to down”. (“to down” is to lie flat for the guide dogs – to many dog owners this is to get off furniture etc). Once all that was done, it was play time again before going home exhausted (Tuppence slept all the way home and then had to be woken for his lunch!). We are now practising at home the things taught at class until we go again next week when something else will be put into the equation.
We seem to be having a bad run relating to the house training… going backwards rather than forwards. Perhaps it is that he is missing Ezra and not sure of where/what to do, but I can assure you it is very frustrating to go into a part of the house to find a puddle or worse, a pooh which has been left and you can’t reprimand. (No point unless you catch them in the act)! With having Thando back from his holiday’s means that at least we now have four eyes to keep an eye on the disappearing artist!
Sammy is really beginning to show voice over her reluctance to have her ears pulled, neck tugged and generally mauled. However Tuppence, being the persistent man that he is (no man likes to be told off by a woman) will not give up. It is getting to a point that I have to intervene and turn Tuppence on his back to show that he must submit to her (provided that I can get to the place of action in time.) The reasoning behind this is to teach Tuppence that he must not be dominant as this could cause problems later. Xara on the other hand is becoming quite used to having ears pulled etc. but lets him know when she has had enough. She will soon get her own back when she runs hell for leather across the garden and knocks him flying. Ezra learnt very fast how to duck so that Xara ended up flying/jumping over him; hopefully he whispered his trick in Tuppence’s ear before he left.
Thursday 12th was another school day. Again the siblings played their hearts out, but they also had their 12 week jabs and de-worming, which mean that we can now take them out on the road etc. During “school time” they learnt to sit quietly (at least that was the intention) while we again discussed any problems that had occurred during the week and how the pups were doing in their respective environments. Actually they were very good, they did lie quietly… sheer exhaustion I think! We also again did our “sits”, “downs”, “up-sits” and in addition we did some recall. Here we made the pups sit, and then walked backwards until the lead was at full stretch telling the pups to “stay”. When we could go no further, we called the pup to us, and made them sit in front of us. Tuppence was a star….naturally he was rewarded for his work. (Nothing like bribery to get the results!).
As I do not have a gardener (human variety) at the moment the weekend has been taken up with cutting the grass etc… perhaps not a bad thing as Tuppence has had a bit of a runny tummy, most probably from the jab and worming. So Saturday saw him missing out on his lunch, and for supper being given some plain brown bread with his food… acts as a binder.
Sunday 15th we went to visit another puppy raiser friend who has a caravan at the Vaal dam…. Firstly it was the longest car trip undertaken, and what a good boy he was….Tuppence slept most of the way and I did not even have to stop for “a busy”. When we arrived he met with Emerson, a golden retriever (Ezra’s brother) and they had a bit of a play. Then it was time for a walk to the water… oh my, oh my, splashing and playing in the water was the best. Tuppence then walked along a wooden jetty and a small bit of metal jetty, both with water underneath and uneven and slatted. He managed both without any problem… my concern was that he wanted to dive into the water! By the end of the day he was exhausted, and slept from the time I left the dam to arriving home, had supper, slept some more, got up to go out at bedtime and then slept again until 5h30… must have been the fresh air!!!!!
Monday Tuppence and I went to UJ to meet some of the staff (I used to work there and they had asked me if I wanted to do a short spell again as they are short staffed). Although it would have been good experience for Tuppence to be in a work environment my other commitments do not allow it. Here he was given lots of hugs and cuddles as several of the staff own change of career guide dogs that have not made the grade.
Tuesday January 17th I took Tuppence for a bit of a road walk for the first time. First he was fascinated at the sliding of the gate. Then the dogs next door started barking, and that had to be investigated. A couple of houses further on the dogs too were barking, rather loud for him and he tried to turn turtle. However, we crossed over to the other side of the road, sat down for a bit and I calmed and talked to him, and when he realised that they were not going to eat him we moved on. A few houses further the same thing happened – trying to run away from these big monsters. So we did the same as before, and then moved on. The return trip was a breeze… no fear at these barking gates!
Wednesday January 18th I met the puppy raiser who has one of his siblings and we had a short walk around Brightwater Commons…. Great excitement as he thought it was playtime, but we did manage to walk around the paths, up and down some stairs and go in the lift. None of which seemed to prove to be a big hurdle or give any anxiety. Of course he was given lots of love and cuddles by me for doing well and by passing people.