Saturday, January 3, 2009

Puppy Assessment

Today's pictures are ones taken over the past few days that I did not post. My Dear Husband had to borrow my camera for a two day wrestling tournament (he coaches) so I was not able to get any pictures yesterday of puppy visiting, which was very sad as we had wonderful visitors. We will have the camera back later for the six week pictures -- I will post those tonight.

Can you believe the puppies are six weeks old?! Do you know what that means? Two things -- first, we only have two more weeks with them :( Second, they start eating solid food today! Yes indeed, we made it the whole six weeks with no supplementing or early solids -- good job, Cadi! I will wait until I can take pictures of the first meals so I can share that with you.

Thank you for your comments and I will address questions over the next couple of days; today I will discuss puppy assessment.

One thing I have learned is that a puppy’s personality does not just arrive – it evolves. And so the wild puppy of today is tomorrow’s sweetheart, and vice versa. What I am looking at is the puppy over time, knowing that personalities evolve even more after eight weeks. I do not have a crystal ball and so I have to make my best assessment about the puppy, and also about the families with whom they will live.

Obviously I assess puppies by watching them but I also like to get the feedback of others. Yesterday Cali said her favorite girl is Jamaica because she loves her attitude, and Kate agreed. Kathy loves Geneva because she is so sweet. Hudson is a favorite because he is so buff and big. But Sutton is a favorite because he is sweet and cuddly -- so is Whitby. It is nice to have input from people who visit frequently, but again, I know these things can change so it is important for all of us not to get a “profile” about a puppy stuck in our heads.

In addition to my longitudinal observations and the feedback of puppy visitors, the puppies will be assessed in at least two other ways. First, someone who has temperament tested three of my other litters is testing this litter; this will happen in a little over a week. This is not a pass/fail kind of test but rather a snapshot of a puppy exposed to different things in a structured way. It offers another data point, so to speak, on which to base the assessment of a puppy.

Second, Eden Jonas is coming out from Colorado to help evaluate structure. Eden bred the Glitterati's great grandmother -- my Abra. We will watch puppies, and we will also videotape the puppies trotting and stacked and study that. We will then rate the puppies in terms of their structure and select the show puppies. As I have said, I have zero concerns about temperament in this litter and so I will keep the girl that comes out #1 in the evaluation of structure.

There will be one other girl going to a show home, and there are two boys going to show homes; these puppies will be assigned based on structure. All of the show puppy homes are planning to also do working events, and I absolutely trust that the puppies selected for structure will also have the temperaments and abilities to earn working titles. That leaves two girls and two boys to match based on personalities. These matches will be made based on all the available data I have about the puppies, and what the new owners hope to do with their puppies.

This is Sydney killing the dusting thing.

I mentioned that Zoey can be slow to warm up -- I wanted to also share with you how incredibly friendly she is -- this is Zoey with Joan. Zoey is in a fear period now and so carefully evaluates new situations. But that confident, wild and crazy puppy we all knew as Rosebud has not disappeared -- she is just going through normal developmental processes for her. My challenge and responsibility is to help her get through this developmental period successfully and I have complete confidence that we will :)

This is Ireland.

A group meeting at the bush.

Faith is a natural Therapy Dog. She is sweet and gentle and very, very loving. And grey! But that is unrelated to her abilities as a budding Therapy Dog :)

Check back later for six week pictures and in the meantime, have a delightful day!


  1. OMG - I cannot believe in the what - eight weeks - since the Flitter litter went to their homes homes how big Zoey and Faith have gotten. Wow. It seems like just the other day that those two were just six weeks old.

  2. I know you have a lot of questions to answer, but if you have time, could you talk a bit about how you will be helping Zoey maintain her confidence (and wildness:) through her current developmental period?

    I can't wait to see the pictures of the puppies eating solid food...that should be a lot of fun!

  3. Wow...when I saw the photo of Faith just now, she looked like a wolf. Her grey hair blends in w/the snow. Faith keeps showing us how special she is. She looks like she has become a normal pup :D Are your worries gone about Faith now, Mary-Ann?

  4. I was worried there would be wrestling pictures and no puppie pics today. What a relief. See you this afternoon.