Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Silver and Gold

The puppies had a fun afternoon yesterday. We live next door to an elementary school, and I like to use the kids going to/from school as training opportunities. I had Zoey out to practice being friendly at the fence as the kids walked by -- she did great. A group of little girls were just enthralled with her and since I had run out of cookies for Zoey, I brought out the Glitterati and invited the girls in the yard to visit them.

One thing I just love about puppies in how they build community. This Blog is a great example -- I love reading your comments to each other! Complete strangers find a way to connect, and suddenly the world is a little smaller :) This happens in our yard with every litter. I saw it again yesterday as one neighbor who stopped in to see puppies met another who had come in to the yard with her grandson. People who would have never had the chance to know each other develop relationships over puppies, and it has helped make our neighborhood even more neighborly.

And so the puppies met 11 new people yesterday afternoon as they frolicked in the yard. It is very fun to share the puppies with kids, and to watch how both the kids and the puppies interact with each other. Visitors included two shy girls I have never met whose mom stopped her car and let them out to tentatively approach the fence. I invited them in and they had a wonderful time. Two year old Damien had puppies trailing him around, and that was really cute; they were amazingly gentle with him.

After over an hour in the yard, it was time for the scheduled visiting time and Kathy, Cali and Kate arrived to find tired puppies -- Kate's favorite! So the puppies had a busy afternoon of new friends and old friends of all ages, and they did just great :) Let me share pictures from their adventure in visiting:

Here are two of the girls who stopped on their way home from school -- they stayed almost an hour, giggling and trying to attach names to the correct puppy. Geneva was their favorite, but they were most impressed that we have a Rock Star!

This is very handsome Toronto exploring the yard -- I think he is also a very good looking boy and can hold his own with Hudson!

Geneva was very happy to see her Aunt Kathy, and immediately came to say hi and get a kiss.

Kate just got contact lenses!

It is a good idea to keep your hair up when visiting, but Kate forgot the other important thing -- keep the puppies away from your head!

There was peace summit in the yard -- representing the girls is Jamaica. Toronto represented the boys, and they met with Hudson. The puppies decided that they were all cute and that collectively they were even cuter so they agreed to get along -- what a relief!

Ireland, relieved to learn that all puppies are cute, decided to practice looking so.

Hudson knows there is plenty of admiration to go around (but he gets his share!).

Hudson and a fan.

Geneva showing why she is Kathy's favorite.

Cali still favors Jamaica, who really is a lovely puppy! Two different people used the word, "spunky" to describe her yesterday :)

The puppies appreciated getting to know someone more their size.

Whitby thought Damien was quite interesting and made sure to follow him around -- isn't that a cute picture?!

Finally, I have permission to share this post from the Berner-L -- it is from one of the best trainers in our breed, Vilma Briggs:

"I havent seen the movie yet [Marley and Me], but I heard that they give a promo boost to that Cesar Millan. Icko!! What a shame, when there are so many GOOD trainers out there. Ones who use real behavior modification.

Cesar is a smooth talking Hollywood fellow who even the veterinary behaviorists at Tufts University state "is taking dog training backwards 20 years" with his heavy handed training methods. While his advice on things like increasing exercise is reasonable, he is one of those outdated trainers who still jerks dogs around on choke chains and goes on about "dominance" and all that "alpha" nonsense.

If you want to learn about dog training from an entertaining TV show, skip the so called "Dog Whisperer" (even if he does have that sexy accent) and instead watch Victoria Stillwell on Animal Planet in her new show "It's Me or the Dog."

She is from Great Britain and now living in Atlanta. Not only is she quite entertaining, but she uses POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT based training. She does not use fear and pain to get the desired behavior, as traditional trainers did years ago.

Victoria bases her training on rewards, not punishment. She is much more humane -- and also much more effective, IMO."

I sure hope nobody jerks you around today! And remember -- everyone is cute in their own cute way -- even you! Thanks for visiting and we will resume meeting new families tomorrow. And who can figure out why I used the title I did for today's post? A prize to you if you can!


  1. The puppy/children socialization that M/A's puppies receive is priceless!!! Both is appearance and value - speaking from experience - you will not find a better prepared puppy anywhere else!!!! All 3 of my Kaibab dogs have both loved and been rock solid around all children.

    That "spunky" defination reminds me of Cruiser :)

    Special hugs and thoughts to Halo today.
    Cindy H.

  2. Humm...silver & gold = a prize. Would the prize be a grey & white Karma Kitty?? Hee,hee

    Just checking :D

  3. Speaking of puppies and children: when I got my first Berner, Maggie, I lived in a very isolated area, with no neighbours and of course, no children nearby. I asked one of the grade-school teachers if I could bring Maggie in to class once a week. The children weighed and measured her, and worked out growth graphs, thereby developing their math skills. After that, they sat around in a circle, with Maggie in the middle, talked about life (and death) with their dogs, waved their arms around, wiggled, shouted, and learned how to give Maggie treats.

    It was a great experience for all of us, and Maggie was absolutely bomb-proof around children ever after. Your stories reminded me of that long-ago time -- an extra pleasure. Thank you!

    Susan and Djinn

  4. The love generated by these puppies is "better than silver and gold!"
    Does it have anything to do with a Neil Young Song?

    Cindy H.

  5. "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." No kitty cat prizes for me. I love them but they make me sneeze. Besides, Karma clearly has made her home with you and the dogs.