Friday, September 14, 2012

Off To Camp

I love this picture!  The only thing that would make it better would be having Rob in it too, but Rob had already passed on when Argus joined us - in fact 12-year-old Watson was born the same week that his great grandfather Rob passed.  Funny how certain dogs are forever in your thoughts. . .   I still miss Rob and think of him often.

This picture shows "Watson" Ch. Paisley Pragmatic, "Josie" Ch. Hapi Dal Paisleys Preference (L), "Argus" GCh. Paisley NspirD By Broadway (L), and "Coral" Ch. Paisley Snowood Family Ties (L), all Rob descendants.

Fernly did well at Puppy Class last night.  Even managed to do two recalls to ME, despite all the far more exciting things going on around her.  I won't take that for granted though, as she's pretty scatter-brained right now!  Sits and downs were very good - amazing what pups will do for tasty tidbits.  Stays come next, and we'll be working a lot on leash walking in class next week.  Gotta practice that every evening.

Puppy playtime was not as fun as it should have been.  Two dogs in our class apparently don't play well with others, and in both cases Fern was the target.  When they were wrestling as puppies do, each of them started showing their teeth and snarling, and not in a playful manner.  NOT appropriate behavior for 3-4 month pups.  In each case one of the instructors quickly stepped in, but I was not happy about having Fern in that position.  It's important to me that my dogs are comfortable playing with other dogs, and I don't want Fern having bad experiences.  If that happens again next week, I will opt out of the playtime.  Just not worth it.

It would be interesting to find out when those pups were separated from their litter mates.  Am guessing in both cases that it was far too early, and the pups did not have a chance to develop appropriate "social skills" with their litter mates, and their dam or other adult dogs.

Fern goes camping this weekend with my daughter Jess, her partner Don, Dal "Meribel" and senior Shepherd "Simmie".  Not a camp actually, but we call it "camping" and it's an important thing for puppies to do, especially puppies that stay with their breeder rather than going to new homes.  Fern is friendly and outgoing, but this will help her confidence level even more as she adapts to a totally new situation.  Hopefully Meribel does NOT teach Fern to dig holes, as Fern already has enough "hobbies", but oh well.  Hope Jess and Don and Simmie survive the non-stop wrestling and running that are inevitable with two young Dals!

Today I need to finish up a new puppy brochure and send it out to a number of people who have inquired about pups.  I've tried to make it both interesting and informative, and have included a lot of pictures.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Puppies? Probably

Puppy plans are still up in the air, as we await the results of Holly's progesterone test.  Because her owner is not sure that she caught Holly on the first day(s) of her cycle, and because she will be out of town for a few days, Holly went in for a progesterone test to help determine how far along she is in her season.  If she's too far already, it won't work to ship her here next week - it might already be too late by then.  Tools like progesterone testing are very helpful in situations like this.  If the timing is OK, I've decided to go ahead with this.  Holly is lovely, has a pedigree full of beautiful dogs, including some very nice livers, and the temperaments are consistently very good.  Fingers all tightly crossed - and I told Argus to cross his paws too!

Puppy class for Fern tonight, her second week.  She did well last week and really enjoyed the puppy playtime part - of course!  Like Letty did last year, Fern enjoyed leading the pack, then doubling back and jumping over her classmates.  Is that a Dalmatian thing?  We'd been working on sits at home, so she caught on quickly to that, but lead walking not so much.  I've never had a Dal pup who found the treats in my hand more interesting than the other dogs and people in class!  No way will Fern learn to walk sedately on a buckle collar.  We're walking every evening, using a cloth slip collar and teaching "Walk" as a command, keeping her on my left side.  We include a bit of gaiting too - wow, can she fly!  I'm sure she will be unable to concentrate on walking nicely at class tonight, with all the distractions, but I'm pleased with how well that is coming along.  I'd like to show her a few times in the new 4-6 month class at AKC shows - if I get to any this fall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Puppies? Again?

Do I really want to do a litter of pups this winter?  Have I recovered from Pauli's litter?  Am I ready to keep another puppy that will only be 6 months younger than Fern?  Gotta do some serious thinking here!  It's been many years since I've done two litters this close together, probably not since Jess still lived at home.  If I'd raised Lucy's litter I would not even consider it, but because that was Patti's litter and because they did all the work, it's not really part of the equation.  This would be MY litter.

I've been talking to the owner of this lovely Dal for a long time about "leasing" her to breed to Argus.  Because Argus is already 7 years old, and because I don't own (outright) any Argus kids, I need to think seriously about that.  Other than Fern, my own dogs range from 7 to 14+ years.  There's also MY age to consider - if I want to keep another Dal Boy, I'm going to have to do it pretty soon.  What I'd like from this combination is a liver boy for ME.  When we are looking for black girls we always get liver boys, so I'm probably jinxing myself by even thinking liver boy . . .

One of the issues was health testing, since this Dal's owner doesn't do it regularly, and many of the dogs in her pedigree didn't even have their hips x-rayed.   It's a rule here that we do no breedings from dogs who have not (at the very least) had hips, hearing, and eyes certified.  Holly passed everything, including elbow x-rays, and will be able to get her CHIC number, so that issue does not stand in our way.

Winter pups are "easy" in that I'm usually home, and there isn't much else going on.  On the other hand, depending on the weather, it's hard to get the pups in for vet visits, and it's a lot harder to socialize them, plus all socialization has to be done indoors, in the family room - so much easier to do it outside!  Sure saves on the paper towels!  Then there is the issue of puppy placements.  Although I have a very long list of people wanting pups NOW, how many of them will want a winter pup?   Actually, we've been lucky that way and only once had trouble placing a winter litter.  That happened during the popularity crash, when there were NO homes for Dals - well do I remember having to housetrain 4 pups in February!  But we got it done, and got those pups placed too.  I've always found winter housetraining goes very quickly!  It's tough on the owner for a few weeks, but the pups sure catch on quickly.

So much to consider . . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No Need To Read This

A glance at my list of posts and the number of hits each of them has gotten so far indicates that a catchy title makes a lot of difference.   Mundane titles get fewer hits, while catchy ones like "Longcoated Dalmatians" are read by many more people.  Had I used "Dals With Long Hair" it would have worked even better!  The ones I post to Facebook get the most hits of course, but I only do that with the ones that I consider the most interesting or educational (or controversial).  What I really need to do is plan postings in advance, taking advantage of the thousands of pictures I could use to illustrate those posting.  But that sounds like work!

The blog always gets more hits when I have pups and post pictures regularly.  People always seem to enjoy following a litter and looking at puppy pictures.   Fish-related postings don't do nearly as well.

So here's my Betta, just for kicks.  I've had him since May and he's doing well.  Just a fish store Betta, possibly raised locally, most likely shipped in from Florida or SE Asia.  They arrive by the millions every year, many of them in poor condition.  The average pet store Betta lives a short and unpleasant life, in a small bowl of polluted water that is far too cool for a truly "tropical" fish.  My Betta lives in a one gallon jar in the fish room and gets a weekly water change,  Seems to be working well for him as his lovely finnage is still looking good.  He's not a top quality Halfmoom Betta, but he's quite handsome, and spends his day flaring at the Betta he sees is the mirror next to his jar.

Time for another cup of coffee.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oh So Busy

The title refers to my weekend, and also applies to my puppy.  We got lots accomplished this weekend, most of it outdoors, but with a 100 year old house there is ALWAYS lots more to be done.  Gutter cleaning and repair was one of the projects for this year.  Now, if it ever rains again, the elderly gutters will drain better, through the new downspout. The older couple who do our gutter work are great fun, and we had some excellent discussions on nutrition - glad they charge by the job, not by the hour!

My personal project was trimming the Mock Orange and Honeysuckle bushes that grow along both sides of my house.  They were all very overgrown and received serious haircuts.  Ron made many trips to the recycle facility with the trimmings, as I started my fall yardwork.  Once I get the beds around the butchered bushes raked, I'll dig in some compost and plant spring bulbs - but I'll wait until the bulbs go on sale!  Pricey little devils this time of the year.  Next weekend I'll tackle the yard and do a lot of reseeding to remedy the damage done by the Japanese Beetle grubs.

The "busy" applies to Fern as well.  What a whirling dervish she can be.  Busy, busy, busy.  Not a puppy you can leave unsupervised for long as she notices and has to check out, taste, and play with everything.  Nothing is safe from her right now. Fortunately Josie & Argus play with her, and especially Josie is endlessly patient.  Fern a "good" puppy in many ways, great in a crate, friendly with everyone, perfect in the car, very well housetrained, and catching on to her obedience work easily.  Even her leash work is much improved with a few extra lessons, but oh so busy.  Yesterday she went along with me when I visited mom, and got to run and chase a ball in the athletic field across the street.  Really wore her down, and she was great the rest of the evening.  A tired puppy is a good puppy!