Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Tarmo at home

Here are some cute pics of Tarmo at his new home in Surrey with Stacey & Shane. I'm loving his one-ear-up-one-ear-down look!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Jaana at home

Looks like Jaana wasted no time settling in with Baz in Brighton. Thanks to Mike for being so quick with the camera even after such a long drive home.

Don't miss Harry the cat checking out the new arrival from a safe distance. He's obviously clever enough to keep the trees close by when the puppy is on the loose. But I'm not altogether sure he has anything to worry about - looks like Jaana only has eyes for her new big brother.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

farewell to the puppies

How nice that the sun was shining as all the remaining puppies (but one, of course) left home over the last 2 days. I will admit that a tear or 2 was shed, but look how happy all the new families are. That makes it all worthwhile. What, all that noise and work? Hmm, maybe...

Tarkka off to Plymouth with Jo, George and the very excited Josh:

LMI (Little Miss Inko) goes off with Paula & Adam (at last!) Don't miss her continuing adventures on her very own blog Living with a Lappy.

Jaana was the next to go, bright and early with Mike & Sarah. They had a long drive back to Brighton where Jaana discovered her new big brother Basil. Check back for photos of her settling in.

The last pup to leave home was Rauhan. Here he is with the Hollisters, minus dad Adrian who was detained temporarily at home in Berkshire and had to zoom down separately to collect his family, including the new little addition. I wonder what new big sis Sukka will think of him?

Friday, 26 September 2008

and 1 makes 5

This is a tough weekend. By tomorrow afternoon we will be left with only one puppy! Where did the 8 weeks go?

The Taylor family (minus dad - we can't all play with puppies, someone has to do some work - or so I keep telling Jay) drove 250-ish miles from Lancashire yesterday. After some puppy time we all went out for a quick bite to eat (Madelaine where did you put that enormous ice cream?) Then they were off bright and early this morning. Here they are with a very sleepy Jaska who I kept waking up to make sure he would good and tired for the long drive to his new home.

Keep checking back to see photos of him with his new big sister, Kia.

Tonight we'll be waving goodbye to Tarkka and Inko.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

altogether now - ahhhhh

Thanks a million to David & Sherralee for wasting no time in sending me photos of Viivi and her new big brother Jaska. I couldn't wait to get some of them posted on the blog, so here they are. How gently he plays with her, and look at the proud expression on his face to have a new little sister.

do as I say...

... not as I do.

I preach the cold turkey method of first-night puppy training - i.e. put 'em to bed and let 'em howl. Very quickly they learn to sleep through the night, safely in their crate. Well, sleep through until nature calls them out to water the grass, at any rate. And, more importantly, they don't learn to kick up a big enough racket to get you to come running.

With Tarmo, Kaija (Sulo) and Viivi off into the big world, I can report that they've all settled right in and are doing wonderfully. Best news of all, lo and behold, they have been sleeping extremely well at night - or at least those all-important first couple of nights. That leaves me hopeful for the rest of the pups as they go too.

In fact, I was so reassured by this news that Maija's crate went up on Monday night and in she went with her stuffed Kong to keep her occupied. Brilliant idea, I thought, to get her accustomed to sleeping in her crate before her brothers and sisters leave her all alone. Well, who knows, she might have been ok in there set up right next to the puppy pen but it didn't take long for the others to start howling and yapping. I gave it 20 minutes and went back down. Cleaned up the mess Maija had made in her new crate, shushed everyone, and went back to bed. I don't think I lasted 20 minutes the next time before sticking Maija back into the pen with the rest. Instant peace.

I guess Maija (and we) will just have to go cold turkey on Saturday night after the last of her siblings leave. I dread to think what cacophony she will come up with that night after getting me to run to her rescue TWICE on Monday night. **sigh** My only defense is that we have already had more than our fare share of puppy noise in this household. Not to mention our neighbours. Saturday night will be interesting, I'm sure.

Back to the 3 adventurers who have already left. I've had great reports about them all. They're very popular in their new homes and towns, needless to say. I hear they're getting plenty visitors to keep them occupied and on the road towards Ian Dunbar's recommended 100 strangers by 12 weeks old - or was that 200 strangers? Either way, it's not a difficult target to reach when you have a Lappy puppy.

For that matter, each of the pups must have met at least their first 10 on their trip up the high street with me before ever leaving home. There are not many people you pass who don't want to have a quick stroke. And if the high street is unusually quiet, there's always the pet shop and the post office. All great places for cuddles with complete strangers.

The last puppy to have his walk up the high street was Jaska today. I had to wait for a moment when Jay could come with me because the puppies are getting so big and heavy now. And Jaska, adorable little chunk that he is, is just too heavy for me to carry for very long. None of the puppies were overly worried by the noise and commotion of the high street. Maija fell asleep on the post office counter and Inko and Rauhan both had to withstand an enormous noisy lorry and roadworks. Of all the puppies, though, Jaska and Jaana were the least concerned. Jaska took it completely in his stride, not even wriggling when lorries drove past. Jaana didn't bat an eye when she was cuddled by Debbie, the owner of the pet shop, and she was most intrigued by Debbie's 2 parrots who kept calling out "bye bye!"

Until I have some more photos of puppies leaving home - or photos of puppies in their new homes - here are a couple of videos. The first was taken a couple of weeks ago when their ears were all still folded down and when we still had 9. The second was taken this morning.

Puppies, come!

Puppies, do shush, please!

Monday, 22 September 2008

what the morning brought

Well, I must say the pen was an absolute doddle to clean this morning! And the puppies slept until 7am to boot. I think it's becoming clear who the noisy, messy ones have been...

Ha ha, just kidding. The reason the puppies slept in and the pen was so unusually clean was down to the 2 - count them - TWO middle-of-the-night cleanups. Not the puppies' fault, it has to be said.

Somehow, while the Lapphunds miraculously (and unusually) avoided it, Anniebear - the dignified old Akita who rarely sticks her nose in where she shouldn't and would rather starve than eat anything disgusting and who is never ill - managed to pick up some kind of stomach bug yesterday and had the squits all night. The first one was in her crate and the rest were outside and, at some point after 3:30 am, one was on (and near...) the newspaper left for the purpose. Poor old bear.

Of course, while Jay was worrying about Annie, Neka, supermum that she is (or just disgusting little gannet, you decide) nipped into Annie's crate and cleaned everything right up. Cue the most disgusting vomit imaginable. Remember this? Well, last night was similar, but without the terrible worry. Some consolation. I guess.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the very good reasons for crate training your dog and having them sleep in it at night. No, not so that any night-time accidents are contained (although that's not a bad reason either) but so that the well behaved dog who isn't usually locked up at night, doesn't get into any trouble when you least expect it. And at hours when you are least able to deal with it. Keskiyö? Safely tucked up in his crate snoozing away. No problem.

So, while Jay was downstairs with Annie he gave the pups a quick cleanup. Then when I went down 20 minutes later to take Neka out a dozen or so times, I gave them another mini-clearout.

Result: tired puppies & a relatively clean pen. Not bad for a night's work.

And if you were wondering what the puppies' little bags consist of as they leave home, here is a puppy pack:

The box on the left contains food, an info leaflet about the food, a measuring cup, a bag of bedtime treats which, in this case, are Markies, a little Nylabone and the particular puppy's favorite toy from the selection they have all been playing with.

The folder contains all the paperwork - contract, feeding schedule, pedigree, insurance, breed info, etc.

The plastic bag contains a piece of rolled up vet bed which has spent a few hours in the puppy pen. So, it has been stomped all over with smelly, muddy paws, been chewed, dragged about and, yes, probably weed on (at least). To a puppy setting off to its new home, it's a little piece of familiarity to snuggle into at night and it smells wonderful.

Well, it smells nice to the puppy at least. The family will probably want to put it through the washing machine before very many days pass. Vet bed is great stuff, though. You can often buy it from rolls so you get made-to-measure sizes. Liquid goes right through leaving the surface fairly dry and you can just chuck it into the washing machine and tumble dryer and it lasts a very long time. I think I still have a piece or two from when Neka was a puppy, so there you go.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

... and 5 to go

Viivi must have known that today was going to be a big day for her because she woke everyone up at something after 5 am.

Here are Sherralee and David, thrilled to be setting off with Viivi to her new home (yes, Surrey again - big county, that, ain't it). I'll bet Viivi's new big brother Jaska can't wait to meet her too - not her litter brother Jaska, but another one entirely. He won't know what hit him when Viivi lands!

Farewell Viivi, have fun with your fab new brother, and I'm so looking forward to the photos. Since Jay's parents are conveniently located in Surrey, we expect to see lots more of these puppies in the future. Lucky us!

* * * *

And on a completely different topic, you might have thought that cleaning out the pen would have been a slightly easier job this morning with 2 fewer puppies. Wouldn't you? I did. Huh, was I wrong. Let's see what tomorrow morning brings (well, ok, I know what it will bring, but let's see how much of it arrives.)

Saturday, 20 September 2008

nine, eight, seven... and counting

Well the Devon Nine have been whittled down to 7 today as Tarmo and Sulo left with their little bags packed and headed off to their new homes. A few tears have been shed, but frankly the puppies really have reached a stage now where they need one-on-one attention that they just don't get in a pack of 9. So on that basis, it's nice to see them embarking on their next adventure and their big jobs making new families happy.

There will be another one off tomorrow and then I'll have some more work preparing the next 5 to leave at the end of the week.

Tarmo was the first to go. Here he is with Stacey & Shane, shortly before his trip back to the ancestral home (Surrey, of course):

Sulo was close behind. She is now called Kaija and tonight will be settling in at her home near Bristol with the Collins family:

Good luck puppies! Adios & see you again soon.

Friday, 19 September 2008

poll result

And, I almost forgot, the answer to this week's poll is....


Although it's true that several puppies did ask to go out for a wee the same day, Rauhan was the first I spotted.

Now they all ask to go out to do their business. House-trained puppies! Git yer house-trained puppies he-ya! (In the style of London street newspaper vendor, courtesy of Jay.)

Amazing clever little things, these puppies. Of course, it wasn't quite so cute at 5:20 this morning when they decided I'M HUNGRY AND I NEED A POO! SCUSE ME - I SAID, I'M HUNGRY AND I NEED TO GO OUT!

When are they leaving, again?

7 weeks old already - yikes

There are no 7-week portraits, but here are a few random photos, including some from the various attempts at calendar photos. I hope the puppies' new families have better luck than I have had. Nine puppies & several weeks & I've only managed to submit 2 or 3 shots for the competition.

Viivi & Sulo not particularly impressed with their new digs:

Jaana's pretty sure there's a way out of the basket if she waves her paws around (taken seconds before she somersaulted out):

Rauhan shows us what he thinks of this basket lark:

Tarkka just hanging out in the garden:

Jaska finds all the good stuff to chew:

By special request, Inko with Lenny. Perhaps when her new owners find her 'stop' button it might be easier to get a photo of her:

Tarmo just doesn't get the joke. Sulo, Jaska & Viivi aren't telling:

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

road trip

The pups went for their eye tests yesterday and they are all fine. The test involves the nurse coming to the car to put drops in everyone's eyes to dilate the pupils then a few minutes later as many puppies as can be carried at once go into the vet's office and he looks in each eye using several different contraptions and lights. Then the big bill, of course. The puppies were all extremely well behaved and the surgery staff did much ooh-ing and aah-ing over them. Thanks again to Jo for her company on the drive and assistance in fetching and carrying puppies.

This was also the puppies' first car journey. They have all had a few minutes sitting in the parked car and a few minutes sitting in the parked car with the engine running, but this was the first time the car moved. Ideally the first journey should be short, ease them into it. But no, this is a 45-mile drive across Dartmoor to Tavistock taking about an hour, each way. There are only certain vets who are qualified to test under the BVA eye scheme, and the only other one in this part of the country is about 30 miles away in the other direction. However, I know and like the one in Tavistock, and it's a much nicer drive. For our trouble, we were rewarded with seeing a pony rolling around on her back in a field while 2 foals grazed nearby. Awwww...

The road is quite twisty in places, with too many roundabouts, which doesn't help. However, only 3 of the puppies were sick, and only 1 of them was sick going in both directions, so that's a good result. I think in the last litter, every single one of them vomited on this trip. So, I'm pleased with these guys. Once they were back in their garden pen, it was as if nothing had ever happened, so they clearly weren't too traumatised.

I didn't get a photo of them all tucked up in the car crate, but here are some of the attempts we have been making to get some pictures to submit for the 2009 SFLS calendar. You can see how difficult it is. Just to get something in focus is quite a feat! We persevere.

L-R: Sulo, Tarkka, Maija, Rauhan

Maija practicing flirting with Keskiyö

Tarmo & Sulo:

L-R: Rauhan, Sulo, Tarkka, Inko

Sunday, 14 September 2008

please may I go to the toilet

At the ripe old age of 5 weeks & 4 days, the first puppy asked to go out when s/he needed a wee. For a few days various puppies were squawking when they needed a poo. I was never sure whether they were asking to go out or just using it as an excuse to make a noise without getting checked for it. However, on this occasion one of the puppies very clearly sat up, and stared through the bars of the pen in the direction of the door whining. What a clever puppy! I made it to the outdoor pen just in time for the pup to run to the "loo" end and perform.

The question is, which puppy was the first to ask to go out for a wee?

Saturday, 13 September 2008

wow what a racket

I'm sure going to be needing some serious bribes to crawl back into my neighbours' favour when this is all over. Luckily, puppy cuddles take me a little way, but 6am is beyond anyone's forgiveness.

I don't feel so bad about the people behind our house who have 3 of the noisiest children I've ever heard. Every day they & about 200 of their closest friends, get stuck out into the back garden to just get on with it, as far as I can tell. When I was trying to work from home - before we moved into our luxurious new accommodation in the unheated, windowless industrial unit - that racket used to drive me crazy. So I'm happy for the puppies to dish out all the noise they like to them. Heh.

But for everyone else - and I mean everyone within a significant radius - I'm truly sorry. Four, even 5, puppies cause a bit of noise when they're playing. It's natural. Everyone understands. Double the number of puppies & double the decibels. Yikes.

Most of the time, 99% of the time, the noise level is acceptable. I'm with the puppies for the majority of their waking hours and I don't let them sit yapping & howling just to amuse themselves. (Although I must confess to enjoying the howling just the teeniest bit. It's very funny.) The time it becomes truly unbearable is just as they realize I'm on my way downstairs in the morning.

They begin to wake as the sky is getting light and they're hungry & need to relieve themselves. They have been relieving themselves all over their newspaper all night and it's in quite a state, let me tell you. They start to whine & whimper & perhaps one of them will howl a little. There is a bit of sleepy playing. If I leave them a few minutes too long at this stage, the noise level steadily increases, so I try not to go downstairs until as close to 7 o'clock as I can manage. I figure most people are up by about 7 to get ready for work. When the pups see me appear at the bottom of the stairs - bam! - they all start SCREAMING.

Now, under normal circumstances, I don't even make eye contact with the puppy who is barking for attention. He's completely ignored. He's the last to be picked up and the last to move from pen to pen. That's how they learn not to yap for attention, and it's a good strategy, it works. However, all that goes right out the window first thing in the morning. It's a race for me to get their breakfast & them into the outdoor pen as quickly as I possibly can. Sticking their faces into their breakfast plate is the only thing to quiet them. And, of course, they have wound themselves up to such a frenzy that it takes some racing around the pen, still squawking, to release the pent-up energy.

I haven't received any petrol bombs or eviction orders. Yet.

Here are a few cute puppy shots to keep you going. New poll tomorrow.

Jaana having a cuddle with Lenny:

L-R: Jaana (sitting), Tarmo, Tarkka, Viivi, Rauhan

L-R: Inko (sitting), Jaska, Jaana, Viivi, Tarkka

Friday, 12 September 2008

the bitches - 6 weeks

What I love best about her is her sense of humour and cute expression that photos just don't seem to capture. She's fearless & funny & very licky.

I love her bright expression and little gremlin ears. She will sit tilting her head from side to side knowing that's a sure-fire way to get picked up for a cuddle.

Think you're confused? Sulo used to be LMP but is now Cross. Don't ask... I'll get myself sorted out eventually. What do you mean, I'm running out of time?
I love this girl's quiet personality; she's cuddly & shy until you try to pick her up & then it's catch-me-if-you-can games. Wonderful fluffy face.

What can I say? She has so many endearing qualities. She's still the "Flash" who shoots around the pen. She knows her name and she invented chasing games, grabbing toys and running like mad in the hope someone will follow.

My favorite thing about her at the moment is that she's a cheeky, engaging little monkey. She's a real people puppy and one of the first to throw herself into the air hoping to be picked up.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

the dogs - 6 weeks

What I love best about this guy (apart from his enormous white paws, of course) is the way he zooms over to say hello with his ears flat back and his tail wagging him off his feet.

My favorite thing about him right now is his big smile, tongue hanging out, when he's playing. Also, he's so heavy that he's very cuddly and squishable.

I love the beautiful tan markings on this boy making him look so much like his handsome dad. He's the fearless boy who went off to happily meet the school kids in the park, even mustering a little wag for them.

I love his cheeky expression and how clever he is. He was the first to learn his name and, of course, he invents all the best games.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

poll result

Ha, I fooled you all by including Maija in the list! As she has been the ringleader for many of the games, I can see why you voted her most likely to be next up onto the box. Also, guessing another male should be a pretty safe bet - they're bigger & better jumpers. However, it was another clever girl - Inko. I'll bet Adam got it right!

They're all too big to get on the box these days. Whenever they try, they just squish the box flat - or at least as flat as it will go with a sibling or 2 inside.

Tomorrow is 6 weeks day with new photos and updates and after that look out for the last poll.

And, today, another video of cute puppies running up to say hi.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

character building

Late post today as I've been preoccupied with puppies-in-puppies-out all day long. Amazingly, at just short of 6 weeks old, these little 'uns are asking to go out for wees and poos. If I had a few extra arms & a few hours more energy, they'd be housetrained in days! As it is, I only get half of them out about half of the time. And, yes, it's still raining. Or should I say raining again. Much muddying of puppies. Much towelling dry of puppies. Much laundering of muddy towels. All good fun.

Their characters are developing nicely and their temperments are much more even than they were, say, 2 weeks ago. There is no clear dominant pup anymore (I can hear Jo breathing a sigh of relief from here). They are learning not to play so roughly with each other. Rather, they save their most ferocious biting for when I dare stick my fingers in the pen. Their favorite game is to see how many can hang off my sleeve by the teeth at once. There are still skirmishes that need to be broken up from time to time, but in the main everyone plays nicely.

The label of "noisy pup" of the litter has been passed from puppy to puppy over time. It seems to be a phase that each one goes through and then reverts back to a little whining for attention and only a little barking and growling in play.

The socialisation progresses. Each puppy is getting a trip down the park to the main road to get their first taste of traffic and the ooh-ing and aah-ing of strangers. They also get to sit in the car for a few minutes (no engine) and stay alone 5 mins inside and 5 mins outside. I try to make sure that each one gets one new experience everyday. Yes, I have a chart on which I keep track of who has done what so far!

Too bad I didn't take a film today when the puppies had their first taste of chicken. The reaction was "Man! You mean there is food like this!?" The crunchy puppy meal will never be the same. I missed that event, but here is a little video of how cute they are when you approach the pen. See how big they're getting?

Monday, 8 September 2008

puppy torture

I was chatting to Adam the other day & he asked me how things were going. "Fine," I said. "I'm busy torturing puppies." Being familiar with my somewhat twisted sense of humour, he laughed, knowing full well I would never dream of torturing any animal - especially puppies... would I?

As a matter of fact, I carry out a little gentle torture every day. It's important.

On that particular occasion I was engaged in the laborious process of worming and cutting nails. Ask any puppy and I'm pretty sure they'll tell you that both these chores fall firmly within the classification of torture. The good news is they get used to it. The bad news is it does take a while for this miracle to take place and in the meantime you must be FIRM FIRM FIRM and get your own way at any cost. Eventually the little darling realises the stiller he remains the quicker it will all be over.

At this age, worming consists of squirting through a syringe a thick white liquid into the pup's mouth. Once a day for 3 consecutive days every 3 weeks. I'm pretty sure it tastes disgusting. And if I wasn't already quite sure, then the puppies' reactions convince me once and for all. The trick is to get them to swallow it without spitting it out or, what's worse, shaking their heads frantically from side to side sending the sticky stuff flying all over me & the room. A hand gently placed over the face at this point is usually quite helpful. The puppy's face, not mine.

I also quickly follow the disgusting syringe with one full of lovely sweet Lactol. That appeases them nicely and they don't start screaming the next time they see a syringe. Hopefully.

By the time a puppy goes to its new home, he will be taking worming tablets. And that's a whole other ball game.

So far, these puppies are pretty good at having their claws trimmed each week. As I recall, their behaviour will get worse in this respect before it will get better. But, again, patience and perseverence is the key.

Then there's noise torture. Everyday I make sure the puppies are subjected to lots of different noise stimulation. First of all, there is the Crash Bang Wallop cd. Apparently it's been discontinued, which is a shame. I'm really glad I got mine before it was. It's 40 mins or so of everyday noises that can traditionally frighten animals who are not accustomed to them. Included in the repertoire are fireworks, thunder, people screaming, children playing, doorbells, doors slamming, etc. The idea is that you play this cd for the puppies starting with the volume very low then gradually building up the volume. I started using the cd when the pups moved downstairs and at the moment the volume has reached the level where Jay has yelled downstairs "Who's outside leaning on the car horn!?"

In addition to the cd, the puppies' pen is vacuumed around each day. They are still not too keen on this experience, but not overly traumatised either. Perhaps it helps that over the weekend the grass mower - a much scarier type of hoover-monster - was pushed around their outdoor pen. In comparison, the Dyson is a pussycat.

Then there are various things I think up to inflict upon them. Rattling a black bin bag over their heads, crashing things onto the floor, and into the sides of the pen. The point is not to terrify them, but to gently & gradually make them accustomed to lots of different experiences within a safe environment - i.e. in their pen with each other and Neka who, through her own calm, relaxed attitude, illustrates to them that it's ok.

It's all great stuff. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, all together now: along with feeding, the single most important thing you will do for your puppy is socialising him. There is no such thing as too much or too early. The work you put in those first few weeks will pay dividends for the rest of your dog's life. Fail to do the socialising at the best time and your dog will suffer as a result of it for the rest of his life. Yep, it's that important.

This week the pups have begun to go out and about meeting people. One at a time and safely tucked under my arm, of course. They're also getting acquainted with Lenny, the cat. He's a sweet boy who wants to be friends with everyone, so I know the pups are safe with him. The puppies, on the other hand, are not too sure about him yet. Especially when Lenny starts to purr.

Here is Jaska having a cuddle on my lap with Lenny. We tried to get a similar one of Jaana, but she wasn't in a cuddling mood so we'll have another go with her later.

Friday, 5 September 2008

new poll

Here is a photo of Sulo on the famous box defending her castle from Viivi. Tarkka was the first one by more than 48 hours to make it onto the box. The question is, who was second?

You have a few days to vote then I might be able to squeeze one more in before the pups start to head for their new homes. (Already!?)

spiky tykes

So, there are no weight updates today, but I knew I'd find something to entertain you with. It was only going to be a matter of time before the poor-wet-puppy photo opportunity arose. After the terrible weather last night I picked my moment carefully this morning and popped the little ones outdoors during a rare dry spell so that I could clean the indoor pen. They were happily having their breakfast and zooming around when - whoosh! - the heavens opened. Most of the pups quickly scampered under the sheet but 2 of them were running in circles thinking they could outrun the rain. If they were the sort of puppies to use bad language they would have been going "oh ****!, oh ****!, oh ****!" or similar.

So here are a couple of shots of soaked, spiky puppies. I did try to get photos of them all as Jay brought them in but in my haste most of them were too blurry to use. At the bottom is a pic of them piled into a fuzzy heap after being towelled off.

Jaska & Sulo
(Suck Monster & LMP)

Viivi & Inko
(Flash & Cross)

Heap of damp fluffies
(that's Rauhan-Chew on the left and Jaana-Spot with her bottom to camera)