Thursday, 29 April 2010

6 weeks old weights

Just realised I forgot to post the puppies' weights this week and last week. Whatever have I been doing with my time? Don't ask.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

a day in the life

It's hard work being a puppy. There's just so much to do.

You have to grow teeth ...

... try them out a few times

Then there's your home.

You need to keep out the riff raff ...

... rearrange the furniture ...

... make sure it's comfy ...

... for everyone, whatever their preference ...

... don't forget the soft furnishings.

All in all it can get pretty tiring ...

... and even then you've still got to earn your keep with modelling jobs.

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

plant a tree

While the fumes being produced by the puppies may not be environmentally friendly, the blog can be. Today I have signed up to the Plant a Tree initiative by Ixpo, a UK company who manufacture carbon-neutral display products.

Apparently if I add their advertising button to the blog, in conjunction with the American National Forest Foundation, they will plant a tree on my behalf in areas of the US that need re-forestation. I'm happy to support this, although there's no way of knowing if the tree will get planted. Here's hoping!

I've planted a few trees in my time and it can be hard work, so thanks for the tree.

As for puppies, I'm working on it & I'll get right back to you.

Monday, 26 April 2010

6 weeks old

Yes, the blog has been very quiet. We, in this house, on the other hand, have been anything but.

In addition to all the visitors, there is an enormous amount of cleaning up to be done now - these puppies seem to eat much more than previous litters and so they produce a correspondingly generous amount of waste. And I don't know if you know, but at this point they think it's very entertaining not only to jump in any little piles they get to before I do, but also to jump all over my hands as I reach in to try and pickup. Jay & I both have very dry, chapped hands from the many, many times we wash our hands each day - make that each hour.

We've also reached the stage of the barking for fun and shouting matches between puppies as they compete to see who can make the most noise. We do our best to discourage this behaviour, obviously. But they're also learning to be housetrained and so they are barking to go out as well, which we encourage. It's a fine line.

Only some of the photos are ok this week. We ran out of time yesterday morning before puppy visitors arrived and when we went back to it my camera was giving me trouble. However, when it comes to puppies and puppy pictures, some is always going to be better than none, so here's what we've got.

Minna (2Toes)

Minna wasn't in the mood to stand or sit on demand yesterday. She didn't want to cooperate at all.

But she is expert at looking coy.

Kallio (2Tone)

Not exactly happy to stand, as such, but kept still with a firm grip on his tail, terrier style.

He's very good at sitting, looking cute though. The Lappy specialty.

Kesä (Grey Wolf)

Kesä was another with no interest in standing on this occasion. Running, yes. Playing, undoubtedly. Standing, um, I don't think so thanks. Maybe tomorrow.

Usko (Dino)

In a bright and wakeful moment Usko was, unusually, more than happy to pose.

As for standing, I managed to get 6 or 8 photos exactly like this one before he moved. Not a wonderful stand, really, but clearly a comfortable one.

Jaana (Butterfly)

Also very good at sitting and I got quite a few usable ones, but a little camera shy - she chose to look away.

Again, not quite the best standing shot with the head turned to the side and the tail straight up, terrier-style, but the only one we could get.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

poll result

Quick note for those dying of suspense - you were all wrong! Well, apart from Liz's niece, that is. Kesä (aka Grey Wolf) was the first by a day or two.

Or perhaps we just mistook her general yapping for attention to be demands to go out. No, there's a distinct difference between barking at the door & barking at people. She is definitely the people puppy of the litter and the first to run to say hello & ask to be picked up for a cuddle.

The training not to bark for attention starts here. Actually, it started about a week ago. It's working. I'm sure it is.

More later & with some pics if you're lucky.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

herding cats

Well, not actually cats, but herding baby herding dogs is as difficult as herding cats. Maybe more so. A friend visited briefly on Monday to give me a lift to collect my new car and while he was here he gave me a great idea. He managed to line up all 5 sleepy puppies in a neat little row for a photo. Of course, by the time I ran to get the camera they had scattered to the 5 corners of the pen again. So yesterday I put the challenge to Jay and he's always up for a laugh. Which is just as well.

In the end we got a cute shot good enough to submit to the SFLS newsletter. If you want to see it, you'll have to join the club, which you can do here. Anyway, it was similar to this one.

L-R: Minna, Kallio, Jaana, Kesä, Usko

But the outtakes tell the real story and you don't need me to explain. Here is a mere selection.

At this point we enlisted the assistance of our friend & neighbour Kelly, who is also always good for a laugh as well as a quick puppy cuddle. We figured 4 hands are better than 2. Well, maybe.

It was all much more fun than it looks from these photos. At least it was from where I was sitting with camera.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

playing in the sun

When the puppies first moved downstairs at the age of 4 weeks it was a bit too chilly for them outside. The cold was exacerbated by the drastic eradication of the grass in our back garden after the last litter moved out. We have a lovely, low-maintenance stone patio now. However, that's pretty cold on little dogs' toes. And when I see them scampering around out there I do feel a little guilty about getting rid of all the soft grass.

By the time the 5-week mark rolled around, the weather had improved considerably and now we have had a veritable string of wonderfully warm, sunny days. The puppies are happy because they get to spend time outdoors and we're happy because it's easier to clean up the patio pen than the indoor pen.

Here they are having a game in the sunshine on Sunday. Apologies that you can see very little detail when they run into the shade. They are starting early, these shade-loving, cold-stone-seeking puppies.

Monday, 19 April 2010

house training poll

With the last litter, the first puppy clearly asked to go outside for a poo at the age of 5 weeks, 4 days. Today, remarkably, at 5 weeks and 1 day, the first of this litter clearly asked to go out. Usko (Dino) and one other run around squawking when they need to go, but one puppy clearly stood up at the bars of the pen and yapped in the direction of the patio doors and the great outdoors. So, quick poll: who was the first puppy to ask to go outside for a poo?

You have until Thurs night to vote.

I have the puppies' weight update as well as some cute photos and videos which I'll try to get around to sorting out tomorrow, but my to-do list is steadily growing after a very full day today, so you may have to bear with me on that one.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

5 weeks old

I cannot believe we are at the 5-week mark already. After such a shaky first couple of weeks, it's been so much fun ever since. Not to mention so unexpectedly easy compared to my first litters of 7 and then 9. In fact, when the puppies were about 3 days old, Jay came into the puppy room, looked into the box containing 5 tiny wigglers and said, "Where's the rest of them?"

I've been determined not to teach these puppies to scream at people who enter the room. I really didn't want a repeat of the cacophony the last lot used to make each morning when I came downstairs. To date, they're staying pretty quiet when I first come downstairs and sort out the other dogs.

Of course, the litter of 9 constituted twice the lung-power, and it's still early days. However, we're working on ignoring the cutest thing in the room when we first enter. It's good for the puppies and a useful lesson to take home with the youngsters when they leave here. Puppies need to learn that the world doesn't actually revolve around them and that they are not the most important person in the household. Tricky, that one. I've yet to see a 8- or 10-week-old puppy who was not the most interesting thing in any household.

Anyway, so far so good.

And, so, to the 5-week photos. I have been informed by a member or two of the Facebook Lapphund community that Jay & I are not the only ones who struggle to take good photos of the puppies standing at this age. Reassuring! Nonetheless, this week we have managed to join the 'them' who display lovely standing photos. Ours are not as good as 'theirs', obviously, but we persevere.

The decisions have now been made as to which puppy is going where, so I'm also unveiling their new names (pending KC approval, that is) - ta da!

2Toes: Infindigo Tuisku Minna
Pet name 'Minna' - a girl's name

2Tone: Infindigo Tuisku Kallio
Pet name 'Kallio' - meaning 'rock'

GreyWolf: Infindigo Tuisku Kesä
Pet name 'Kesä' - meaning 'summer'

Dino: Infindigo Tuisku Usko
(How's that one for a tongue-twister?)
Pet name 'Usko' - meaning 'belief' or 'faith'

Butterfly: Infindigo Tuisku Piia
Pet name 'Jaana' - a girl's name
(It's nice to have a puppy in the family called Jaana. Maija has a sister whose kennel name is Jaana, but she is called Sybil! Hence, Jaana's kennel name shall be Piia. Just don't ask how I will distinguish between Piia-Jaana and Jaana-Sybil in future blog posts...)

Friday, 16 April 2010


There's no let up around here. Seems I'm busier this time around with only 5 puppies in the house than I was last time with 9. Maybe because with 9 I didn't try to do anything else and this time I'm trying to do everything else.

3 of the puppies' homes have been decided and their names have been picked. Until someone changes their mind again, that is.

Most breeders will pick their litter's kennel names and register them with the Kennel Club straight away. No fuss, no bother, and the registration certificate comes back in good time to go to the new owners with the puppy.

I, on the other hand, like to give my puppies' families some input into choosing their names. With the last litter, I knew who would be having males and who females, and they were all the same colour, so I was able to just register 'these 5' female black & tans and 'these 4' male black & tans. It's a bit trickier this time, so I won't get the registration done until this weekend when the final names are determined. That means the certificates will probably be late. But worth it, I think.

All the puppies in the litter will have the same first two names: Infindigo Tuisku, the first being my kennel name and the second being the Finnish word for 'snowstorm'. I think it's nice to have a name common to the whole litter to identify the family. The litter of 9 were called 'Monta', which is Finnish for 'many' because of the size of the litter. The Tuisku bunch will be named in honour of the terrible - and unusual - weather Kate & I faced to take Taika to France and back for her date.

But just wait until you hear the given names. I really like them all, but it's going to make their full monikers real tongue-twisters. What fun! No, really.

This is all dependent on the Kennel Club accepting the proposed names. They do have the right to veto anything a breeder proposes, although I understand this is only done in the case where a name is very similar to another dog. It hasn't happened to me yet, so hopefully we'll all be lucky again this time.

More visitors this weekend, starting this afternoon, so to keep you going, here's a treat or two.

The wine box is not only a great toy, but it also makes a terrific 'castle' onto which a puppy can climb and then leap off onto the back of her unsuspecting brother... I really must try to get that on film, but they've been a bit too quick thus far. In the meantime, 2Tone has discovered another great use for the wine box:

How cute is that! We have several photos of him snuggled asleep in there - it's his favorite.

Since the puppies have moved downstairs, Granny Neka is delighted that she's finally allowed to help out. Here are mum & babies with granny on hand to help clean up. She's excellent at licking porridge (or other unmentionable stickiness) from the puppies' faces and coats while Taika is busy nursing - or otherwise occupied playing with Maija.

Neka is also very good at playing with the puppies and she has already started to teach them how to play with toys. The first video shows her with the squeaky and it looks so much fun even Taika decides to join in. Of course, in these games there's always the temptation for the older dogs to simply try and steal the puppy toys away to play with the other older dogs...

In the second granny is having a game with GreyWolf.

Apologies - there are voices on these films interfering with the full appreciation of puppy noises.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

more toys

When the puppies turned 4 weeks old they moved downstairs to see the world from the safety of their pen in our living room. Today was their first foray into the outdoor pen, and they had lunch al fresco. But the wind was a bit chilly so they didn't stay out there long.

Here is the gang shortly after moving into their pen, settling in and getting to grips with their new toys. Note poor little 2Tone getting picked on by all his sisters. In the end I had to stop filming to rescue him. Awww...

Monday, 12 April 2010


The puppies are really interacting with their toys now. They're growling at them, pouncing & chewing on them & dragging them all around.

My First Bone

Wine boxes make great chew-toys-come-climbing-frames - fun for the whole family!

As you can see, sometimes the most unlikely items make the best toys.

2Toes attacks the corner of the mat

A poor photo, but excellent subject: 2Tone dragging paper all over the pen while Taika & Maija look on in envy.

And after all the playing is done, some toys make the best pillow.

4 weeks old weights

I haven't been able to compare the weights of this litter to the weights of the last litter at this age because my old postage scales only went up to just over 2 kg and by this age most of the puppies have reached that weight. Needless to say, when I needed to buy new postage scales for work I made sure they would be more suitable for weighing puppies. Makes sense, no?

Here's the usual picture followed by the numbers.

At this point everybody wants to know which puppy they are going to have. They need to know. Yes, you might even say they have a right to know. Do the owners-to-be of these puppies know? Er, know. I mean, no.

I always make it clear to everyone right from the beginning that they won't really be given a choice of which puppy they will get. If someone wants a specific colour or sex, that's fine. We discuss and agree that long before any puppies are even born. But apart from those considerations, I call the shots when it comes to placing puppies with the right families. The reason I call the shots is this: I know the puppies and I make it my business to get to know the puppies' new families and so I know who will be best suited to whom.*

I just haven't figured that out with this bunch yet.

I do have an excuse for taking so long to decide, and this is it: the puppies' personalities are only starting to develop now. They are just learning to play and interact with us, each other and their toys. They are learning what their teeth are for. It will be a while before it will be clear which is the absolute naughtiest one that will be moving back home with Taika...

And as for which ones will be suitable for the show ring. Yikes, that's a tough call even for very experienced breeders. I'm just guessing here, really. In the past I have found that my best guesses have always been made at 5 weeks of age, not 4. So at this stage all I'm guessing is that at the 5-week update the puppies will have the names that have been chosen for them by their new families.

As they say, watch this space.

I've got some cute videos & photos of the puppies settling into their palatial new downstairs pen which I'll sort out & post later.

*Do not criticise my grammar, people, I beg you. I have no idea how to use who & whom - and I'm not convinced that the word 'whom' is even necessary in the normal run of things. So many words in English are quite obsolete these days, I find. However, it's nice to throw a 'whom' in there from time to time just to see who's paying attention.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

4 weeks old

Usually at this point I would present perfect pictures of puppies sitting prettily and also standing strong & square. Who am I trying to kid? The evidence to the contrary of "strong & square" lives on this very blog. How is it anyone ever gets those perfect standing photos, anyway? Because, I assure you that they do. I don't, but 'they' do. Perhaps I should invite 'them' over?

So, for now, I have only sitting and very poor standing shots to offer - and there's 2 missing, at that. It's been a bit of a lovely mad weekend full of visitors so I haven't even weighed them yet today. As for trimming their claws - forget it. Rest assured I will keep on trying... and as soon as I get something better to show you, you'll be the very first to know.

2Toes only sitting on this occasion - frankly it was quite a feat to get her to stay still for even that long. See how fluffy she's getting around her ears already?

2Tone sorta half-sitting then standing (again, sorta)

Grey Wolf does a great sitting pose and is pretty good at standing too (well, getting ready to walk away, anyhow)

Dino is excellent at sitting. Standing? Not so much. You can even see his eyes in this one, which makes a nice change.

Butterfly sitting only - and with a terrible backgound. I think I have a standing photo of her as well. On the other hand, it might be 2Toes. Must do better.