Tuesday, 31 December 2013

happy new year

At this stage I'm still missing the puppies and still worrying about how they are doing, although I know that their owners are getting on with puppy stuff and barely giving me a thought.  As it should be.  Or, that's what I keep telling myself.  I try not to email/text/phone everyone daily to make sure all is well, you understand, but still it's nice to get updates.

Around about the 10-week mark the house training is going well, the first vaccinations have been done, there have been lots of experiences with new places, new people and new dogs, and everyone is getting ready for their puppy classes to start in a week or so.  The main questions that everyone has are:  (a) how do I get him to stop biting me? (b) is it ok when I do X, Y or Z? and (c) how do I get him to stop biting the lead?

Lots of biting-related questions at this stage, and everyone is always relieved to hear that it's all perfectly normal and necessary.  Although, to be fair, that probably doesn't help with the scratches, torn sleeves and various other puppy-teeth-related injuries.  It is an age where puppies must learn that it is never acceptable to bite people and they must learn what it is ok to bite (i.e. toys and chews - not legs of anything, whether they belong to humans, other dogs or even tables).  And it is an age that the humans must survive.  As with all puppy-related issues, time and gentle, consistent guidance will see you through.  Leather gloves come in handy too.

Wishing all my friends, readers, visitors and puppy owners a very happy new year!  May 2014 bring you all you wish for and more.  And may it see the back of what you wish would bugger off.

I will leave you with a couple of photos of some grown-up puppies that were sent to me in honour of their recent 3rd birthday.  Incidentally, Daniel tells me that Kuura has had another phase of calming down and maturing - there you go, Pippuri puppy owners, only two-and-three-quarters-of-a-year to go.

Kuura looking gorgeous with a little help from the wind

Bo with her rosettes

Bo looking so much like both mum and granny!

Monday, 23 December 2013

house training and Tito departs

"The house training seems to be a bit more complicated with this bunch than I've been accustomed to with earlier litters."

That's a line I started a draft blog post with a year and a half ago.  It never turned into a full blog post because apparently I was overtaken by events.  I have to say, with hindsight I don't actually remember those puppies being particularly difficult to house train, although their owners might have different stories to tell. 

What I can tell you, though, is that the Pippuri puppies were all asking to go out for poos by 6 weeks with most of them asking for wees by 7 weeks.  Amazing.  However, then it started raining and it all went to pot (so to speak). 

I received feedback that most of the puppies were doing well with the house training once they left here.  The ones who gave the most trouble were those left in the southwest in the truly horrendous torrential rain and ferocious wind.  And don't think it's just newbie owners who struggle with this -  I was finding it difficult with Tito too.  The classic house training problem (which is made so much worse in bad weather) is that you stand out there for AGES with the puppy usually just lying down in the wet, then you give up and come back in, at which point the puppy promptly wees on the floor.

The reality of housetraining a puppy during an English winter

This is the advice I give to my puppy buyers on how to house train a puppy.  It sounds easy, in theory.  And it often is actually easy in practice.  Until it starts raining, that is. 

The most important element in house training is to take him outside before he realises he needs to go. 

A puppy has a very small bladder and no control at all, so they cannot hold it even for 2 seconds.  As soon as they realise they need to go, then they need to go NOW and it’s too late.  Therefore, you need to get him outside regularly and often to encourage him to go before he is even aware he is ready.

Every time your puppy wees indoors is a lesson to him that it is ok to wee indoors.  Similarly, every time he wees outdoors is a lesson that it is ok to wee outdoors.  You don’t want him to ever learn it is ok to wee indoors, so you ideally want him to have every wee outdoors.  That means you will need to be vigilant and put in the hard work in the early weeks.

·         As soon as your puppy wakes up, whether it is first thing in the morning or after a daytime nap, take him immediately outside for a wee.

·         When your puppy is awake and playing, take him outside for a wee at least every 20 minutes.   By the time he realises he needs to go, it’s too late.

·         I suggest you take him on lead to the area of the garden where he may perform and give him a word of encouragement (eg. 'be quick', 'have a wee/poo', or whatever command suits you.  Be consistent in the words you use.)

·         When he obliges, praise him and give him a little treat.  Your patience at this time will be well rewarded as you will soon have a puppy who knows where to go and can be encouraged to go on command – most useful when you are away from home or it's pouring with rain!

·         He will wee many, many times a day at first, and will poo a few times.  If your puppy is looking very busy sniffing the floor, walking in circles, then he needs a poo.   Sometimes they get quite frantic with it – that’s normal, don’t worry.  Take him outside on a lead and stand in one place letting him move freely around the length of the lead until he obliges.  When he is done, praise him and give him a little treat.  Be patient – this can sometimes take a long time because your puppy will be easily distracted.  Don’t give up and return to the house for 12-15 minutes or he is likely to go as soon as you get back in!

·         If your puppy has an accident inside the house, never punish him for it – he doesn’t know any better.  If you punish him for these accidents he will be confused and he will learn to hide away from you to do it.  If he has an accident inside, simply take him outside to illustrate where he is allowed to go.  If you catch him having an accident, say “no”, pick him up and get him outside. 

·         It's a good idea to train your puppy to perform on a variety of surfaces such as grass, pebbles, concrete, etc, and when he is out and about to perform away from home as well.  You don’t want your pup to think the only appropriate place is one corner of his garden at home!

Always take your puppy for a wee or poo on lead and stand in one place waiting patiently.  Your puppy will suddenly find a dozen other things to take his interest and attention away from the job at hand.  Just wait him out and praise him when he finally gets around to performing.  

The key to quick house training is constant supervision.  Don’t leave your puppy to wander around left to his own  devices so that you can spot any accidents in the planning.

See?  Easy, right?  Uh huh.

I wish Tito's new family all the very best of luck with continuing the house training that I started.  Hopefully their weather is the southeast is better than we have been having.  He's a clever puppy and I'm sure he will catch on quickly.

Here he is setting off with the Carusos.

And here he is with Luca and Matteo settling in to his new home.

Cuddle time

And, finally, here is a wonderful picture that Matteo made for me of him walking Tito.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

12 dogs of xmas

Each year we receive some wonderful cards from friends and even from Infindigo dogs who very cleverly sign, stamp and post their own cards.  I stopped sending cards a few years ago, and I usually donate money to charity instead.  This year, although I certainly intend to donate money to charity,  I haven't yet quite managed to get even that organised. 

But I would like to wish very happy holidays to all my friends, readers and blog visitors, whatever festival you may be celebrating.

In our case, of course, the tenth day of Christmas would have 10 Lappies Leaping... or perhaps 10 Lappies Yapping.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

8 weeks old

Today Tito leaves home with his new family, so there will be lots of tears in this household.   I miss all the puppies after they leave, and so it's that much more special when I get photos back of them having fun and growing up in their new homes.  These are the puppies at 8 weeks old (or thereabouts).

Infindigo Pippuri Aatami

Showing off his tongue

"And this is how my tongue looks from the side."

Infindigo Pippuri Kai

Showing off his teeth

Looking adorable (& innocent!)

Infindigo Pippuri Fiia

Looking oh-so-cute, having claimed a lap, er, chest!

One ear up!

Infindigo Pippuri Kaito

In the traditional birthday sitting pose

And the standing pose

Infindigo Pippuri Talvi

Tug for two with Usko

Practicing being cute while Liz refuels

Friday, 20 December 2013

Jaana's first day

Jaana's very first photos have already been posted on the blog here and she now has a page all to herself on my website, which you can see here.

Jane and I drove up the M5 on Tuesday afternoon to collect Jaana from the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow.  We expected the normal 2-hour wait following the arrival of the flight for her to clear customs, but when we arrived the waiting room was full of people waiting for their pets and we were told it would be another hour.  So we headed out to find a coffee.  Not to mention a toilet.

When we got back there was no waiting, but, intriguingly, we did see the arrival of no fewer than NINE cats that someone took delivery of.  And they appeared to be nothing special - just standard, adult-sized moggies.  Not that I mean to cast aspersions on moggies or anything, you understand.  I am the proud property of one such ginger gentleman. 

With me at the Animal Reception Centre

And with Jane - the beginning of a love affair

It did take us a little longer to get home than it did to get to the airport.  You might think that it was because we had a bewildered 3-and-a-half-month-old puppy with us.  But no.  Jaana was a complete angel.  She settled on Jane's lap and caused not one moment of trouble for the 3 hours it took us to get home.  However, my satnav and I did not get on very well with the various motorway junctions.   There might have been more than one occasion when we found ourselves heading the wrong direction on the motorway.  There might even have been more than two.  Ahem.

But I got us back to Jane's safe and sound in the end.  

Jane and Mark very kindly invited me to stay that night so that I could enjoy Jaana too and be there for the following day.  So in spite of being in the house of a famously excellent dog photographer, somehow I ended up being the official photographer of a few of Jaana's firsts.  Well, it was only fair that Mark got to enjoy her without a camera between them, for once.

She met the big dogs - and they were so great with her

Miika looks pleased with his new playmate

Then it was time to meet the pussycats

Some pussycats were less impressed than others

Next morning there was some lead training on the way to the vet

Taking everything in her stride

It's sooo stressful at the vet's!  Not.

Then there was a lunchtime trip to the pub

Learning correct pub protocol from Emmi

After her busy day, finally back home to reclaim the toy stash

All settled in - photo Mark Treasure

Thursday, 19 December 2013

8 weeks old & leaving home

The puppies are 8 weeks old and only one is left here, although we are sadly packing his little bag in preparation for his new family to pick him up on the weekend.

It's always a mixture of sad and happy to see the puppies go off to their new homes.  You have to be happy for them to be starting out on their big adventures, and happy for their new families.  But I'm always a little sad to see them go and there is always a tear or two shed.

It's even more difficult when there is only one who stays behind longer than the rest.  I have spent time training and socialising him and bonded with him even more than I had when the whole litter was here.  Hopefully his family won't mind if I just tie him to the gate post for them to collect so I don't have to watch him leave.

Here are Tito's 8-week-update photos.

And now that I have my laptop fully functioning again, here are the belated farewell photos for the rest of the gang.  I particularly like the photo of Fiia leaving - which just goes to show that sometimes the outtakes make the best captures.

Kai the first to leave with Holly & James

Kaito off with Phil, Rae & William

Talvi setting off with Liz & Ian to meet Usko at home

Angela & Jonny with Fiia refusing to look at the camera

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

welcome to Jaana

Today is a super-exciting day - not only for me but also for Jane & Mark, Emmi and Miika.  Today is the day that Jane and I are driving to Heathrow to meet a special traveller from Sweden.  I am delighted to introduce Lapinlumon Pilvipouta, called Jaana, who will be jointly owned by us all.  She will be living with Jane & Mark and one day, hopefully, provide us with some wonderful puppies here at Infindigo. 

We are so very grateful to Sarah Brandes for parting with this special girl and allowing her to come to the UK.  As I write this, I am getting ready to go and pick her up and I can't tell you how thrilled I am.  As for Jane, she has probably already lost the top of her head through sheer anticipation.  I'm sure Emmi will be very happy to have another playmate, although you have to feel sorry to Miika now that he will have two girls bossing him around. 

There will be lots more photos in a later update of her arrival, but for now, this is how she looked as an irresistible baby (all photos by Sarah Brandes).

Jaana 5 weeks

8 weeks old

8 weeks old

12 weeks old

And here we are arriving at Jane's house after picking her up this evening.

Monday, 16 December 2013

final week from instagram

You may have noticed it's gone a bit quiet around here.  It's not because most of the puppies went to their new homes over the weekend, although they did.  No, something far more dramatic and life-changing happened: on Friday the electric cable for my laptop died, quickly followed by my laptop, containing all my photos carefully preserved for the blog.  Zounds!  What bad luck and quite rotten timing, just as the puppies are moving into the next stage in their young lives.

Luckily the phone is still operational, so I do have a little update from Instagram on the gang as they leave for their new homes.

Fiia teddybear  -  Tito's little bear paws
Kai having a thoughtful moment  -  Tug for two: Talvi & Kai
Peeping over the gate of the pen: Tito, Fiia, Kaito, Kai

Emmi visits  -  Neka discovers watermelon
Kai in his new home (simples!)  -  Kaito in his new home
Fiia in her new home  -  Tito the only one left

And, finally, Talvi in her new outdoor pen with new big brother Usko.  Fun times ahead for them, as I hear that Usko was just a little thrilled about the new family member.

Next up:  updates on the gang in their new homes, what Tito has been up to while the only puppy here and big news as Jane and I run a very special and exciting errand tomorrow.

Friday, 13 December 2013

beethoven and other noise

As soon as they are born, my thoughts turn to starting the puppies' socialisation process.  It's something that the new owners will have to work on through their dog's whole first year and beyond, but particularly in the first crucial weeks after they leave the litter.  Long before that time, however, I am already putting in a great deal of work to make sure these puppies grow into happy, confident and relaxed dogs. 

As soon as they are born the experiences start with the vacuum going around their box daily.  They can't see or hear it at that stage, but they can feel the rumbling.  Having said that, by the age of 6 weeks you would never guess they had been exposed to the vacuum every day for their entire lives - they still cower in a heap in the corner everytime it comes around.

They are exposed to sounds, people, strange things like hats and umbrellas, they have (soft) things thrown into the pen with them, they visit other houses, they have a little car ride, they have two trips each into town to do some visiting there.  It's hard work, but it pays off in the long run. 

Another experience each litter is treated to is a little burst of piano music, courtesy of Jay.  As you can see, the Pippuri puppies don't appear to be exactly enamoured with Beethoven.  I love the way they tilt their heads at the beginning.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

7 weeks old

The puppies are 7 weeks old. Wow is what I have to say to that.  They are such a joy that I don't want them to go, but they are, nonetheless, now getting ready to set off for their new homes.  In fact, by the time they hit 8 weeks, all but one will be in their new homes.  And what of that one?  Well, we've decided to keep Tito.  KIDDING!  Tito will be heading off to his new home the following weekend, so there will be 8-week update photos of him (and of the others too if their new owners are willing).

In fact, I've started packing one puppy bag already as Kai will be the very first to go.  In his standing shot you can even see his bling in the form of his brand new little red collar.  The puppies wear their collars for a couple of days before leaving us to get them accustomed to it, and he has hardly taken any notice of his at all.  The lead, on the other hand, is a slightly different story.  I'm sure he will be so busy exploring his new surroundings that he will soon learn to ignore the lead too. 

Infindigo Pippuri Aatami

Infindigo Pippuri Kai

Infindigo Pippuri Fiia

Infindigo Pippuri Kaito

Infindigo Pippuri Talvi