Monday, 29 April 2013

the grooming of a reluctant Lapphund pt 2

You may recall the first part of this post, inspired by my task of bathing and brushing Taika when she came to stay last summer, and it's sister post, How to Give a Lapphund a Bath.  Believe it or not, Taika is not the only Lapphund who isn't very keen on getting groomed.  Keskiyo isn't overly thrilled about it either.  Did I say 'not overly thrilled'?  Actually, he absolutely hates being groomed and he complains the whole time.  And as for getting at the tricky back end, well let's just say I have been forced to devise ingenious ways to brush a dog's bottom while he is sitting on it.  And pointing it as far away from me and my brush as he can reach.

So, how do you deal with a dog who doesn't like being groomed?

First of all, ignore the complaints.  Pay no attention to the whining, moaning and general noises of displeasure.  They do not exist.  Go on with your business calmly and patiently as if your beloved was standing quietly.   For a squirmer it will help to hold him by the collar to keep him still while you go to work.

First of all, as with all things that you want a dog to grow accustomed to, you do it little and often.  Very, very often, for only a few minutes at a time.  This is how you train your young puppy to tolerate grooming - you do it every day, at least once a day, for a minute or so until it becomes second nature to see the brush coming.  For an older dog, it's not so different - you still do it as often as you can and make it a job that you do a little bit of everyday.  The absolute worst thing to do is let your reluctant Lappy go weeks without seeing a brush because then you will have a mountain of a task ahead of you when you can avoid it no longer. 

If you want your dog to enjoy being groomed instead of merely tolerating it, then you make the experience a pleasurable one.  So, while you are spending your tiny amounts of time with brush in hand every day, give your dog something good like a new fresh bone or lovely smelly hoof to occupy him while you get busy.

Another good way to make brushing a pleasurable chore is to do a little of it while the dog is relaxed.  This helps to keep them calm as well as sending the signal that grooming = chilling time. 

Taika's belly getting some attention while she is recovering from her walk.
You may have noticed the scissors close by.  There may have
been some cutting out of mats involved.

Another element in making the experience a pleasurable one is to ensure you don't actually hurt the dog during the grooming process.  That means being gentle and careful, especially around the sensitive areas, and going easy when dealing with mats or knots.

I start out by giving the dog a quick brush all over with a firm bristle brush.  This is the least offensive act you can perpetrate with a brush, as far as the dog is concerned, so it's a nice way to ease them into the experience.  It also gives you the opportunity to feel for any knots in the fur and lumps or other problems on the skin.

 Even Taika can't complain (much) about a gentle all-over general brushing.

By far the best way to make grooming an enjoyable experience for you and your dog is to make sure you start from puppyhood and make it a regular and pleasant event.  Although Keskiyo hates to see the brush coming, Neka, Maija and Tuuli all love to be on the grooming table and barge each other out of the way to be next.

Love it or loathe it, it is absolutely imperative that the Lappy gets groomed regularly, so it's advisable to make the job as pleasant and stressless as you can.  This is how much fur comes out of Keskiyo at least twice a week while he's moulting.  Little and often. 

"Are we finished yet?"

Up next:  how to groom a Lapphund - the detail

Monday, 22 April 2013

Jacob at 1 year old

I had a lovely note from Sue to say that she had checked in with the blog and was horrified to discover that I had no recent photos of Jacob in the one-year puppy update for the Riemu gang.  So she got straight on the case to put that right.

Truly, I didn't mean to embarrass anyone.  Nonetheless it would seem I am not above publicly naming and shaming those who fail to keep me up-to-date with puppy photos.  You have been warned.

But without further ado, here is Jacob at one year looking all grown up... well, kinda.  To me he still looks like a puppy with a bit of maturing to do. 

 Smiley boy relaxing in the sun

"Now where did my pebble go?"

 Hunting for treasures with George

Do you suppose Sue has trained him to wipe his
feet before coming in?

Monday, 15 April 2013

riemu puppies at 1 year old

On 18 February the Riemu puppies turned one year old, so technically they are no longer puppies.  In reality, however, Finnish Lapphunds retain their infuriating endearing puppyish qualities longer after they have abandoned official puppyhood, so although they may be maturing physically and sexually, in behaviour they are still prone to sweet puppynesses.  What, I can't make up my own words?   

Here is a selection of photos of the brood at one year or, in some cases, one-year-and-a-bit or one-year-or-a-little-less.

First born was the brown wolf sable girl Tiia, who now lives with her big half-sister Marja in Cornwall where she gets to roam the wilds of Dartmoor on a regular basis.  And then, as you can see, to chill out in luxury at home.

Photos from Maria Gregory

The second puppy to appear was Kiittaa, the "hopea" - or silver - little polar bear.  She has been busy in the show ring with Lexi during her puppy year and has had some success - most notably winning her class at Crufts in March, pictured below.  And, as it goes with dog showing, there was also some less-than-success, with one judge casting a critical eye with the comment "Well, I suppose that's an acceptable colour..."  Whatever next!  Sounds a bit to me like a judge who needs to re-read the breed standard.  Unless, of course, not all the mud had been completely eradicated beforehand...

@Nicky Birks

@Silke Hollje-Schumacher

@Silke Hollje-Schumacher

The next puppy to appear was Miila, pet name Miia, baby name Toes.  At 393 grams, she wasn't only the biggest bitch of the litter, but the biggest puppy, out-weighing even the biggest of the boys by 10 grams.  These days she's more petite, which just goes to show you can't judge anything by birth weight.

@Karen White

@Liz MacDonald

@ Liz MacDonald

After the biggest of the puppies came the smallest of them, Emmi, whose baby name was, of course, Little Ilo as she has her father Ilo's wolf sable colouring.  Emmi, too, has been busy in the show ring in her first year, and you can read all about her adventures there and elsewhere in the update sent by Jane

@Mark Treasure

@Mark Treasure

@Jane Treasure

Next came the first and smallest of the boys, Kimi, aka Jacob, baby name Claw.  He now lives in North Devon with his long-suffering "big brother" George the Cavalier King Charles where they have the run of a truly fabulous beach every day.  Lucky dogs!  Alas there are no recent photos of Jacob, although I keep threatening to get myself up to North Devon for a visit.  However, this is how cute he was at 4-5 months.

Photos from Sue Neale

And finally, the big brown boy Mikko who has the colouring and sweet expression of his mum, Keksi.  His baby name was Brownie and he is now a strapping young dog with a south Welsh accent who is being kept busy with two children to play with - and apparently plenty of snow!

Photos from Peter Davies

Happy belated birthday to the sweet Riemu puppies.  And now that they are no longer officially puppies, I am getting decidedly broody again and I'm thinking it's just about time we had the pitter-patter of little paws in this house again.  How does that happen with such frequent regularity?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Emmi at 1 year old

In February the Riemu puppies turned one year old and Jane sent me this wonderful piece all about Emmi's first year.  It was first published in the Spring 2013 edition of Lappy Tails, the newsletter of the Southern Finnish Lapphund Society

Emmi – A One Year Old

Despite being told by lots of Lappy people that once we had one Lappy we would want more we were convinced that we would stick with our one, Miika. Of course, seasoned Lappy lovers knew better and last April we introduced our newest family member, Emmi (Infindigo Riemu Emmi).

Today we are celebrating Emmi’s First Birthday and what a fabulous year it has been.

As we do not live too far away we were fortunate that we could visit Jennifer, Jay and the Riemu puppies a few times after they reached four weeks old, also Jennifer posted a daily blog so we were able to watch them develop.

  © Alexandra NcNicol
L-R: Mikko, Miia, Kiittaa, Emmi, Jacob, Tiia

Finally the day came for us to drive to Devon to bring Emmi home. Emmi and her sister, Tiia, were the last puppies to leave the nest and when we arrived they were having a vocal competition which didn’t seem to stop the whole time we were there. Fortunately once home Emmi soon realised that being noisy was not going in her favour and now only barks when she needs to let me know that someone is coming to visit.

We tried to take Emmi’s introduction to Miika slowly by letting him into the garden before bringing Emmi into the house, letting Emmi wander around and then putting her in her crate before letting Miika back in to say hello. Unfortunately Miika instantly knew we were up to something and wouldn’t move away from the back door and so was watching and twitching to get in. As soon as Emmi spotted Miika she was desperate to get to him so we let her out of the crate and they have been best friends ever since.

Emmi is the sweetest little girl; she loves people, children, dogs and other animals equally. It is lovely to watch Miika and Emmi playing although they can a little carried away with their game at times. However, it is equally heart lifting when you see them snuggled up together having a nap. Sometimes Emmi travels to Bristol with me visiting clients and loves going on the Park & Ride Bus especially when the other passengers make a fuss of her.

Emmi wants to please and tries very hard to do what we ask of her which has been very useful in the Show Ring.

Once Emmi was four months old she started Ring Craft classes; she entered her first show at six months. At this show Emmi worked very hard and was given 2nd place. Since then she has entered lots of shows – Emmi seems to really enjoy showing especially when the judge gets close to examine her, and even going so far as to give him/her a sneaky kiss! Emmi is very food orientated which can be a bonus when training but can also cause a bit of problem in the show ring as sometimes she is head down looking for any free treats left behind by the previous dogs in the ring instead of trotting nicely. In her puppy year Emmi’s best achievements in the ring were: 7 x Best Puppy in Breed, 5 x 1st place, 4 x Pastoral Puppy Group 3 and even a Pastoral Puppy Group 2. Such proud parents!

Here is Emmi being examined by the Group Judge at the Welsh Kennel Club Open Show where she was given the Puppy Group 2.

© Mark Treasure

We try to attend Lappy Walks whenever we can. Emmi loves these walks – in fact she was so excited when we arrived at the New Year Lappy Walk at Pullabrook Woods in Devon in January that she leapt out of the car and fortunately landed in Mark’s arms! Emmi is very good off-lead and it was wonderful to watch her “running the line” of walkers through the woods.

 © Jennifer Simmons

We often walk on Weston Beach too; on one of these walks Miika and Tuuli decided to gang up on Emmi and rolled her in the wet sand until she was wet through and covered from head to toe in sand - she loved every minute of it!

 © Jane Treasure

Emmi also attends a Dog Training Club each week working towards her Bronze Good Citizen Award. She passed her Puppy Foundation Course in the summer. She picks up the training very quickly and even pre-empts the next instruction so now we have to make the training a little more complicated and mix it up so that she learns to wait for the next command rather than think she knows what it will be. In December the Club held a Christmas Party. We played games with the dogs, had a buffet and raffle and then a Fancy Dress Competition – of course there was only one character that Emmi could possibly go as – Princess Bride. Here she is in her pink tutu and veil.

© Mark Treasure

So Emmi is now a One Year Old, technically no longer a puppy but she is a Finnish Lapphund so thankfully retains those fabulous puppy traits that make this breed so lovable.

Emmi has brought us so much love, joy, fun and laughter and we are over-whelmed with love for her – our precious, beautiful princess. We will be eternally grateful to Jennifer and Jay for trusting us to take care of this super little girl.

Jane Treasure