Pontus is now 18 weeks old and he is getting the basics:
1) Sit to wait for his food
2) Wait to be let through a door, no barging
3) Stay in the back of the truck when it’s open without jumping out
4) When invited out, he sits first before being allowed to go
5) Walk to heel
6) Leave it – Take it
7) Sit, lie down
8) DOWN with head on the ground on command, not yet on whistle:
Head down on command. This means he would not be able to see tempting hares etc
Pontus is mainly learning how to get on with the world. I simply don’t have time to train him as I work the others 3-4 days per week. And also need to look after the day job. However, he has seen most of the grouse moors we work on by now and is a good little fellow with humans and other dogs. He met his half brother a couple of weeks ago, which was nice as Truper is a kind a playful brother (same father). Here they are:
Pontus and Truper
Now that I only have Pontus left, I can concentrate on the training. He is keen to learn and it is vital that we go everywhere to see the world. I had him in the pub, in the car, meeting other dogs and on the moor. Here is his first day in the heather:
Pontus smelling the heather on the moor.
Having dreaded the departure for weeks, it is actually not too bad. I have managed not to cry so far. During the last week it has become clear to me that the pups need more than what I can give them and they need more space and more challenges. They are ready to go to their new homes and I am ready to concentrate more on Pontus.
I have it sorted: First thing in the morning I chuck chicken thighs in their whelping box to keep them in there and NOT on the wet and poohy newspaper in the pen. While they devour the chicken I can clean the pen and put down new, dry paper. They eat a phenomenal amount. I thought I would take a photo of the shopping trolley last time I went to the supermarket (and I go a few times a week!):
The whole process of these pups follow a set path determined in the distant past amongst the wolf ancestors to the dogs. Gaia’s handling of the new pups, her gradual distancing from them, her weaning where she still gives them a small amount of milk, but increasingly regurgitate food for them instead and her disciplining of the little young dogs. I give them toys (empty milk cartons etc) and they love that, but the “killing practice” is the most important. They spend all wakening hours chasing and pushing one another over, shaking the skin, biting and pulling. It’s a training in agility for taking down pray as much as a social education where they learn to know each other’s limits. When you bite someone and he squeals, you went to far. That’s it. They spend most of the day in the outside pen:
Theia and Pontus in the garden.
The pooh is on a biblical scale. I should really look back at the CCTV footage of the pups’ room to have a laugh about my frantic morning. I chuck chicken bones or pieces of tripe in to the whelping box really quickly to make them all concentrate on the food while I gather up all the poohed newspaper as fast as I can before they come and jump up my arms. The whole lot goes in the wood burner and then we can all breathe. Next thing is that they want out. Either in the rest of the room or in their outdoor pen. If it is very wet, the outdoor pen just gets so muddy it’s not a good idea, but we shall get some nice weather later in the week so they will be able to enjoy that.
Here are the pups at six weeks old:
Never a dull moment now. The little pooh machines are active!! The whelping box has long lost its novelty and their newspaper covered pen too. They are ready to go out in the outdoor pen and they LOVE it. Here are the weekly portraits:
Having been cut off from uploading photos due to lightning burning a load of equipment, I can now resume the blog.
Here are the four-week portraits.
Poor Gaia, these pups are really taking a lot of milk. Here she is at the last milk-only feed. We shall start the solid food as soon as possible.
Gaia feeding 9 greedy pups