Friday, March 19, 2010

Early Learning K9 Style

For a good beginning the litter should be together with mom or a surrogate for a minimum of seven weeks. Around five weeks when the litter is eating well, I would remove mom. There is no need for the pups to continue to nurse.

The best surrogate we ever had was a male Rottweiler named Spunky. He would even get into the whelping box when the moms were out to potty. He stimulated the neonates. Spunky was the best Mr. Mom.

Spunky was a fun dog who would offer a fire hydrant a play bow. Over his life time Spunky was surrogate for our litters as well as clients. Rottweiler, Bullmastiff and Giant Schnauzer puppies raised by Spunky all gave lots of play bows. Coincidence???

The Puerto Rican island puppies that make it are very street smart. They learn early who their friends are and the hostilities of their world. The learning curve here is very steep or they don't make it.

After weaning, in the independent feeding stage is where we start to see the differences between our pets and the satos/island dogs.

At four to five weeks the litter will stay where mom tells them. A few weeks back a pretty spaniel cross approached me in the parking lot of our local bakery. Her litter waited in a nearby field as she returned with a crust of bread.

I have never seen a pet dog control her puppies that well. They don't have to, my girls knew it.

While the satos are learning about the three resources, our pets are learning how to play. The dogs here play with each other; our dogs have toys.

Our puppies grew up in an enriched environment. Our puppies had a 15 x 60 foot play yard with an old tractor tire 1/2 buried on its side. The center was filled with sand. Another tire on rim was 1/3 buried so they could go under and around. My husband made a low swinging bridge and a little rocker board. There was a little platform a few inches above the ground.

Post weaning, dogs require a lot of experiences. The Puerto Rican island dogs have their world in their face every day. Our dogs rely on us to introduce them to their world.

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