Saturday, 18 June 2011

OctoPups world gets bigger ...

The OctoPups are now 6 weeks old and how they've changed since I last blogged. They've been a very busy bunch of puppies, on the go all day and every day. Lots of work and play interspersed with rest ... the rest periods are getting shorter and shorter. Sometimes it would be nice for a double dose of rest periods! 

The pups are on the go and getting out and about exploring ... lots. All are equally happy to wander off on their own or to stay with their litter mates playing.

The Pocket Rocket off on one of her many adventures
Some puppies wander into territory they're not too sure about ...

Puppy No 8 has a close encounter with Lucy the Fell Pony
The puppies had their eyes tested this week. All passed with healthy eyes ... their tails didn't stop wagging throughout the procedure.

Puppy No 7 ... the most advanced in terms of eye development
There has been an endless stream of visitors, from prospective owners to visitors coming for the priviledge of puppy cuddles to passers through who happen to fit the socialisation criteria, ie got a beard, arrives wearing a motorbike helmet. There have been many other reasons to thrust puppies upon people for the experience of being handled by different hands. Important for the pups to meet a wide range of people of different ages, shapes and sizes.

Puppy No 2 demonstrates he's cool to be handled
A hugely important part of the OctoPups education is delivered by the big dogs. This is the period when they learn their dog language. So many people sell pups at 6 weeks of age, frequently saying "Mum was attacking her babies". Mum generally isn't attacking, she is actually putting them in their place and educating them. Some people say it's to miss the so called 'fear' period ... I say forget the so called fear period, what about the huge number of dog-dog issues there are. Many of these issues would be avoided if pups were allowed to be amongst older dogs who will teach them their manners, telling them when they've pushed the boundaries and when they need to back down.

Three generations, Mum Arctic Fox with her father Handsome Lad and her daughter the Pocket Rocket

Arctic Fox is quite happy to have her father, Handsome Lad, with her and her daughter for a quiet moment. When another daughter comes in and pushes the boundaries with her grandad, he quite firmly puts her into her place. Teeth are shown, a head disappears into his mouth accompanied by a growl ... never any harm to the youngster though. She wont be so pushy next time ...

Handsome Lad putting one of his grandaughters in her place
Education comes from all of my dogs. Aunt Cafe Latte Girl has taken her duties very seriously, frequently out with Arctic Fox and her babies. Arctic Fox is very happy for her to intervene if she feels the need to do so.

Puppy No 2 being very respectful to his Aunt
We've also been continuing the routine tasks of weighing the OctoPups. We've progressed from weighing in a small bowl to a garden trug!

Puppy No 6 oblivious to the fact she's being weighed ready for worming!!
 I have now made the decision where all the puppies are going having spent the last 6 weeks watching the OctoPups, and their prospective owners when they've visited, very carefully, matching the right puppy to the right owner and home. The first decision to make was which puppy would be the search and rescue pup, we had two contenders. Puppy No 3 has been selected, he's showing tremendous air scenting ability at this tender age, together with other attributes essential for SAR work. He's going to a very experienced handler and I have no doubt that he will make a great search dog.

Puppy No 3 ... a search and rescue dog in the making


  1. Emma was 7 weeks and 2 days old when I got her. I'd never heard of puppies leaving their litter mates so young but the breeder said it was her policy. I was doubtful then and remain so. I think ... Emma would be less needy and easier to live with, had she had her mother or older dogs around to "correct" her as a puppy!

  2. Wonderful pictures! Especially those where the "elders" participate in correcting the pups :)
    I am curious how you see that pup 3 already has better scenting capabilities than the rest?

  3. Thanks for commenting. All dogs, as we know, have tremendous noses and scenting ability. Some dogs are that step further on. There were two pups in this litter who were using their noses a lot, one was using her nose to the ground (she would make a great tracking dog), but the pup eventually selected for the SAR job is using his nose and air scenting. This is what we're looking for in mountain search and rescue work. He is always the first to pick up the smell of either food, Mum or me. You see his nose shoot into the air and he'll 'follow his nose' to where the scent originates. When he gets the direction the smell is coming from it's like a 'bingo' moment as he knocks onto the scent and homes in on it. He's not using his eyes to find the source of his interest. He can also be very easily heard taking in the scent, it's quite loud!! It's quite amazing to watch. Hope this answers your question :-)

  4. Thanks, it makes a lot of sense. Did not know you could aleady note these differences on such a young age. Scenting capablities of dogs are just so awesome.

  5. I'm so excited to see this update. I know several really good breeders who keep their pups much longer than others (up to 12 weeks) so that THEY have control over the pup's exposures and environment during those "fear periods."

    Our big dog still sometimes does the head in the mouth thing, if he feels like our BC is being too bossy, and they are 11 years old and 7 years old. :o)