January Update

Little Miss Truffle is about 4 months old now and about 15 and a half pounds. She has so many engaging behaviors, like burrowing under her crate mat to sleep under it, so if you glance at the crate it doesn’t look like she is in it. Sometimes she sleeps next to her crate rather than in it.

She also likes to lie right by the back door, I think it is cooler. Her favorite game is tug, and luckily she is good with Give, because she has more energy for tug than her humans do.

I am also lucky (in terms of training) that she is very food-motivated. I use her meals as training opportunities, and cut her food up in little pieces and use it to reinforce attention, sits, downs, stays, stand, holding her feet, playing Gotcha (where I jump around and wave my arms and grab her harness and say Gotcha and give her a treat – so that hopefully if/when I ever need to do that in real life she won’t freak out) and teaching her to touch a target. That is all fun and usually she is up for it.

My challenge with her at this point is her intense reactive barking. She is just wired that way, and I want to use positive training and not try to scold/yell/punish/correct/threaten it out of her. I think that would only lead to other unintended problems, because any negative treatment would have to be severe, because this is a strong instinct for her. But I don’t want intense reactive barking to become her ingrained modus operandi! It will be a challenge to see if her human being is smart enough to figure out how to condition her to settle for just a few woof’s in exciting situations. For Truffie, exciting situations are legion: dogs barking in the distance, dogs in sight, cars going by, people walking towards us on the trail, puppy class when she is on leash (off leash she is ok), cows, sheep, horses, squirrels, birds on the feeder, rabbits, and I’m sure many more that I have yet to experience .

The two situations I am focusing on are cars going by and other dogs. Since we live back a long lane, she doesn’t see cars at home, and I was startled to see her strong chase instinct when out and about. We are working on finding situations at a distance from these things where we can work on relaxation and having a little self-control, and hopefully reduce the distances over time.

A great side benefit of getting a puppy around Thanksgiving is that you will be so active you won’t gain as much weight over the holidays! Even going out in the cold has the good side that you burn more calories in the cold!

Here are Viva and Truffie relaxing at Camp Gone to the Dogs…no, wait, that’s our living room!

A hawk that landed on our burn pile, working his way over to the bird feeder.

Little Truff enjoying the sun on the stairs.

It’s a dog’s life.

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Truffle at 15 weeks

Truff is just under 15 pounds now, and gaining approximately a pound a week. Her adult weight will probably be around 25 pounds. I’d love for her to stay exactly the size she is now! I can bathe her in the laundry sink, very convenient. She is becoming more dog-like (as opposed to puppy-like) all the time, and goes off to nap in her crate after tiring events (like baths) which is where she is now, and so I have a quiet moment to put up some new pictures. (Click on pictures to see a bigger version.)

We are having lots of fun playing and learning. I am loving the clicker training approach, and am especially impressed with Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed book, so we are trying to apply some of those activities in her daily life. Classes have been on a break for the holiday weeks, so we will get back to that this week.

Her favorite game is tug, although this isn’t our preferred toy for that game…

Posing for Miss America:

Unfortunately (from the dogs’ viewpoint) the snow is gone for now, so she consoles herself with whatever little ice is left, which she loves to chew on:

“What’s for me for Christmas?”

The doggies had stockings, and one day Shadow (GSD, age 10, always a good boy) climbed up on the couch and got the dog stockings off the sill and ate the heel out of one of the stockings and ate a little sample tube of Natural Balance food, plastic and all…oh dear. I see all the things Debby has to go inside dogs for, to get things out of their stomachs and intestines, but this didn’t seem to cause any problems.

Sometimes Truffie seems very catlike. She often rubs up against furniture or a tree like a cat would do, and she bats things with her paws like a cat, and she climbs around anywhere — here she is practicing her balancing skills on the edge of the deck.

Thank goodness we have Viva and Shadow to help us entertain Truffle, because she is nonstop. Luckily all the initial uncertainties of getting along have disappeared, and both the older dogs truly seem to enjoy her and seek her out, and also put up with her energy. Here is Shadow, his displays of teeth and growling totally wasted on Truffle.
Here is the whole Runestone litter, about 14 weeks or so, put together by Joann Secondino, the owner of the father, Kaffi.