Puppy 101- Being calm while alone is an acquired skill

Feedback from brand new Daintree owners often includes big stress around leaving the puppy alone. Tollers can scream and howl and make a major fuss about being solo without siblings, me, mom, and their dog friends here. Nothing is familiar to them yet in their new homes. Parental guilt (and headaches) kick in. A panicky text, call or email comes my way.

I work on many things with them as it is and am working on ways to improve their self soothing abilities in preparation for being at home alone in the future. However the environment I offer is familiar, the scent of their mom is everywhere. In my household, they are also never completely alone so I cannot easily replicate a new environment for them here.

Firstly, it is very unnatural for a dog to be alone, let alone a puppy. Forgive the pun. Dogs are social and gather together in packs such as wolves when left to their own devices.  Housepets must acquire the skill of being solitary with your help and most are fine once they do. The transition to being good at being alone can either be quick and minorly uncomfortable or prolonged and painful.

Factors involved-

Puppy's age

Environmental elements (sound, light, room temperature, type and size of containment being used)

Physical comfort

Level of boredom

Energy level at the time of being left alone

I do not recommend leaving the puppy completely alone for any significant period of time in the first few days, and up to a couple of weeks is ideal. There are already so many changes going on for a baby dog to adapt to: a brand new home, new scents, new foods, having to start all over with relationships to complete strangers in the form of humans, possibly other dogs or cats, etc.

Go easy on your puppy. If you make this transition as supportive as possible, the rewards will be lifelong.

Suggestions:

Take time off work

Replicate the Daintree enclosure setup. Create a comfortable environment with adequate passive enrichment, light, and climate control.  

Leave on sound such as white noise, faint TV sounds, low music or talk radio. 

Hire a professional sitter to drop in while you work.

Ask trusted friends, neighbors or family to occupy the puppy for you when you can't be there.

Sleep with your puppy.

Bring your puppy to the bathroom while you shower. I'm not joking- in a couple of weeks time it won't be necessary.

Play peekaboo games. Tire the puppy somewhat before trying this, with play, moderate exercise or training games. Provide a nice chew (knuckle bone, filled hoof, dehydrated duck foot) and leave the room for 2-3 seconds, then reappear with a tasty treat like a bit of cheese or meat. Repeat. Every couple of returns, offer no treat, just a pet or praise. Prolong the time away. If puppy starts to despair, come back and sit with her, cage between you and comfort from outside. Release or pick up only when she is quiet, or you will reinforce a crying puppy and it will get worse.

Give your puppy time. Within a couple of weeks, they are usually completely comfortable in their new environments and mom, siblings, me and the kennel are a distant memory. The problem is solved. Just be sure to nurture them along until this happens.

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Baby Penny after her bath on Gotcha Day. 

Puppy Biting 101

PUPPIES ARE NIPPY. Puppies are MOUTHY. Puppies latch onto fingers, hair, toes, dress hems, yoga pants, cargo short legs, ankles, socks, ponytails, bathrobes, earrings, necklaces, arm flesh, tassles, watch straps, hoody strings, sleeve cuffs, etc.

One or two of you is going to panic thinking that you are raising a land shark who will be drawing blood from everyone s/he meets for eternity but I assure you, it does stop naturally once the puppy grows out of the 'oral inspection and chomping' phase. You may feel that your puppy is the only one behaving this way and that there must be SOMETHING you can do to stop it. Rest assured. Retrievers and other hunting breeds are extra mouthy but it does fade away in the course of a few weeks to a month or 2 for most puppies.

They are fast. They are strong. They are determined. Their teeth are sharp. They can unintentionally scratch and bruise you, your visitors, your children. In fact, the nipping phase is one of the reasons that I don't recommend this breed for families with small children.

There is no scientifically proven way to curb it and we certainly don't encourage any kind of discipline for it. You have the following options:

1. Offer a swap. Have soft or chew toys handy everywhere. Try to get the puppy interested in that instead.

2. Manage the situation. To stop the behaviour, pick up the puppy and put her/him into their enclosure (we recommend a playpen for young pups where they can still be part of the action but they have a barrier to separate them.) Biting often amps up before they are ready for a nap so putting them in their spot will encourage settling down.

This is not a 'time out' in the sense of punishment but rather a separation of puppy from current biting victim.

NO LONGER RECOMMENDED:

🚫 Any sort of corporal discipline, such as putting their lip into their teeth to cause pain.

🚫 Swatting the puppy anywhere on their bodies.

🚫 Yelping to indicate you are being hurt- research shows that this des not curb the behaviour any faster than with swapping and managing their environment and in some cases may even further arouse the puppy.

 

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I guess we'll never know...

we are having a basement flood. Mysteriously the hose outside pumping out our basement has sprung a 'leak' approximately the size of a 4 month old puppy's bitemark.

If anybody has any ideas about how this may have happened, please kindly speak up.

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Yuletide puppies- one show quality female is available

Keepers! After consulting with a trusted Toller expert who is also the breeder of Canada's Top Toller 2016, we have optioned Chilly and Twinkle to run on and keep in the breeding program. These decisions are based on structure, temperament, and colouration. One will be available as a show and breeding potential to another kennel or a person who wants to get into showing and breeding and would like to co-own with Daintree.

Sire DOB January 14, 2013, CKC Registration AA496873, Full Name CH Daintree Dad's Best Jeans. Call Name: Denim. Health clearances: Hips OFA: GOOD, Elbows OFA: NORMAL, Patellas OFA: NORMAL, Heart OFA: NORMAL, PRA PAWPRINT: CARRIER, CEA PAWPRINT: CARRIER, DM PAWPRINT: NORMAL Pedigree Link

Dam DOB August 23, 2012, CKC Registration ZQ490116, Full Name CH Daintree's Ladybug Thief, Call Name Steeler. Health clearances: Hips OFA: GOOD, Elbows: pending results, Patellas OFA: NORMAL, Heart OFA: NORMAL, PRA OPTIGEN: CLEAR, CEA CLEAR by parentage, DM PAWPRINT: NORMAL Pedigree Link
 

Stack photos and personal skype evaluations available to interested parties.

Chilly, aka Daintree Baby It's Cold Outside

How are puppies matched to their families?

This is a pretty common question. How does a buyer know that they are truly getting the 'right' puppy, and that they are the right home for him at the same time? Add to this the distance often existing between Daintree and the buyer, preventing people from meeting their puppies in advance and this can cause some wonder or concern. You can't easily meet or spend time with the puppies, so is it possible that somehow you could end up with the wrong puppy, or one you can't handle?

The short answer is no. Duck Tollers are generally similar enough to one another that if Daintree thinks you can handle one, you could be ok with any Toller, especially if you raise it yourself from a puppy.

Let me explain how I approach the matching process.

Millie, Daintree's Put a Spell on You, co-owned by Daintree and the Suter family in Squamish.

Millie, Daintree's Put a Spell on You, co-owned by Daintree and the Suter family in Squamish.

For each litter, I have the exact number of buyers as I do puppies. This is achieved by interviewing and screening the same amount of families as I have puppies available for sale. Prior to the whelping, I screen and accept 6 families. Once the pups have arrived, I will screen and approve as many more families as I need to in order to ensure that there is a capable, qualified home for each puppy.

Let's say there are 8 puppies, which is a common number at Daintree. That means that I also have 8 families who have proven to be qualified by demonstrating that they are loving, caring, communicative, open-minded, active, holistically-minded, on board with the low vaccinations and raw diet as well as subscribe to the ideology of positive reinforcement training. Their lives will revolve around the puppy. And you know what? THAT is the right home for a Toller puppy. And if you are waiting for a puppy from an upcoming litter after having gone through the multiple steps of becoming approved, there is no way that you won't be the right fit for your dog.

Now, how about the puppy being right for you? This is trickier but there is a little bit of science and a little bit of magic that goes into matching the right pup for each home. 

Things I consider when making the matches:

  • temperament
  • gender
  • markings
  • activity level of the puppy 
  • activity level of the home
  • any special requirements (hunting, showing, therapy work, etc.)
  • predicted full-grown size (if the home is specifically looking for a larger or a smaller dog.)
  • buyers' input

Based on photos, videos and discussions, most of the owners are following along on social media and consciously or unconsciously choosing a favourite the whole time that the pups are developing. From first breath to their eyes opening to first meals and first time outside, you get the chance to witness all of it. Each puppy wears a ribbon to distinguish him from the others. It is always the same colour, so you can identify each puppy in every picture and video. You will be attracted to a certain few pups based on their appearance. You will receive a questionnaire in week 7, allowing you input into what characteristics matter to your household, activity level and more. Daintree evaluates each family's responses and makes the matches accordingly.

Every family winds up with the perfect puppy regardless. Within five seconds of holding your little bundle, she is the ideal puppy and you name her and she becomes the most important thing in your life. I have never not seen this be the case.