Pre pickup 6 weeks old
So, as the title says, I am going up to the Hunter Valley (6.5 hours drive!!) to test six male seven week old puppies to see if any of them have what it takes to be an assistance dog. I am hoping out of six, there should be one! There were eight males in the litter, but two have been reserved. Both have been taken as pets though, so I am hoping that their choice was clueless - and it was when they were like five weeks old too.
I've had a nice chat to the 'new' breeder, and she's very much onboard with it all. She will also be bringing the puppies down the following weekend to Sydney, so we'll only have a 3 hour drive to pick up our bundle. She did offer me the choice to take him that weekend when he was seven weeks old, but it sounds like she is doing a really good job at socialisation, and it is generally thought that if the breeder is keeping up their end in that way, then it's best to stay with mother dog for another week or two. So, assuming we find a puppy in among that six, he should be ours on the 24th of this month. Not long to wait - although I thought that last time when the gorgeous pups of the previous litter failed my testing. I really hope my heart is not broken once again.
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I have all the puppy stuff I could possibly need now. From toys, to crates, pens, harnesses, food, bowls etc. There is maybe one or two more things to get. It will be so wonderful having a dog once again.
Recently I have written out a socialisation schedule for the first 8 months of his life. I'm definitely not going to be one of those 'take him everywhere' people, I want to get a bit of a balance. A couple of big outings a week, and interesting walks every day. I really am super prepared. It's almost a bit pathetic! Of course we won't follow it to the letter. Who knows how things like fear periods will effect his progress, and I do get sick fairly frequently. However, the basic milestones that I want to try to stick to are there. Things like (in order) introduce to family, then friends, riding in the car, neighbours, vet, dog kindergarten, friends dogs, children, dog free areas, carrying him down the street, and eventually when street legal, going for short walks, visiting small groups of friends, going to nearby markets, following cues in public, outside our nearby shops, pet supply store, outside schools, through dog friendly shops, small town centres, going on a holiday (hotel), outside shopping mall, elevator, city centre, outdoor cafe, airport, bus interchange, visit a school, sports event, dog show........ and so on.
I really am insanely organised. I can't wait for this puppy and the puppy raising stage - even though I know it will be a lot of work. I have missed having a dog around so much.
Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment
For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!