Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mishka, Week 1

Feeling pretty maxed out.  Not keeping a kennel diary, which I probably should, but am instead just relying on memory and reading the pack.

Mishka is settling in pretty well; the only problems are Manasha, who is playing a bit too rough, and the fact that we're erring on the side of caution and keeping them separated unless we're closely supervising.  He's doing fine with the two mals.

I predict problems for Max.  Mishka, at about 3 months old, growls whenever Max gets too close to him, and Mishka doesn't back down.  We're going to have to watch that pair.

Mishka had a busy day yesterday; big playtime in the morning, then it was off to puppy kindergarten, where he fine, displaying zero aggression towards any of the other dogs or people, even when one family insisted on chasing Mishka and I around the room while on lead - leading me to eventually stop, and start telling their dog "No", since they weren't going to control her.

After that, we bbq'd, and then took an evening stroll down at the Towpath, the first time the little man was out on a "big dog" walk.  We kept it short, and Sharon carried him for a portion, making sure he was not overstressed.

He & Sharon are bonding quite well.

Really not much to note:  the only toilet "accidents" were on Monday night, and simply diarrhea brought on by stress and a grain intolerance, and he couldn't control that. 

Switched him over to Wellness Core Adult Food on Tuesday afternoon, and he's been fine ever since.

He's a quick learner.  Knows his name, displays recall, sits fairly reliably...he quickly learns desired behavior if linked with a food reward.  Typical moot.

I'm sure there's more I should note, but I'm pretty incoherent at this point, and feel as though I'm just rambling.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Pack Changes

Long time, no update - seems like life just moves along, ebbing and flowing, with no real changes to note.  Other than training, which I don't log here, what can I talk about?  Work?  Yeah, really - no, not so much.  So, life seems ruttish, and this blog doesn't get updated.

That changed Saturday, and I should have probably documented the process leading up to it.  So, applying some hindsight, and fabricating details from that hallucinatory sea of memory:  Mishka, Arctic Hope's Brave Under The Bar, joined our pack on Saturday afternoon.  Born as M-2, 10:04AM on April 6th, Mishka gets his call name from Misha K, and his affix name from what I aspire to be when I train.

The blog entries I make about this change will be a bit disjointed.  I'm trying to just capture my impressions quickly, and am not worried about much else.

Leesa Thomas, the owner of Artic Hope kennels, has been - well, words can't describe everything that Leesa has come to mean in this family.   Deciding to bring a new puppy into the pack was not taken lightly; Sharon and I talked extensively, bouncing it around for a couple months.  I floated the idea out with various friends, some vastly more knowledgeable than me on pack behavior of Arctic dogs.

I found Leesa via the AMCA site, under registered breeders, sort of randomly picking her out because of that listing and her proximity to us.  I spent some time on her website, and was impressed, but Leesa started shining during our extensive email correspondence.  As it turned out, I had contacted her apparently randomly, but she had a litter planned - and I was a little late getting on the list, but decided that it was worth a shot.

I'm going to sound New Age now, but I do believe that the universe made this decision, not me:  there were too many details that "clicked" into place which were beyond my control.  I'm not comfortable divulging all of them publicly, simply because there are other people involved, but, as an example:  Leesa agreed with me that we could only consider a male.  Unfortunately, she wanted a male for herself from this litter, and other prospective owners wanted males.  As it turned out, there were only two males in the litter, and through the universe fitting together, M-2 came home with us.

I'll have more to say about the process of selecting a breeder, but, for now, Leesa insisted on a home visit - and she came over one evening, and saw our setup, and met our pack.  We talked for a couple hours, and thankfully the grrlz didn't try to pee on her or anything.

Sharon & I spent quite a few afternoons at the Arctic Hope kennels.  This was invaluable for us in a number of respects: first, I've never seen a litter that young, and Leesa allowed us to interact & witness many things which I'll never forget, and which helped expand my knowledge of the breed tremendously.  One huge dividend:  since we handled the puppies, including M-2 from 3 weeks of age on, when Mishka finally joined us, we were a known entity.  This has greatly helped the bonding process, and the integration process, as Mishka has some continuity in the face of all the change.

Saturday was just a getting settled and intro day. The only standout things:  Shina took an immediate liking to Mishka, and vice versa, with Shina being able to call Mishka and him responding.  Definitely see a maternal side to Shina I wasn't expecting.  Manasha seems a little cold in comparison.  Kira seems more interested in getting fed.  Max doesn't care, at all.

Saturday night, I think Mishka howled all night.  For better or worse, Shina joined in, both comforting and encouraging his lamentation.

Sunday things moved along.  Mishka started to want to play more; Sharon took him out front for a few hours, so that he could hang out with her and no other dogs while she did some yard work.   You could see his enjoyment with this.  Later on, out back with the dogs, he started to show more playfullness, but was still fairly reticent.  At one point, I stretched out on the porch floor, reading, and Mishka, Manasha, and Kira all laid with me, pressed up against me.  We were all very tired and stressed.

Jumping to present day:  Mishka is starting to come out of his shell.  This morning he wanted to play with the mals, and did so for a bit - he even initiated the play, and had both the grrlz running around the deck with him.  He also wants to play with the sibe, but she's a little too edgy, and that he becomes overhwhelmed.  But I'm seeing huge progress in his behavior.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friday, December 31, 2010