Updated: Jun 14
Pearl is coming into her own - and fitting into our household wonderfully. Her personality started to blossom around five months old. She has been able to use our guidance to make many of her own decisions. We kennel her at night in the house, otherwise she remains outside, impervious to our shifting Colorado Mountain side weather.
Affectionate and concerned our "being", she doesn't hold a grudge when reprimanded nor does she constantly seek approval.
Easy going and accepting, she is becoming resilient with appropriate coping mechanisms in place.
We've decided to start her training program with Agility. The "jumps" will be of minimal focus as we are looking to instill in her a precision minded use of her body, and clear communication with hand signals from her handler. The A frame, tunnel, and dog walks will teach her the patience to place her feet appropriately. Any "jumps" she does do will be taken slowly, with the passing to be dead center.
All of these skills should sew up a repertoire appropriate for mobility service.
Pearl has begun to use her voice in instances I'd prefer she didn't. Barking when there are passers-by OFF our property that she can see - wildlife - and visitors alike. I've experienced a few instances that the other dogs began barking while Pearl was sleeping. She startled awake barking even before her eyes her open. This is not the most desireable "go-to" behavior I want in my dogs, or in my lines. We will have to watch for vocal tendencies in her progeny and select against. As for Pearl herself, she now wears an ultra-sonic collar during active hours. The collar has 5 levels and DOES have shock capability, but we are starting with the intrusive noise reinforcement first. It is my firm position that these collars ARE FOR TRAINING NOT CONTROL. It is my responsibility to be there and reinforce the noise with proper conditioning. She gets rewarded if she stops barking. (We are spending an aweful lot of time outside lately 😎
The collar seems to be working well. I've used this technique several times throughout my career and it often leads to a dog that will still bark sometimes inappropriately. But if kept in check, they stop quickly and use the bottom range of their vocal capabilities, not allowing the bark to carry vary far. That'll do pig.
Pearl has been with us for 11 days now. I would say that she is "crate trained" but not quite housebroken. She will still relieve herself inside if I was not on top of her all the time, but I feel like I'm getting to know her "poop walk" and it won't be long before I've taught her the path to the door.
She's got a prey drive that is higher than either Bonnie or Auggie. When a toy is swiped side to side she meets it with her eye exactly. She is able to guage it's end, and will puts her eyes at that end point before it reaches there.
I have a trick to pass onto you puppy folks. A way to teach puppy to come to it's name lickity-split. Now...before I do, it comes with a warning: if you do this you MUST not make a practice of calling the dog's name as a correction. Yes..YOU!! STOP yelling the dogs name to stop it from doing something. If you continue to do yell the dogs name as a "NO!" tone, you will create a dog that won't listen to it's name as positive. OK? OK.
When pup is sleeping, get yourself a HIGH VALUE treat. (Cheese, liver treats, ect.) quietly walk up and call the pup's name in the same volume, tone and lilt that you would if you were calling them in from outside. Pop that treat in your pups mouth, calling her again. THEN WALK AWAY. Don't folow up, don't praise, just walk away. Do this 2x's a day for the first few days you have puppy home, and you're all set for life. Just remember, ALWAYS call the dog for positive, and every once in a while, repeat that conditioning trick throughout the dog's life.
We welcomed little Pearly Baker into our kennel Sunday Feb 28th. She had been named "Stash" by the breeder because one side of her muzzle has a large black patch on the left side. Her face is not symmetrical, holding less white spotting on the right. Her eye rims are black, but eyelashes are two different colors. This creates an optical illusion that the right side of her face is smaller than the left side. This type is patterning is just about impossible to replicate in the next generations.
The first 48 hours she alternately slept and ate. and peed and pooped. Perfectly normal puppy. Her eyes were quite weepy though particularly the right one. I was not concerned that it was an infection at all, but continued moisture in that area would lead to tear stains.
Her intro vet visit was yesterday and she passed her health screening - Kittredge Animal Clinic in Kittredge CO. She was found to have several eyelashes that were growing pointing toward the lense of the eye instead of out like normal. This causes a little tickle in the eye and thats why it was weeping like that. The vet indicated this is usually changed as the pup grows, especially dogs as large as these. I have experienced this also. Today, he plucked those few eyelashes and we will pay particular attention to this area. I am haunted by some old school advice that mentions the asymmetry of the face can indicate other cosmetic flaws.
This little lady is spunky. She likes toys. She follows the teaser precisely and can target the end of its range. Housebreaking is going wonderfully. She easily spends the day outside - occupying herself with chew toys and finding her own sleep-spots.
At night we kennel her in a wire crate. Dave and I are taking shifts sleeping downstairs with her to let her out when she wakes during the night. She has increased one hour of deep sleep every day she been with us. Hopefully within one week we can expect her to stay in her kennel through the night.
She's habitual, I see patterns developing already. She will move from one location to the other, in order, for the same portion of time.
Our daycare has had a pair of German Shorthaired Pointers come for day-long ball playing sessions. Pearl had a chance to join them for a short bit yesterday. She moved along the edges of the fray, tip toing around the activity. She wasn't upset by it, but eventually showed a preference for staying in another area playing with softly with Bonnie. The older Pointer got a face full of puppy at one point when she play-jumped at him. He yelled at Pearl and she walked away pouting. She processed and dealt with the situation without drama and did not push the issue. Good coping skills.
She's confident, and a bit bold. We will watch her boundaries carefully and make sure to enforce them strongly throughout these formative months. It's a fine line for a breeder to let the dog blossom with it's own personality, yet still have a manageable kennel. Too much training and conditioning can mask inherited personalities. Too little makes a dog that will raise havock with the other dogs and may be hard to rehome when the time comes.
Our temperament testing is invaluable in this respect. keeping track of behaviors and how they change as Pearl grows - we can accurately modify behaviors according to how she has been changed by US, thus far. A good way to look at it is What She Came with VS What we gave her.