Sunday, April 5, 2015

Informal Photos - Sunday, April 5, 2015

Our Icelandic Sheepdog puppies prefer it when I take action photos of them. Posed shots are hard to take because the puppies resist being held in a formal position. Informal shots are hard because the puppies are always moving, and moving fast, so that often what you get when you snap the photo, is - - - the wind. The puppy is already gone! I think that's because the sire AKC Champion Kross Gola Kelinn (aka Calvin, owned by Colleen & Jeffrey Schmidt and Kimberly Langley) is an agility dog, a super fast agility dog. And the dam Grand Champion Vinlands Totty is a lean muscle machine too.

Regardless here are some action shots taken early this morning before breakfast.

 (Bangsi looks much larger tan Kitty in this shot - above. He has long hair; she has short hair. He's a boy; she's a girl. They are really very close in size and weight.)
 The best toys are often the free ones. I remember playing with the box the refrigerator came in.  Here's the cardboard from a roll of paper towels. Newspapers are uncommon; Jennifer suggested wrapping paper from U-Haul to line the whelping pen, weaning pen and the x-pen. It works great and the pups don't get ink from the newsprint on them. Remember, clicking on photos enlarges them. Can you name the pups in the photos now? It's very important to use your puppy's name when you talk with it. I like to call the puppy's name and reward it with a pea-sized piece of cheese or a small chunk of low fat hot dog when it looks at me as I call its name. I also like to hold that treat up by my face or my mouth so they look at my face.

 Tully and Gunnar

 I know this is a bit  out of focus but I included it because there's a "mom lesson" going on here. When dogs present their bellies to other dogs, like Totty is doing with her pups here, it may seem to some people that they are showing submission. While that's true, it is also saying to other dogs, 'I'm not a threat. I don't want to fight. Let's play.' They get that dominance/submission thing out of the way early on. Icelandic Sheepdogs seem to love dogs that are bigger than they are like boxers, dobermans, Labs, etc. Showing 'submission' removes any threat and larger dogs often seem to love Icelandics - maybe because they are non-threatening. For a dog that's been bred for centuries to handle livestock, it's really important NOT to be aggressive to other animals unless necessary. Does that make sense? (Please don't be mislead, however. Icelandics have many of their instincts intact and are perfectly willing to protect themselves or their puppies if they feel they must.)

Dogs read body language. They read ours all the time; that's how they learn when you are getting ready to go out to run errands. They don't communicate with words but they do watch humans and other dogs carefully. Sometimes our dogs see something in other dogs that warns them they might not be friendly. Trust your canine companion's instincts like you've learned to trust your own instincts - even if you don't know 'why' someone seems suspicious or another dog seems threatening, there is usually a good reason for that feeling you get - that feeling that your dog gets too. Take protective measures if you get that funny feeling.

 Like toddlers, puppies need to be allowed to play, to explore but you must keep an eye out for possible trouble. Do not leave your puppy alone. If possible, they will find trouble. Playing with a ladder? That's probably NOT a good idea. The garage has been puppy-proofed but they can still find playthings that could be dangerous. When I cannot watch them, they are in the x-pen (exercise pen). They are comfortable in there. You'll often see a crate in my photos. It's always a safe spot - a place where they can get away from the other pups when they want to sleep. Just like sleep deprived human toddlers can be a pain in the neck when they're overly tired, the same is true for pups. Yes, they love to play but they still need lots of rest while they are growing.

 When Icelandic Sheepdogs are relaxed or asleep, their tails often uncurl like Kippa's tail above. If you look at the previous photo, you can see her carrying her tail in the normal position. When my puppies leave home at eight weeks, their tails are up and curled where they should be already. The ears will follow soon. Their ears may go up and down for a few weeks as their teeth erupt and the puppies mature. Look at the photos closely. Some ears are up, others are almost up. They will change, they will go up and down over the next few weeks. Don't worry; eventually without any help they will stay up.

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