Monday, July 4, 2011

The Journey Begins----Start With a GREAT Mom!




In a few weeks we will be welcoming a new puppy into our family.   The proud  Mom is Iris,  Faye and Wallys Mom.   This will be her 3rd and final litter and we are thrilled to get another puppy from her.   One key to success when selecting a puppy for Therapy Dog work is starting with a GREAT!!! Mom. 

We first met the puppies when they were 4 weeks of age .  These adorable lab puppies were just opening their eyes and  slowly starting to move around.    The breeder welcomes families to come and spend time with the puppies, this early socialization is critical to their long term development.  We get to cuddle and hug them which of course makes us feel great and the puppies get to experience meeting new people and being handled by strangers in a safe and controlled environment. 

We returned 2 weeks later and WOW!! what a difference 2 weeks makes in the life of a puppy.

All the puppies were running around, exploring, playing with toys and interacting with us.  It's now possible to see their individual personalities.   All 6 puppies were friendly and enjoyed interacting with us,  but you can  see the subtle differences.  When I select a puppy,  I'm looking for the 'middle of the road' puppy, not to hyper but not too shy.   I want the puppy who is friendly, confident and rebounds easily when startled or afraid.   I overlook color and sex and focus on personality and temperament because "looks are fading but temperament is forever'.  

I typically start to narrow down the puppy I want to raise around week 6 but things can change over the next 2 weeks so the final choice will happen when they are 8 weeks old.   This process does take time but is well worth it when you consider this puppy will be a part of your family for 12-14 years.