We brought Ruby home this past Saturday. Having driven over to Moses Lake 2-/2 weeks ago to see the litter and mom, we have been psyched about the day. She is from a litter of 9, 6 females and 5 males, all very healthy great looking pups. Fortunately, at pick selection #3, 2 of the 3 females we really liked were still available when we went to select. After a 1-1/2 hours of playing with them, we both picked the same one and we started our 3rd relationship with mans best friend.
She adjusted to her new surroundings amazingly well and really never has shown any signs of depression or anxiety. She is 8 weeks old yesterday and I'm amazed just how quick she is learning things. Already following us out to the front door to go potty...which has averaged about 2+ hours/deed. She is retrieving and bringing back a small duck toy my wife bought and responding fairly well to "stop" or "no" command when she starts to chew things other than her toys. We're playing tag-team camping out downstairs in the family room where her crate and playpen are located. Other than broken sleep patterns, a few outbursts when not let out of her pen (not because she needs to relieve herself) and a few miscues on our part not getting her outside immediately after she wakes, so far so good. She's cute as a bugs ear and already helping fill the large voids Max & Hallee left.
She went to the vet Monday and got an all's well report -- the office staff all fussing over who got the most hold time. We're still in the quarantine period -- so regulating her to the yard until all shots are done. She seems just fine with that and I'm thinking the fall leaf clean-up is going to be a snap this season .
Welcome to your new home Ruby - train your "parents" well and they will serve you well!!!
As a long time yellow lab fan (my current "pup" is now nearly 18 months old and enjoying her first full hunting season) have to love the pictures of Ruby.
A "potty" training trick that we have had great success with is handing on bell from the back door at nose level that rings whenever the door opens. The puppy typically learns to ring the bell in a day or two when they need to go outside - much better than scratching/barking/whining.
The wife is in full stride on the dog thing now. We've looked at a couple of litters and she is doing lots of research to include having gone to the dog show at Puyallup yesterday to see labs and GR's. I'm OK with either and, since she will be home with primary rearing responsibility, I'm letting her steer the direction on which and male or female.
Funny, on our first GR we spent hardly anytime researching, just a couple of adds in the local paper later and she was home with us. For Max & Hallee, a little more, but not too much...now, holy heck, information overload! Maybe we were just plain lucky with our first 3 GR's...all lived 12-13 and no hip, eye, elbow, etc. issues and great dogs. Now with the internet and the plethora of info, our heads are spinning... maybe too much info is not so good? I generally think this to be true of many things today and long for simplicity.
Guy -- Interesting thought about the shock collar. I guess saving a dog from heading off onto a road in chase of game does seem a reasonable trade-off. Guess my impressions of them (shock collars) have been hearing a dog yelp and get really dejected looking after so... perhaps being used incorrectly. Ah jeezz, another thing to research
I suspect this time we'll be a bit more picky, but in the end, having a dog (or dogs) is simply part of who we are and we miss them presently...stay tuned.
Let me know if you ever want an intro on how to collar condition. A lot of guys put a collar on a dog with no pre or conditioning work. Yeah, the dog comes back to them, but it is from a sense of insecurity - not because the dog understands what is going on. We are in the south sound but also have a place in Glacier where I spend a lot of time. That conditioning should start at about 6 months old, with the dog wearing the collar every day for about two months before you get to the first phases where they are stimulated.
I can tell you with certainty that it is the only way to achieve a finished gun dog. Mind you that getting to that Master Hunter or Grand Master Hunter level involves an hour or two of work every day from 7 weeks to about 4 years old with the e-collar being an essential tool.
Guy brings up an interesting concept. With people that I have introduced to e-collars and collar conditioning what they have all remarked on is how it buys their dog freedom. You help your dog to learn. My dogs don't even know what a lead is, because they heel and respond with 99% reliability. It helps your dog be a better canine citizen in all conditions.
Also regarding Guy's comment about Walter's (sic) old books... I used to train, run and judge hunt tests with that crowd in NoVA. Dick essentially founded NAHRA with Jack Jagoda and others, and e-collars were in full use then. The difference is that they had one speed - fry. Dogs that washed out of that program were deemed as not having enough drive to handle the training, when in reality some dogs give you more the softer you are with them. We know that now and collar conditioning and collar use reflects that.
The reality with Dick was that he knew that he couldn't sell books if he promoted the use of e-collars back then. He was a gardener, tinkerer, writer with dog training occupying one of the top four spots.
Ruby seems a natural. Not that much of a surprise for a lab I suppose, but what really amazed me is that she looks back my way while searching and if I hold my arm off to the right or left she tends to head that way...and I've done no training like that whatsoever. My wife stated raising her arm overhead months ago to get her to return and she took to that very well. Sometimes the I-5 noise can be so loud, she can hardly hear the whistle -- so she started using her arm signal. Perhaps that got her queued into looking for arm signals and the rest is DNA? Anyway, she absolutely loves chasing down the dummy and heading back for a snack. At just over 9 months, she is now 60 lbs, moving out of the puppy stage, and becoming more mindful of the activity at hand.
My brother owns yellow labs, affectionately referred to in our family as "blonde beagles"..(GR's are of course "swamp collies"), and it's no surprise to me she's progressing so fast..you're spending the time conditioning her, and she just wants you to be happy.