All "Children" benefit from music as Lin Hainlen knows....Helen and her Gamba
Copperidge Gamba the Onederful
Art, just one of the many ways the Grands pass time between the rings at dog shows. Here Mtzee watches as Tris, Bobby, Caity and Ceattle water color outside the RV,
Bobby practicing with Baby Zion and Bobby practicing in Hattiesburg, M
Ceattle "Fishing" for puppies in the front yard. Using a lunge line with a furry target pups have a chance to chase and play. This is often used as a determinator to evalulate puppy prey drive
Our Ali Boo Boo "helping" to teach basic stacking to the pups. By standing them on stacking blocks and showering each pup with praise and treats they learn confidence and muscle memory . At our home every child is part of every process. They learn raised voices or rough hands get them no where. That patience and laughter goes much farther both with puppies and life.
Ceattle who was in the whelping box when the litter was born, understands how some hugs could hurt, some hugs feel good and the difference. Children have to be taught how to hold. A child grabbing a pup may mean no harm but little hands often pinch when trying to get a decent grip. When encouraged to use their palms and the entire finger instead of the finger tips, they learn what could hurt and what would feel loving. Puppies handled with care grow up with little fear or worry about being handled by small people.
Jasmine at her post, was always near the children( this is baby Ceattle). Never trained to guard them, her devotion was real. We never discourage this assumption of responsibility. And they are always rewarded for the time, love and care they give. (There is a caution here about possible Resource Guarding. More on that later.) Caitlyn working with the pups. The rules are simple and clear. one or two children at a time. They must sit quietly and a puppy will be placed into their hands. Always two hands, easy touches. Held carefully over the lap, and always close to the body. Long strokes from head to tail. No squeezing or clutching hard. THe kids are also taught about tone of voice, how shrill is upsetting, too low sounds like a growl. Kid's get it when you talk to them and are clear. We tell the the story of the butterfly, how held too tightly it will die. But held just right, with love and care and the butterfly,( and puppy) will grow to make everyone so very happy.
In the middle of everything, both puppies and kids. During the day the pups spend time in the front room pens. Laughter and noise, dogs, kids, people coming and going. Some of the moments we are most proud of happened when I watch our grandkids teach their friends the lessons we have taught them since they were born. Watching pups rush to greet them is proof positive they've never been hurt, scared or mistreated.
Our neighbors gave their children a small pup for Christmas. The difference in the puppy's attitude when approached by the rougher younger brother or the more gentle older sister is clear. The pup cowers and backs away from the boy. Avoiding eye contact, shrinking as small as possible. When the sister picks him up he leans into her hands and body. Trusting her to carry him safely. Ceattle and Tris have been working with her, the little brother is not interested, believing the lack of connection is because the puppy is just a baby. The parents , well, the parents could never qualify for a puppy from us. The pup was only 7 weeks old when brought home. ( It HAD to be under the tree from Santa !) They have allowed the children to take puppy all over the block, no lead, and no apparent attention to the record cold we are experiencing. This tiny pup may not survive the generosity of the parents ! We will not sell a puppy as an under the tree gift. PERIOD. We will help you put together a package filled with books, a collar, leash and pictures, we recommend a stuffed puppy for a cuddle factor, but we Stress no pup should be expected to deal with the exciement, clutter and chaos that most family Holidays have built in. The chances of accidental poisoning, being stepped on, or dropped are huge. We also refuse to place a pup at 7 weeks. In the past we have allowed only a couple of pups to go home at 7.5 weeks, this was to accomodate the airline's requirements to allow the puppy to fly in cabin. Pups learn a great deal in the 7 to 10 week span of puppyhood. The Litter and Dam have important lessons to both teach and learn during this period. In an experienced Ridgeback home the early placement is not an automatic problem. In a home that has never had a dog, or specifically a Ridgeback the chances of difficulties will increase tremendously.