December 22, 2010
Finally, it was my turn for a puppy again! Indy will be six in June and it is time to have my next one coming along. There are very few chances in life for “do overs”, but this might just be mine. All of the incredible lessons I have learned in raising and training Indy have prepared me to be a much better trainer for the new pup. The pedigree selected includes top marking, hard running dogs; but also a little bit more of the balance and trainability that I need as an amateur trainer. I flew to Omaha, NE to pick up the puppy from Tony Jolie. I got the feeling that this litter was a culmination of all of his years of planning and that he is really proud of them. Having “first pick” was an honor for me. It meant that I had proven myself dedicated enough to training and competing that the breeder wanted me to have one of these pups. We plan on living up to those expectations. Chief’s registered name reflects the wonderful memories we have of our time in Idaho and all of the good friends we made there. His call name pays homage to some of the great dogs of the past. After only 2 weeks, Chief is demonstrating outstanding intelligence and focus. His eye contact and responses to me are intense. Though plenty playful and full of fire, he is not at all manic or obsessive. So far he knows: sit, let’s go, here and kennel up, (not that he will do it every time!). He will walk happily on a leash or long line, has finally learned not to stuff the line into his mouth and loves to retrieve a hand thrown bumper. I do just enough of those to keep him interested, but he seems to automatically return it to me for another go. I am really surprised how his relationship with the other dogs has evolved. Indy, who served as good friend and mentor to Scout, wants absolutely nothing to do with Chief. Does he understand that Chief is “mine” as opposed to “Ralph’s” and see him as a threat to his own position? I was really worried about introducing Scout to the little pup because of his occasional defensive behaviors. Instead, Scout is great with Chief! They really seem to like each other and play hard. I can not believe what pains Scout takes not to step on or rough up the pup in any way. Chief is still all puppy. As good as he looks like he will be, Chief's First Duck(video) we still have our share of growing pains to work through. He can scream and bark louder than any little pup I have ever heard if he objects to going into his kennel or nap time. He has occasionally forgotten to ask to go out and wet his crate. His teeth are little razors and he has no inhibition about using them yet. He is also very determined once he identifies something he wants. It is a non stop battle to keep him away from the electric cords and shoes. Usually I can distract him with one of his toys, but definitely not always. A couple of times it has reached the point when I must pick him up and put in his crate. Thats when the screaming begins. Having been through it all before, I know this phase will pass and far too soon I will be missing his puppy time. I already sense a very special connection between Chief and I. Certainly, Indy will always be my spark, but Chief may be the engine that propels us to success. My life is made full and complete being shared by these three great dogs.