Hello Mommies! It's Mother's Day this week, so we want to say thanks so much for all you do. The hard work of both human moms and doggy moms is so appreciated! Raising children and raising pups both require a lot of care and energy, so we hope you know that us kids and pups are grateful!
Poor Mom has a fitting name because she had a rough life, with many litters of puppies taken from her as she was left to fend for herself. Now she is a happy lady with her own mom to take care of her! – Mom submitted by Jennifer
These adorable doggys are delighted to be celebrating #tongueouttuesday !
This cutie is having an awesome day at the beach!
The name "Bonita" means "beautiful" — a totally fitting name for this little gal!
This little beaut's tongue isn't all the way out, but we couldn't resist sharing this chocolate lady's pic!
Wow, this guy sure likes ice cream. We're loving all of the colours in this photo as well!
5) Prince Charming, aka Boo
Though this guy has a name fit for royalty, the adorable nickname "Boo" might fit even better!
Handsome Tank is having a fantastic time playing in the yard!
Beautiful Lucy showing off her awesome tongue for #tongueouttuesday!
Trevor's got a truly magnificent tongue!
Phileo taking some time to pose for the camera.
Smith is totally up for another walk!
An older gentleman attended one of my group classes with his two Siberian huskies. The nine-year-old siblings were smart and attentive, but whenever I walked the female a mere five feet away to work on leash skills, the male would panic. He’d cry, shriek, and try frantically to follow. The two had been together all of their lives and had never been separated, even temporarily. As you might imagine, this had caused problems in a variety of situations.
Although it doesn’t happen between all siblings, over-bonding is a commonplace phenomenon and is termed “Littermate Syndrome.” It’s the reason shelters, responsible breeders, trainers, and others caution against adopting siblings. What well-meaning owners often don’t realize is training two puppies at once is not only much harder than focusing on just one, but the pups are very likely to become more bonded with each other than they are with their owner. Siblings can become so dependent on each other that they become a sort of security blanket for each other, sometimes to the point that, when separated, they experience extreme distress. Separating them to take one to vet, for example, can be a traumatic experience.
Another issue is the lack of social skills that can develop when an owner believes that the pair playing only with each other covers their socialization needs. That philosophy is quickly disproved when the pups meet other dogs, especially those of different breeds with different play styles. An even more troublesome problem may occur with littermates of the same gender in the form of aggression toward each other as they enter adolescence and then adulthood—although this is certainly not always the case.
So what can you do to prevent problems if you already have littermates? First and foremost, get them accustomed to independence in a gradual, incremental way. If they sleep together in a crate, get another and start with the crates side by side, moving them farther apart over time. Set up obedience sessions where one person is training one dog while another works with the second dog at a distance. Engaging the pups’ minds in this way will help by giving them something to focus on, making it less likely that they will spiral out of control emotionally. Have the puppies spend time in separate rooms receiving relaxing attention such as massage, and begin to split them up when offering super yummy Kongs or other chew items. This way being separated will become associated with good things. Eventually, the pups should be separated briefly for walks and other outings, so they can build confidence and learn to experience the world on their own.
My husband and I had never assisted with or even witnessed a canine labour before, so when the efforts of our foster dog Maizie were not progressing as fast as our labour adviser (read: the Internet) indicated they should, we took her out for a potty break and a little walk on the lawn in the hopes of moving things along.
Maizie seemed fine with this, and after a few minutes of snuffing around in the patches of melting snow characteristic of a Nova Scotian early winter, she “assumed the position” and we paused to let her do her business. It was then that I met my dog, as his little body was delivered onto my lawn.
The chaos that ensued (“Honey, do something!”) was thankfully brief, as a minute or so later Maizie was back in her kiddie-pool whelping box, cleaning off the little tyke who proved to be none the worse for his unexpected and rather undignified arrival into the world. Six puppies followed that night, with a surprise seventh addition revealed at head-count and weigh-in the next morning, bringing the total up to eight adorable, multi-coloured Pit Bulls who would share our home and lives for the next eight weeks or so before they were ready to be adopted.
The first-born came to be known as Cavil. With one very notable exception, our foster-not-failure track record had survived over 100 pets by that point, pets we’d loved but nonetheless seen on to adoptive homes. So when we’d learned of Maizie’s condition and made the decision to let her raise her pups with us, we were not intending to keep any. But when my husband started suggesting that at least one should remain, my resolve lasted about five minutes. The difficulty came in choosing which would be the one to become a permanent part of our family!
Cavil wasn’t our first choice, nor did he make the short list. Frankly, he wasn’t even in the running through the many weeks of deliberations. This lively brood was full of personality, but it seemed he’d drawn the short end of the stick in that regard. Where his siblings were curious and social, he was more apt to find a lonely corner and watch their interactions with the streams of people who came to visit.
And while I know that you can’t technically FAIL a puppy-temperament test, he really may as well have: when the tester called him over in an excited voice, he walked away. When the tester picked him up, he went limp (and not in a good way). When the tester threw a toy, he ignored it. While his siblings’ scores identified them as the “adventurous one, or the “independent one, or the “loving one,” Cavil’s score indicated that he was breathing. And that’s about it.
So what tipped the scales in his favour, with seven other contenders all more interesting than he in a variety of ways? In EVERY way?
I know it couldn’t have been JUST his eyes, which we called “people eyes” and spoke of often. We certainly would not have made our decision based on such an arbitrary characteristic, considering all of the things we’d dreamed that “our dog” could be. And yet whatever else won us over in the beginning I have simply forgotten.
But almost three years later, I have no problem articulating why I’m certain we made the right choice, and all the ways that this hilarious, ridiculous, adorable, affectionate, confident, handsome, stubborn, strong, loyal, amazing dog has enriched my life. I love to brag about how loving he is (when he used to be so disinterested in people) and show off all his impressive tricks and manners (when he once couldn’t be bothered to even pay attention). He’s my 70-pound hot water bottle. My muscle-y teddy bear. My walking partner, driving partner, working partner, and napping partner. My cat-chasing, rock-collecting, ladder-climbing, gnome-fearing, bed-hogging, kid-loving, kiss-giving, kind-hearted boy. The anti-“pick of the litter,” to be sure, but the best dog I could have ever hoped for.
One of my favourite lines from The Wizard of Oz is when Dorothy declares, “…if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.” Cavil was technically born in our SIDE yard, but considering what I found in him, I’d say that’s close enough.
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