We have noticed some subtle changes in Drifters behaviour over the last week. From Week 6 to Week 8 he enjoyed individual attention and his mental development rate increased along with the complexity of his environment. Being a confident puppy he coped well with a variety of noises, sounds, differing environments and novel events. He has remained very much the thinker, something that originally drew him to me. He evaluates situations then moves forward to investigate, but throughout this period kept a very close attachment to us.
He is a clever boy and has learnt to sit for his food and treats. He has also learnt a degree of impulse control, waiting in the sit position for a very short period of time before receiving his food and treats. He has learnt what “ah” means, which signals unacceptable behaviours such as mouthing and other such minor infringements that occur in a young puppies life.
In the last week Drifter has started to explore further afield showing greater interest in new activities, although any uncertainty and and he comes back to us. Last night a pheasant took flight in the bottom field and he came running back to me. After a short time he went over to investigate where the noise had come from. I followed him over praising him as reassurance and rewarding his interest.
We have noticed Drifter now has a greater need for mental stimulation. If he thinks we are not meeting this need he goes off and designs his own activity. This is not always an activity we find acceptable such as stealing logs, shoes, towels, or anything else he can stash behind the settee which he thinks we can’t get to. We distract him onto an activity that is acceptable while we plan new games. We are increasing the complexity of the mentally stimulating tasks which he really enjoys and learns very quickly. He is beginning to learn to search for his toys and we have started to introduce the “find” word. Play has become much more important to him and we are having to find more innovating ways to meet this, he really loves to play with anyone that has the time.
As part of puppy life he is learning what is acceptable and what is not. At present we are working on reducing and inhibiting his play biting. We are doing this by diverting this natural behaviour onto his chew toys.
With his growing confidence he is sometimes ignoring signals from our other dogs when they have had enough. If he does not learn to respond to these low level signals as he gets older he could find other adult dogs will not be so forgiving. When this occurs he is excluded in his puppy pen for a short period (one or two minutes) then let out again, this seems to work and is something we will continue to work. We want to ensure he adopts the correct etiquette to signals from other dogs.
We have continued his socialisation and today took him for coffee and cake to a local dog friendly cafe (the coffee and cake we had to explain to him was for us). As we sat down he saw another dog under the table opposite but as this was a new environment he snuggled down into my arms and just soaked in everything that was going on around him.
We then took him to the Colwyn Centre and he got lots of attention from people of all ages as we walked through the Centre. As he has only had is first vaccination we carried him around in our arms. The Guide Dogs for the Blind were having a collection day in the Colwyn Centre and there were a number of Guide Dogs in the Centre. This was a brilliant opportunity for us. We knew these dogs would be healthy, vaccinated, and of excellent temperament. I kept him in my arms and introduced to the Guide Dogs and he was friendly but also very respectful to what were unfamiliar dogs to him.
New experiences are mentally tiring for a young puppy and when we got home he went into is puppy pen by the wood burner climbed into his bed and has now been asleep for quiet some time. “Puppy Peace”.
Drifter continues to surprise us at the speed he learns and how well he adapts to new situations and experiences. His interactions with everyone he met today made us proud to say he was our puppy.
We have now just got to keep up with the speed of development!!! But all good fun and enjoyable.