I often look at our 6 dogs and wonder at how incredibly different they all are. Likewise, they have similarities. I'm a strong believer in intervention to minimise extremes of behaviours. One of the things I enjoy is hearing about our puppies as they grow and develop into adult dogs. It makes me smile when I recognise character traits that are similar to one or other of their parents. It is also very satisfying when I recognise how well many of our puppy's families do with "moulding" their dogs to their lifestyles.
The responsibility of producing puppies of good temperament, who will deal well with life's stresses is a serious matter to me. This is the main reason I administer early neurological stimulation to our puppies. It follows on that I expose our puppies to a wide variety of situations in a calm, positive and encouraging way. Enrichment is the icing on the cake.
I'm committed to continually trying to improve the way things are done at Emerald Park; whether it be: facilities, nutrition, desensitisation, stimulation or enrichment. My scientific nature lends itself to trialling and testing on the road to being the best possible in our circumstances.
There are two reasons why I have been considering dog personalities recently. Firstly, we have puppies on the way and they intrigue me no end! Secondly, the personality changes our bitches exhibit while in pup (or perhaps not) are astounding. Our adult bitches aren't particularly "in your face". Jack & the youngsters are more demanding. At the moment, both Tilly and Bessie are very assertively demanding my attention.
Personality differences in puppies are obvious from quite a young age. I am a strong believer that their natural tendencies can be challenged and modified to a certain degree, in the way they are nurtured. Some traits are breed specific & some are individual. One has to accept that traits that have been bred into a line over centuries are probably there to stay.
There is always that one puppy who seems to sleep with one eye open! When you quietly open a door to check on them, there is that little head that pops up with two sparkly, intelligent eyes challenging you. There is usually the risk assessor as well...…... the one that calmly waits & watches as the other puppies "jump in, boots & all". Some like to take their chicken neck off to a far corner to eat in peace. Others like to ignore their chicken neck and play tug-o-war with as many siblings as possible over theirs! The list goes on and the individual differences intensify with age.
Tilly is our horse guard. She is very strongly bonded to them and would stay with them 24/7 if permitted. Her work ethic & "alpha" nature are second to none. Usually, she periodically checks in with me, out of a sense of duty, in a fleeting, snuffling, slobbering manner! At present, Tilly is very frequently "checking in". She is calmly ensuring she is receiving lots of scratches in all the right places while half closing her eyes. Then suddenly she remembers what she is supposed to be doing and off she motors at great speed to check on her wards.
Bessie is making me laugh in her antics. The "good girl" has been overcome by a running, jumping, twisting, turning monster. This new creature has even decided it is ok to bound out of nowhere to deposit licks on my nose!!!!! Now doggy licks and I DO NOT go hand in hand. Usually Bess would be mortified to be reprimanded. Right now, she couldn't care less. She seems to be quite smug in the knowledge that she is in the process of developing beautiful babies.
It is my intention to be particularly mindful of personalities in the upcoming litters. I'm hoping to monitor their responses to situations & observe them carefully. I'm even considering designing a set of tests they could be exposed to & scored on by someone they haven't encountered before.
I've never had a preference for different personality types in horses, dogs, or other animals. There's something special about them all. As I am aging, I recognise, that I am better equipped to cope with specific personality types in horses. As we age, our reaction rates decrease, physical abilities change and our need for stimulation and challenge probably also decline. I think this is a major factor in the recognition of my limitations. It's not so obvious in dogs, but it does make me appreciative of the fact that some people just do better with certain dog personality types.
Of course, I'm looking forward to keeping you updated on the progress of our girls and their puppies.