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Monday, March 7, 2011

Y & Z Litter Adventures

On the weekend we went for a visit to my friend's farm, Twisted Pine Farm, where she runs a fabulous riding school for all ages and teaches Eventing for competition.  She also keeps several of my dogs, chickens and sheep so we are often visiting for one reason or another.  The weekend is very busy with a lot of youngsters coming for lessons so I takes these opportunities to socialize puppies with children and lots of attention from all the people and activities at the barn. 
When I take them to the farm I load them up in my minivan, along with half a dozen adult dogs and off we go.  The pups find a comfortable spot either on the front seat, a crate that is open in the back, a dog bed on the floor, or often times on the console between the two front seats.  I don't have any seats in the back of my van.  I don't like to crate them for all their car rides as then I cannot get a good feel for who is not feeling comfortable with riding in a vehicle and help them over their discomfort.  There is only one of the female pups that takes longer to settle down but eventually she does.  The rest of them quickly relax and enjoy the ride.

When we arrive at the barn I let all the dogs out of the van and they run around and say hello to the resident dogs who knew we were coming as soon as my van enters the driveway.  All the pups run around loose as well trying to keep track of  the dogs they know; then all of the sudden they will come upon a dog they don't know.  Not a single puppy was alarmed or bothered by any of the activity and this is very gratifying for me to observe as I know that my timing was right for exposing them to a new experience.   It wasn't long after our arrival that the news leaked out that there were puppies visiting and soon we had a crowd of people at the front of the barn, ooohing and aaahing. 

Once all the pups did their business, and I had repeated at least dozen times to our admirers what 'breed' they are, we went into the lounge area of the barn--where there is heat!  It was still pretty nippy outside and despite the puppies wanting to romp in the snow drifts I wanted to get out of the cold.  We cajoled what puppies we could to come into the building and carried the rest.  The adult dogs were left outside to amuse themselves which seems to generally consist of standing at the door wanting to be with me :-)))  In the lounge the pups found all sorts of people, kids and new stuff to keep them busy.  There were about 10 kids between the ages of 7-12, as well as their parents and many other adult clientele. I don't think anyone missed cuddling a puppy.  The pups got a little fed up of being constrained by so many loving kids after a while but it was good for their character to be pushed beyond what they normally 'want' to endure.  Life isn't always about what we want and the puppies need to learn this lesson as well.   The pups were coddled and played with and had a grand time with everyone. They particularly like the nice thick cotton horse lead ropes to chase after so I encouraged the kids to play tug with them instead of hauling them around. After being mauled by just about everyone we left them to eat their lunch and enjoy a roll in the hay while watching the horses, people, and general activity going on in the busy barn.

They love playing in the hay as it makes such a great noise!

The ride home was much quieter.  The puppies fell asleep immediately and even upon arrival at home the wind was out of their sails for the rest of the day.  It was an excellent, positive experience for the pups which they will carry into the rest of their lives--wherever they may end up.

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