Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21st Grueling Weekend

Saturday we made it to the airport by 5am. The airline gave us a bit of grief on the size of the crate, which we were told was ok when we called the cargo area, so it took them until 6am before they finally okay'd Flakes' flight to San Antonio. Jim and I were the doting parents sending out the first puppy on a flight, and waited for them to take him back in to the cargo area. Poor Flakes didn't want to be in the crate away from us and started howling.

The airline tracker showed us that his Dallas connecting flight was delayed a little later than we informed my sister's husband via her cell. Jim somehow had written his number down wrong so we weren't able to talk to him direct. The flight tracker said the plane landed around 10:15, but in reality the pup was not available for pickup until almost 11am. It was nervewracking for all of us, heh, but Flakes made it safely home with my brother-in-law. Flakes was a bit traumatized and wouldn't come out of his crate. But Kyree must have recognized him, and immediately went and laid down beside him in the crate until he was ready to come out. Both puppies came out together and have reportedly been happily socializing with my sister and her family. All is well with Flakes.

Once we got the word that Flakes had arrived ok, we took off for Ohio with Cat and Face. We arrived at the house after ~3 hours, and got the puppies out for a walk while we waited for the owner to return from the store. Face was a bit frightened by the big black and tan dog that was in one of the kennels behind the house. He looked to be part rottie and part spaniel or setter. He was a pretty boy and very friendly, but the two pups felt threatened, and Face would not leave my side. So I sat on the grass in the beautiful weather, and just held him. Cat, however, got over being scared rather quickly.

When the owner returned, we spoke at length about the pups and Siberians in general, and I went over some important training techniques. Some of the things were how to walk a pup not used to a leash by watching them and if they pull backwards against a collar or harness, let off the pressure and call to them. If they pull forwards too strongly, stop until they acknowledge you and put slack in the line. Praise them and begin walking again. A big precaution with large dogs is not to play with them with your hands. This gets the puppy used to nipping and mouthing hands which is cute in a puppy, not so cute in a 50-65lb adult husky. Always use a tug toy or chew toy to play with them. Huskies are very smart and people oriented. Positive reinforcement training works great with them, and they learn rather quickly. With male dogs it is very important to establish in their minds the pack organization and where they stand in it. The humans always eat first, this tells the dog that the people are higher in the pack. Also, training the dog, it is important that each family member (when possible) takes a hand in the training, this gives the dog stability in knowing its place, and tightens the bonds between dog and owners. Dogs are most happy when they know the rules, know their place in the pack, and have consistent training and treatment.

We also discussed a lot of particulars surrounding Siberian Huskies, and the potential owner was more and more gravitated towards our shy boy Face even though Cat did his best to show his happy go-lucky self to him and his friends. I think we spent a good hour there with them, making sure Face became accustomed to their presence, and then it was time to come home.

We got home around 7:30pm, ate some hot dogs, visited with the rest of the pups, and I went to bed at around 10.

Freya, however, thought I was being lazy by sleeping in past 3am, and howled at my door until I got up to let her out. By then, all the puppies were awake, and wanted their morning cuddles, so I stayed up with them until about 6, then trundled back to bed. At 7 Jim woke me wondering what was wrong and why I wasn't up... grumble.

Since I had been busy most of the day Saturday, Sunday was chores day. 5 hours out cleaning the dog yard, picking up shredded bits of whatever the dogs dragged out, sorting boards and even mounting a motion sensor light off the barn into the dog yard, etc. Came in for lunch, started some steaks thawing, then went on a two mile hike with Samantha and Moon since it was too warm to hook up the dogs. When we got back from the hike, we watched a movie and I started cooking dinner. I was in the middle of putting the steaks in the broiler when I got a call from work... No rest for the weary.

Ended up working the call-out until after 11pm, and crawled in to bed only to be woken up at 4am. I am beat tired today.

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