Friday, January 12, 2007
Ledges and Edges
Well, some may pound pavement but around here, we pound paths. The pups, dogs and I have been doing 30-minute woods walks this week. The pups are doing a great job following now. It's so fascinating watching this skill "turn on" in pups around 5 1/2 weeks. Before that, they have no concept of following. After that, they are totally focused on it.
I'm staying off the paths quite a bit so we are off-roading it over hill and dale. The pups are climbing over logs, climbing up rocks, playing in piles of leaves and finding all kinds of interesting smells. Since it was warm today, I took them through the edge of the swamp. They all got their feet wet and muddy. None of them seemed to even notice, they were so intent on keeping up with me and their mom.
The pups also got introduced to edges this week. We call it edge training--it means that we teach the pups that they can fall off of things. They learn this concept in our safe play area but it quickly transfers to the wider world. You may have noticed in the photos that we have two crates in their play area connected by ramps. The pups climb up the ramps, over the crates, traverse the walkway between the crates and so on. Around all of this are thick pads that break their falls should they not be paying attention. Inevitably, they fall off the crates or the ramps. Once, maybe twice. After that, they pay more attention to where they are.
I got to see their learning in action today when we came upon a rock ledge on our walk. All of the pups went up to the edge, backed away and found a safe way down. It wasn't a steep slope nor was it far so the pups weren't in danger but I was glad they had the good sense to solve the problem.
The pups are over 9 pounds now, except Mr Red who is 8 1/2. They are eating like horses and still nursing some. They are pretty good at stacking on the table, although that will probably end soon. Banging on the Buja board is one of their favorite games and today two of them were retrieving the tunnel. Can you tell they are lots of fun?