The pups are 12 weeks old now. I'm really thrilled with Drake. He is a natural retriever, always got something in his mouth and wagging his whole body up to me, brushing against me. Unfortunately a couple of weeks ago my goldie had a good pop at him resulting in a nasty injury next to the eye. Just caught him in the wrong place, so he has had a few vet trips. It is a testament to his forgiving and trusting nature that his tail was wagging as soon as we got to the vets with the injury and at every visit since. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful vet that does such a super job. Drake has the most gorgeous character; his dad's sunny disposition and sense of humour, not fazed by anything. He's everyone's friend.
I now have his sister Nyx back. Their breeder kindly took her back whilst Drake healed. She is such a different dog to her brother, so loving and sensitive, such a sweet and kind soul. And clever! She is Rookie's little doppleganger in the face, I can't wait to see her mature. I am biased but I just think she is so pretty.
Nyx, Drake and Rookie
I have been in contact with all of the pup's new owners, and all are settling in so well. It makes me very happy to hear how loved they are, and hear about them out enjoying life. Five of the seven are hopefuls for field work which is more than I could have hoped for when the litter was planned. Five are also in homes with other munsters, which is great.
I received a gorgeous photo of Teasel (was Bella) - Callixus Delphinius yesterday, she is looking super and enjoying life out and about with her munster big sister.
Taking young puppies out and about before vaccinations are completed is a bit of a controversial subject. I am a firm believer in getting them out as soon as they come home. My puppies go straight out in low dog traffic areas (Dartmoor), with friends' healthy dogs, and in areas where I know dogs are safe (they are vaccinated/healthy). As someone who does not believe in over-vaccination I am planning on taking the same approach to vaccines as I did, inadvertently, with Rookie. Rookie was vaccinated at 12 weeks old, once. I titre tested him a year or two later to find he had high levels of antibodies to parvo, distemper and hepatitis. He has had no more vaccines since. I believe that the detriment to training and socialisation is greater than the risk of infection by diseases covered by core vaccines by missing out on those first few weeks. You just have to be sensible. I could go on and on, but if any puppy owners or anyone else ever wants to talk vaccines I am very happy to bore them to tears on the subject.
It is also very important to allow pups appropriate exercise. It is unreasonable and potentially harmful to ask a pup to keep up with an adult dog for an hour's walk. They should instead be allowed very short walks and lots of little training sessions - training doesn't have to be formal stuff, but should include 'life experience' stuff (Drake and Nyx had a visit to Go Outdoors the other day). My pups are currently out sometimes on their own individually, sometimes with the 'grown ups' to build their relationships, but for no longer than 15-20 mins free running. It is more harmful to lead walk on pavement than to allow free running due to the impact on joints, but it is important to future joint health not to run them hard at this age. These pups have a good start with some nice hip and elbow scores in their parents and through their pedigree, but joint health is about more than genetics, and their environment including diet and exercise must be managed.