We were lucky that the worst of the storms passed us by this week and although there were no tornadoes,  Saturday afternoon was a massive thunderstorm with a deluge of rain, followed up by lots of wind on Sunday.  The puppies snuggled down in their dog house for the big thunderstorm, but didn’t seemed to be bothered by small showers and the wind, as they were out in the kennel yard playing in each over the weekend.  It is important to us that the puppies are exposed to some of the chaos of the elements and not frightened by what mother nature hands us here on the Great Plains.  But have no fear, should the tornado sirens sound, the dogs would all be in the basement with us.

Enough about the weather!  Five weeks is when things really start to take off with the puppies.  They are eating dry food from Mae’s dish and drinking water for the majority of their sustenance.  Their running has stopped looking like drunken sailors and they actually have their big dog feet underneath them.  They chew and bark and play like all good puppies should!

Kids and puppies

The joy of puppies: Conrad wrestles with a few while Cordelia and Caleb play chase with others

So now is the time to start conditioning them, or what some breeders call “stressing”.  The puppies are taken out of the kennel/litter environment and exposed to different scenarios to get them ready for life away from mom, brothers and sisters.  As these are hunting puppies, what I enjoy working with them on the most is covering terrain and cooperation.  This not only provides the puppy with exercise and early muscle tone, but also gives them the introduction to being whistle broken and paying attention to where the master is at.  We’ve begun working them in the yard as a litter daily, but eventually we will introduce them to other terrains and working alone.

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Another conditioning that I like to work on is becoming accustomed to the chaos of the house.  With three kids, my house is especially chaotic!!  This week’s video has Mae, the puppies and the kids playing in the “old” living room.  Luckily, the carpet already needed to be cleaned:)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZZM0E-do-Y

This week will begin crate conditioning, where they will ride in pairs in a crate in the van on an errand, then come home and spend an hour in the crate together.  We will keep working on exercising daily in the yard and will expose them to a bird wing, in preparation for work with a live bird the last week they are here.  Every week will bring a new set of drills in order to prepare them for their new lives as hunting companions!