Four weeks ago I travelled by train for four hours to go and pick up our new little bundle. It was not the breed I was planning, but has always been on my 'want' list and had planned for one in the future. However the ideal litter became available and as a family we realised that actually, now is the right time, not later. So our plans for a Smooth Collie have been put on the back burner for a few more years and we welcomed a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog into the family.
I was fortunate I even heard about this litter, I knew the stud dog owner who posted about the litter on Facebook and I watched the updates from the breeder and all the pictures telling myself 'no, smooth collie, not a CsV just yet' but I couldn't help being drawn to the litter. They were all well bred, the parents were fully health tested and the puppies have been registered with the FCI ( federation cynologique internacionale) as the UK Kennel Club does not recognise the breed here. The puppies will all get an export pedigree so that we can compete with them in the UK and even show in Europe if we wish to do so. I am very particular about the conditions in which a puppy is raised and I was glad they were met when I went to see the puppies and their mother. They were all in great condition and exceptionally bold and friendly, all desperate to say hello to the new visitor and climb all over them. Their mum was also in fantastic condition meaning she had been well-cared for throughout both her pregnancy and through puppy rearing. A lot of bitches lose condition through this process if not cared for well enough. Mum was bold and curious, she enjoyed hopping over the door gate frequently and coming and saying hello herself. For me I was lucky enough to get first choice on a puppy. I knew I had a preference for a girl and so the boys were taken out temporarily so I could observe and get to know the little girls in front of me.
I had clear criteria for a pup. It needed to be independent enough that it wasn't going loopy every time it was apart from its litter mates and mother, it had to be playful, interested in toys and very person-focused. I also wanted one that wasn't too large but also not the runt of the litter, plus coat condition and general health had to be a big part of that. Just two of the girls fitted my criteria and it was a tough choice in the end, but out of the last two remaining, I picked the one who was engaging more with me and actively seeking attention through kisses and climbing on me for a stroke. That is how I managed to select the pick of the litter! I went away with a puppy pack, she had her first vaccinations and was microchipped. The breeder kindly drove me back to the train station and I then had the dreaded journey back.
The pup attracted a lot of attention, many people commenting on how beautiful she was, others were dog people themselves and we chatted about dog sports and the joy of raising pups. The pup travelled very well considering the length of the journey, when she would get upset I would have to carry her around and bounce her like a baby then she would calm down and fall asleep on my coat on the train seat next to me. I worried a bit about the noise she was making but people were surprisingly understanding especially as they could see I was doing my best to keep her settled. The following day I was visiting Crufts and still hadn't thought of a name for her. I had dabbled with a couple but whilst at Crufts I did settle on the name.. Mouse.
The last few weeks have been filled with lots of laughter and a few instances of frustration as Mouse is incredibly bright, stubborn and cheeky. She is one heck of a character. She spends her nights either sleeping on our bedroom floor with Serendipity or on our bed between my husband and I, usually curled up to one or other of us. Her days are filled with playing with our shepherds, terrorising our jack russell and learning to not chase the cat or the chickens. She has three sessions of training a day lasting between 5 and 10 minutes depending on her focus, she is usually much more focused in her morning session. She has been coming to my training classes on Saturdays and socialising safely with the dogs that attend. She has had her second vaccination and didn't even notice the needle, but was happy to lick the vets face. She has visited our local park and this Sunday coming she will be taking part in her first companion dog show. I have focused her training on recall, sit, down, stand, wait and she is learning stay. I have also started introducing her to core body work and basic foundation agility training. She has learned her left and right, touch, is learning 'out', has done some small poles on the floor, is learning to be sent away around an obstacle and is learning some fun tricks like paw, shake, high 5, wave and back up. Her recall is still a bit shaky, but I've increased the value of her rewards so it is more appealing than playing with the other dogs.
She does get the chance to play off lead at the training field and when out with Seren as she follows her around and is learning to check in and behave and follow Seren's example. She is still a bit nervy of new situations, but after the initial stress, she settles down and her confidence grows. She hasn't been left yet as she is very very attached to the family and she isn't completely comfortable in a crate for longer periods, so we are building this up in the hope she can be left for a short while in the near future. Until then she comes everywhere with us, and now she's fully vaccinated I don't have to lug her around because she is getting heavy! I will leave you for now to look at some cute photos of her. She also has her own instagram page where I post photos and videos of her for those who are interested: @mouse_the_wolfdog.
Dog Trainer, animal lover, artist and photographer