Like all good things, the summer of 2012 has to come to an end. And this summer happens to be the end of Jaz’s first ‘real’ summer, for she spent the end of the summer of 2011 hiding in London’s belly and lounging in her private puppy-pen. Oh, how different things were going to be outside! Jaz could have never imagined the vibrancy and variety of colours, smells, and sounds that were waiting just behind the french doors, ready to thrust themselves upon her with more and more force, as, through the revolution of the seasons, they came to a climax in the summer.
Ah, summer! Sweet, sweet summer… Whether it was racing around the yard, sunbathing on the doormat, or snacking on frozen, trout-stuffed Kongs, Jaz enjoyed every single second of it! Especially the grass. Soft, cool, tasty, fresh grass… Jaz would marry it if she could!
So… what is next? September will come knocking soon. Summer puppy-classes have ended. And we probably won’t be showing for a while. Or at least not as often. Jaz qualifies as an adult now, but we’ll have to wait until she matures a bit. Most Lakies continue to look somewhat juvenile until they turn 18 months old. Six months from now, Jaz will look like a different dog. Scary (I adore her cute puppy-face!) yet exciting (just picture little Jazzy all grown-up!) at the same time.
But none of this will manage to cast the slightest drizzle on our parade. I happen to love Vancouver in the fall! We’ll still be rolling around in the grass, which, thanks to the rain, will be even greener than it is now. We’ll also continue our obedience training, as this is a life-long commitment. And if time permits, there may be some rally obedience or agility classes on the horizon, because Jaz seems to pick things up rather quickly. She enjoys a good challenge, and so do we!
As opposed to what some may think, being a puppy isn’t always fun. Yes, you get to run around like crazy, bark at everything that moves, pretend that you are deaf, and get away with it all (“Awe, look how cute…!”). But there is a time in every pups life when it’s time to go through something equivalent to human puberty. Around seven to eight months (for Lakelands, that is; it differs a little depending on the breed), puppies reach sexual maturity. Around this time, they go through what is called a ‘fear period,’ during which fright and pain should be avoided. Around this time, your puppy loses its confidence. Depending on the dog and the situation at home, this period can be very prominent or even go by unnoticed (especially if you already have a confident, adult dog in your household).
Looking a little hesitant…
… yet totally cool when rollin’ with her buddy Miles… Look at those cute terrier bums! 😉
To be more precise, there are two fear periods in puppy’s first year. The first one is between eight and twelve weeks. Eight weeks is usually when new owners take their puppy home, and this is not without reason. Not only is the dame’s job of raising the puppies done by now, but this first fear period also helps the puppy bond with its new family. Because this period occurs when people first get their puppy, most don’t notice the symptoms, as they are still getting to know their new family member. Once puppy is about to go through its second fear period, however, it has been a member of the new family for roughly 6 months, and the owners are more likely to notice the change this time.
Not so sure what to think about this new, strange-looking white dog…
…but brave enough to steal a stick from her playmate Daisy!
We definitely experienced the changes in Jaz, because right as her second fear period started, Jaz’ dad was away on a business trip. Any change can affect your puppy during this vulnerable stage. Jaz, who was perfectly capable of contently sleeping at least 9 continuous hours every night, woke me up at all hours of the night, crying and barking for attention. The physical changes (she was about to come in heat for the first time) as well as the dramatic change in environment (her daddy being away) proved to be too much for her. Not only did she keep the entire neighbourhood up at night, she also was quite a wimp during our walks and whenever we were at the dog park. The puppy that charged full speed ahead and was dying to meet everyone (human as well as canine), changed into a scared, nervous dog.
There are many different theories about how to handle these fear periods. The problem is that anything traumatic that might happen to your puppy during this period will stay with it for its entire life. Handling things properly, therefore, is crucial! Some say not to do anything new, meet anyone new or visit any place new. Others say you should introduce your puppy to new things place and people, but just to be careful about it. Whatever you choose (we were more moderate in the beginning -especially since Jaz had such a sudden reaction due to her dad leaving- and then gradually started adding new experiences), just make sure you are monitoring things. Adding short, confidence-building exercises (i.e. asking your puppy to do things it knows how to do such as sit/down/come) into the daily routine will help as well.
“I love my yard!”
We have left Jaz’ second fear period behind, but are still working on building her confidence back up. Our trainer has told us that, besides reaching sexual maturity, the blur that used to be the outside world has become fully in focus. With its new, perfected senses, your puppy experiences the world afresh for the second time around. One can only imagine… quite a change! I’ve found that the short, confidence-building exercises really work, as well as having familiar people and/or dogs around to give your puppy that much-needed boost of confidence.
As you all know, Jaz went to the vet for her last set of vaccinations this past Friday. The weather forecast for the weekend was looking good, knowing that Jaz would be fully protected was even better, but the prospect of finally being able to take her out into the park behind our yard was definitely the best! So we walked into that exam room with smiles from ear to ear, bursting with excitement… until the vet told us we needed to wait another five days for the vaccine to take effect. … *thump* … Our eyes, which sparkled with anticipation just a few seconds ago, suddenly went dull. How foolish of us to expect Jaz to be ‘good-to-go’ right away. Five more days?! But it was going to rain on Wednesday..! Oh well. We would just have to sit back and wait a couple more days. We sure weren’t going to risk anything. And poor Jaz didn’t know any better.
Luckily, Jaz’s friends Pumpkin and Daisy stopped by on Sunday for some backyard fun. The three of them are adorable together. They are all about the same age and size (which we’ll have to cherish as long as it lasts, because Pumpkin’s legs seem to be sprouting like beanstalks!), but these, as well as their boundless energy, seem to be the only features they share.
Here are some pictures of the three musketeers in action:Jaz and Daisy, cutting across…