Sunday, August 11, 2013

Evaluating puppies' conformation on a grooming table. How to stack a puppy.

All the puppies are now gone to their new homes, but we need to catch up here on the puppy journal with what had happened here during the last ten days. When Cheri Faust came here to breed Danika to Sky we managed to set some time aside to take pictures of puppies on a grooming table and evaluate their conformation. At the time two pups had already left for new homes so we could do stacking with only five pups.

Cheri is a very experienced with showing dachshunds and she taught the pups stack on the table within ten minutes. This is a video of demonstrating how she does it.

There were quite a few differences visible among the pups when it comes to body type, proportions, size, coat etc.

We both agreed that Uschi has the best conformation of the five pups. She has very nice proportions and nice angulation. She was very comfortable in this position.

This was not he best stack for Ursula, who in reality looks better than in this picture. 
If I were to keep a puppy for myself, it would have been most likely Utah. This is a puppy with excellent coat and extreme agility thanks to a very correct conformation.
While Urho has a lot of  very good qualities, he is a little long in the body and overangulated in his rear.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Uta is now residing in Wisconsin

We were planning to keep one of female puppies from Sky and Mielikki's litter for ourselves. Four weeks ago when Cheri Faust was visiting us, we saw a deep connection and quick attraction between her and Uta, the smallest puppy in the litter. So I offered Cheri a co-ownership of Uta with me keeping breeding rights, and she liked the idea. Last weekend Cheri was back breeding Danika to Sky, and we had a chance to see Uta again. She was still the smallest and probably the feistiest puppy, with a lot of potential. Good luck Cheri with the puppy!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Uma has left for a new home

Good luck to Matt, his fiance Emile and their new puppy Uma, now "Heidi"! Matt and Emile live in Ithaca, NY, just 3 hours from us. Matt is a licensed tracker and a member of Deer Search of Finger Lakes. Emile is going to take a NYS DEC exam in August. Both are hunters. Matt is involved in two deer management programs in suburban areas. Could we have dreamed of a better home for our puppy? Being able to place our puppies with people who are dedicated to the cause of wounded deer recovery makes all the work worthwhile.

 If a new owner has a car like this one, you know that your puppy is going to be in right hands.

Uma's conformation reminds me of Mielikki when she was a young puppy.

The remaining four puppies will stay with us for the next two weeks. It should be a lot of fun! Last evening they tracked a two-hour-old blood line on a light tracking leash. Two puppies scored 10 on a scale of 0-10 (10 is the highest) and the other two got 9. We couldn't be happier with the pups. Today we started to walk them on a leash and they did well.

Friday, July 19, 2013

10th week in the life of puppies

During the tenth week of pups' life we have continued to work with puppies on tracking. We also took walks in the woods, fields and to the pond.

Puppies were not bothered by the noise of the tractor working nearby.

We exposed pups to unfamiliar situations and objects to observe their response.
On Friday, July 19, Uncas (red male) left for his new home. We are going to miss this lovely puppy, but luckily occasionally we will get to see him as he is going to live not too far from the MD field trials grounds.
Uncas' calling name is going to be Moose, just like his grandsire's.

Uncas' new owner Adam H. is going to give him a lot of opportunities to use his nose. We are very excited about this future tracking team. Best of luck Adam and Moose!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Puppies will start leaving for their new homes at the end of this week

Puppies are 9 weeks now, and as it turned out today's 50-yard liver drag was too easy for them. Now we need to age the tracks more and make them longer. Puppies continue to go on walks around our property, in the woods and fields. They become more independent and their range gets larger with every day. Also almost every day they spend a couple of hours in crates getting a nap. Mielikki has access to pups a couple of times a day, but the weaning process has been completed and she does not produce any more milk.

When we have our own meals we bring one puppy to our kitchen so we can spend some time with pups one-on-one basis. We are learning about pups' tendencies and their personalities. So far we are very impressed with all the pups, and it is going to be very hard to part with them. At the end of this week a couple of pups will leave for their new home.

With our field mowed now, it might be difficult to keep all the pups together on our walks. Their noses might take them in various directions.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eight-week-old puppies get examined by a vet

The last week was very busy as our friends from Wisconsin, Larry Gohlke and Cheri Faust, visited us here. They stayed with us from Thursday to Monday, and puppies benefited from the visit enormously. Larry and Cheri believe, just like we do, in early conditioning and training, so every day puppies tracked, swam, played and socialized. It was a lot of fun!

All the pups got accustomed to the water but some like to swim more than the others. This is Uncas.
Puppies played a lot on our dock.
Cheri is very good with puppies and it was great to have her here.
It is so easy to fall in love with a puppy.
"Hot" dogs were dipped by Larry
On Monday Dr. Rebecca Kryzak from Cottonwood Creek Veterinary Services came to examine puppies. It is great to have access to a vet who makes house calls. The picture shows puppies waiting for their turn.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First walk in the woods for Mielikki's puppies

This is a short video shot yesterday during puppies' first walk in the woods. They did very well. Their motivation to follow Mielikki was very high as they wanted to get a drink of her milk. On purpose we took them through some difficult terrain so they had to do some physical and mental work. As you see, we don't baby our puppies. We expect them to be resourceful and resilient. Even Uta, who is still the smallest puppy in the litter, showed how tough and smart she is.

Monday, July 1, 2013

How we raise puppies to be successful blood tracking dogs

We have been so busy working with puppies that we have not had much time for posting reports about all the activities. Puppies turned seven weeks old on Friday, and they are a lot of fun. We usually manage to post individual pictures and videos on Facebook at

Puppies have been exploring a lot. They are showing interest in holes created by other dogs and they do some digging on their own.

The dachshund breed was first developed to hunt foxes and badgers in their dens under ground. This meant that they had to be psychologically comfortable in tight, dark  places. The video suggests that our little tracking dogs still think that it's fun to run though a dark tunnel.

We take pups on walks to the pond, but we have had a lot of rain and the water is deep. It is fine for Mielikki but pups have second thoughts about swimming.

We have been working pups on deer liver drags and we will post about it on our main blog at Make sure you check it out.

The picture shows Ursula at the end of the track. We use large pieces of liver that cannot be swallowed. Liver contains a lot of vitamin A, which in excess is toxic, so while we use deer liver for training purposes we actually do not let pups ingest too much of it.

Puppies continue to be socialized with people. Our friend Dan dropped by on Sunday to play with them. This week pups are going to meet new people as our friends are coming over for the July 4 celebrations and are going to stay for a couple of days..

Today pups went to the woods for the first time, and they were learning how to navigate obstacles and difficult cover. We want them to be accustomed to the outdoors and be comfortable in the woods. After all they are going to be tracking dogs!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Puppies' socialization with other dogs

Puppies get some raw chicken necks now as part of their diet. Most of the pups have well developed teeth and given time they can crunch the necks up.

The pic below shows puppies with our Bernie. He is a 7.5 year-old neutered male, who helped raise a lot of litters. Bernie is perfect for this job and it is his role in the family. He is not as permissive as Mielikki (she lets pups get away with murder), but is also very stable and reliable. 

Pups had a really nice day today: socialization with adult dogs, a long walk in the field and individual work on a deer liver drag. We were really pleased with what we saw.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Puppies first outing to the pond

Puppies turned six weeks old on Friday. Their curiosity is expanding and they seek new experiences. Therefore, when on Sunday afternoon the temperature hit 93F, we decided to take puppies to the pond. We have never exposed pups to the water at such an early age. But Mielikki loves to swim and we thought she would have a good influence during their first outing to the pond. So we loaded pups into two crates and drove to the edge of the pond. It is not too far from our house, but it was too hot for them to walk such a distance. 

You can see from the video what happened next. Some pups were more ready for this new challenge than others; Uncas was a star of this show and swam like an otter. Mielikki was great; she swam a lot but also kept a close eye on her pups. What a great mother she has been.

After all the pups got wet, we let them run back to the house.
Puppies on their way back from the trip to the pond.
One might ask why we go into such a length and trouble to give our pups experiences like this one. We firmly believe that in the long run it is very beneficial for the pups to be challenged and offered enriched environment during this developmental stage. They will have better coping and social skills when they have to deal with mild stress. Puppies' rate of mental development depends on the complexity of their environment. We don't push our puppies too far, that's for sure, but it is really important to stimulate their brains and bodies at this stage.

On Saturday Mielikki and Sky visited pups in their pen attached to the shed. Pups still occasionally nurse and Mielikki is fine with this. So they mobbed her and pulled her down. Sky was just an observer!

Other things we are teaching pups include being accustomed to a crate. They have been familiar with crates for a long time, but now we bring them to the house and put a couple of pups to a crate. We let them stay there for a couple of hours. They protest for the first few minutes, but after that they just go to sleep.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A sigh of relief: checking pups' teeth

Now that pups are 6 weeks old, it was a huge relief to see that they do not miss any teeth and their bites are correct. Also both male puppies have their testicles down. We could not be happier with the breeding!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Puppies' first taste of deer liver

Puppies' personalities start to emerge

We have been spending a lot of time with puppies. Watching them is good for my soul. In this world filled with tragedy and sad news, this is the best therapy you can have!

Yesterday puppies went for their first car drive. Also they spent their first night outside in our shed. They basically outgrew my den, and this time we have avoided setting up a pen filled with wood chips. Now, almost at six weeks they are ready for a more advanced set up, which was described here. One of the dog houses in the shed is heated and we turned the heat on as last night temperature dipped to low 40s. Around midnight Mielikki insisted that she needed to be with them so we let her do it. As it turned out she chewed off one of the puppy collars so I don't think we will let her spend another night with them. She continues to be just an extraordinary mom and still insists on cleaning them. Their diet now is part solid food and part Mielikki.

Another day, another playmate.
Uschi is an adorable puppy with a really easy going and quiet personality (at least so far). She is going to have the softest coat of all the pups.
Uma seems to be the most enterprising puppy in this litter and has a knack for getting into trouble! Some of her adventures are a little scary but she does not seem to be affected by any of it.
Uta is the smallest pup but she might be the biggest bully, at least this is what I have been told by some people who have played with the pups. Yesterday she had Urho, the largest pup, on his back and was not letting go. When she wants to be picked up she just comes to you and lets you know - pick me up NOW! What a character!

Playing on the tarp was fun. Pups did not hesitate to explore.
Coming back from a walk. Tired puppies are good puppies.