Friday, December 30, 2011

Its Been Just 10 Days...#SAGApupVolt

... and Volt is responding beautifully to "come" and "sit"!
And the girls- Thelma and Louise- are relaxing more and more. They have actually allowed the pup into their igloo kennel once or twice without growling at him!

The cats are making their own peace with the situation, ignoring him or putting him in his place as necessary. He hasn't had any scratches yet but he has been hissed at lots and he is careful of the cats.

Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thelma and Louise Don't Snuggle...

We adopted them together and we think they're sisters... or perhaps mother and daughter... But unlike a lot of dogs who spend every waking moment together, they don't snuggle together when they sleep!
Even inside their igloo kennel, they are apart, one on either side of the round cushion.
In the house at night they have a big square cushion and they each have a half of it.
Even in winter!

Volt Loves Being Outside #SAGApupVolt

I have never spent as much time outdoors as I have in the last week! In fact, within the first couple of days of Volt's arrival, I got a sunburn!
I now go out with a brolly when Volt needs to do busies and when we're doing training!
I am now, as I type this, sitting on my veranda!

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Volt Is Learning So Fast #SAGApupVolt

Its actually quite incredible how fast this puppy dog - all of 8 weeks old and weighing in at 5.4kg - grasps instructions. He has been with me for a week and he already understands "no" and "leave it" (you can guess what I am saying a lot), he's fast learning "come" and "sit"! I am keeping him out of the flowerbeds and away from Thelma and Louise's food bowls with just a "no", and he listens! I figured it would be easier to teach him to stay out of the flowerbeds now, than to try and stop him digging up my plants later...

He LOVES being outside! LOVES it!

He sleeps in his crate at night now, and apart from a little complaining for about 5 minutes when we do "kennel in", the last two nights he has slept through from 10pm to 5:30am! That's pretty awesome!
Car travel is going so well! I have to put him into the car 'coz the Navara is too high to "jump in" for puppy, but in just a couple of minutes he is asleep with his nose under the dashboard. He is happiest when I set the air conditioner to blow on our feet as well as into the car.

He had his first trip to a shopping mall on Christmas morning, so the place was really quiet. We strolled around outside whilst my Glugster got some potjiekos ingredients for our lunch. He was really well behaved! He walked next to me and listened when I said "leave it" and "come", and a couple of times he thought his shop window reflection was another puppy!

His routine seems to be one hour of sleeping and about 90 minutes awake.
He loves nothing more than diving into and rolling in wet grass!

We spent Christmas Eve with my family at my parents' house, and on Christmas Day we had the family over to my house. Everyone got strict instructions as to how to handle Volt in terms of no begging or snacking, no ball play, no finger chewing, and so on, and Volt was an absolute pro! There was not one accident in my mother's house! Everyone was very impressed with how well behaved he is and how well he listens, especially since he's so little still.

Thelma and Louise are slowly relaxing around Volt. He is not allowed in their kennel but Thelma isn't snarling nearly as much. Louise is so placid she lets him jump all over her and then runs away!
The cats are more and more chilled. Turk has laid down the law by walking up to a half asleep Volt and smacking him on the nose! Poor puppy got a very hurt look on his face but he now avoids Turk, LOL.

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Am Exhausted! #SAGApupVolt

This puppy raising business is nothing to be sneezed at! When he's awake, he is constantly throwing himself around, he doesn't walk anywhere! I'm sure you've seen how puppies do that? How they throw themselves around? And they're all adorably clumsy? Aeroplanes flying overhead catch his attention!
And he is getting taught not to bark at or chase the cats - who are still very wary of him but getting braver.
Magic checking out a sleepy puppy from a safe vantage point

His training starts as soon as he wakes up! He gets taken outside to his potty area and as he does his business he is told "busy busy", so that he associates the words with the action.
And he wakes up shortly before 5am too!
Then he's awake for about thirty minutes and goes back to sleep for a little while.
Then its breakfast time for him, and he has to sit until I have put his bowl down and I am no longer touching it, and I have said he may eat.
We're still working on this of course.
And when he's awake he has to be watched constantly because if you blink he will chew something he's not supposed to! I have to say "No leave it" and give him his rope to chew.
He already knows "No", and he listens!
And I now know exactly where the saying "follows me around like a puppy" comes from! Wow! If I move he's between my ankles!
We are progressing well with the crate training. He runs straight for the crate if Thelma snaps at him for getting too close, or if I tap his nose for chewing or jumping. Tonight is his first full night sleeping in the crate in my bedroom. When he wakes up we'll go out for busies and then its back in the crate. I try not to play in my bedroom as I want him to associate the space with calm and quiet.
He spent his first full night in the crate last night and he was so good!
asleep on his back in his crate

When he's outside he's allowed to be completely puppy and run and bounce, he's just not allowed to chew anything except his rope. And once a day we do a little leash exercise so he gets used to it.
Thelma and Louise are still adjusting but we're making progress.

the girls are relaxing slowly but surely

They are hanging around longer and longer when he is awake, and I never leave him with them unsupervised. He just wants to be with them! He gets so excited when they come in the house and he runs and bounces and yaps at them! Its adorable.

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Volt's First Day #SAGApupVolt

This morning at about 10am, I was very surprised to hear from SAGA! If I was prepared to continue Volt's antibiotics till it was finished, I could fetch him immediately!
I was thrilled!
I immediately went home to fetch his collar and leash, his stuffed dog and my camera, and set of for SAGA.
When I got there I was given a lot of reading material, a big bag of puppy food, and instructions for his food and meds. I was also given another briefing on the rules for puppy raising.
Then I was allowed to go and sit with the puppies so I could watch them for a while before deciding on one of the two male pups.
I chose my Volt after watching them play for a while, and then we drove home.
As per my instructions, Volt has to stay in the footwell of the passenger side seat, with the leash closed in the bottom of the door. It gives him enough leash to sit and lie down, but it prevents him from jumping up onto the seat or centre console.
He got his collar just before we left the SAGA Puppy Block, and he spent most of the day trying to get it off and scratching at it!
We started with the on-command toilet training as soon as we got home and it continued with a trip outside every 30 minutes or so.

Thelma and Louise are very upset with the puppy being in their space! Thelma is interested, and will let him sniff her nose and she puts him in his place with a growl if he gets too close, but Louise is completely freaked out! She won't even come in the back yard if he's there!

When I arrived at home with the puppy, my cats all disappeared upstairs and I only caught glimpses of them the rest of the day! When the puppy and I moved upstairs for the night, the cats headed back downstairs~ I'm not worried about the cats at all though. Cats sort themselves out when it comes to stuff like this.

And now, here are some photos!

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Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home Made Cat Toys

I saw something like this on the internet a while ago, and decided it would be something fun to keep my furbabies entertained!
It took ages for my household of three people to collect all the empty toilet rolls, but I finally had enough to make it challenging.
It stands on the floor or on a table, and I put kitty treats inside the tubes. They must then find which tube its in and get it out!
Minx and Greebo have mastered it! Its so cute!
Turk tries to stick his whole face into the tube to get the treat out and ends up knocking it over!
Diva and Magic pretend it does not exist.

Christmas Time!

Or is it "catmas time"!?!
My darling furbabies have been taught to leave the Christmas tree alone, so thankfully I don't have them climbing it or yanking my ornaments off.
But they do like to lie underneath it!




Saturday, December 17, 2011


I got a call from SAGA yesterday to let me know that Volt and his litter-mates are on a 10-day course of antibiotics, so I am only going to be able to fetch him after Christmas!

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Is Training A Guide-dog Puppy Different? #SAGApupVolt

Several people have asked me what I will be doing with Volt whilst raising him, in terms of training.
I think people are a touch concerned about whether I am qualified to train a guide-dog, but let me re-assure you, they have very specialised training AFTER they are grown.
My job will be everything that comes before that- basic obedience training and raising him.
Here are some details about what puppy raising is about.

  • Whilst socialisation is important for all pups, a guide-dog must be able to go anywhere the general public is allowed so as to be trained not to be distracted by the different smells, sights, and people he or she may come across in many different situations- malls, buses, trains, airports, other people's homes, offices and so on. 
  • When travelling in the car, a guide-dog stays on the floor on the passenger side. This is for both safety and practical reasons- he is away from the airbag and when he’s riding with his blind partner he will be on the floor of the car or bus or train. 
  • Guide-dog puppies are not trained with food rewards. They get lots of praise from their handlers instead as the commands they learn are a lifestyle for them, not tricks. 
  • Guide-dog pups can't play with tennis balls or frisbees. The main reason of course is that you can't have a guide-dog taking off after a tennis ball one day when he is leading his blind partner! 
  • A guide-dog pup is never allowed on the furniture. Granted, this is a rule for a lot of pets including my own dogs, but Volt must stay off the furniture. 
  • Guide-dogs pups must be trained not to sniff. They are only allowed to sniff right before they do their business, otherwise - no sniffing is allowed. When leading their blind partner, they have to pay attention to their job. 
  • There are specific commands that a guide-dog pup must learn and they shouldn’t be taught any more than that. In his formal training he will be learning more advanced techniques and if he’s learnt anything beyond his basic obedience commands it may interfere with his more advanced instructions. 
  • Believe it or not, guide-dogs are taught to pee and poop on command and must never go to the bathroom when wearing their guide-dog jackets or when walking their blind partner one day. 
  • No territorial marking is allowed. 
  • When unsupervised at home (and for no more than a couple of hours), Volt will stay in his crate. 
  • Once every two months (at least), Volt will go back to SAGA’s kennels for a bit of a visit so that he gets used to going there and staying there. The same goes if we go away on holiday. When Volt is grown and undergoes his advanced training, he will be living at the kennels full time so the more time he spends there the less traumatic it will be for him.
click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA
Don't forget to check out the Twitter hash-tag #SAGApupVolt to see regular updates on my puppy raising adventure!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I am so excited!
I got a call from SAGA this morning and we can fetch our puppy, Volt, on Monday morning!
At 10h30 on Monday morning, I will be driving through to the SAGA centre in Rietfontein to pick up Volt and his crate!
I already have his collar and leash, his bowl, a rope toy and a stuffed doggy (for him to sleep with) that I will be asking to rub on his mommy and siblings so it smells like her and his litter-mates.

Volt will be 7 weeks old this Sunday coming (his birthday is October 30th) and then we will be fetching him on Monday.
I can hardly wait! I have wanted to do this for years and I've been on the waiting list for months!
Brace yourselves for lots of photos and lots of puppy-raising stories!

click on the puppy to make a donation to SAGA

Monday, December 12, 2011