May 27, 2014

Introducing Redtop Vixey

My little dirt eater!

Please let us out to play!
I had been looking for a puppy for a year. First it took me months to find a couple breeders that I really liked. I had preferred to find someone in Arizona and I did find a person that I would have loved to get a puppy from but she wasn’t planning on having any litters either at the end of 2013 or in the coming year. So I started looking elsewhere, found many breeders with great dogs, and finally a half a year later decided on a combination I thought was everything I was looking for. Fabulous herding skills with plenty of drive but calm at home and fantastic structure. Unfortunately that litter never happened. I got lucky, however, and there was going to be another try with the same dad and a different mom. I signed up for that immediately. The new mom was in some ways even better than the previous one. Now, I’m so happy and grateful to, after a year of waiting, officially introduce my new companion for life: Redtop Vixey (Redtop Riggs x Bell)! I feel very lucky to have met Patrick Shannahan last December at a herding clinic to make this all happen. Vixey has been home for 6 days and I couldn’t be happier. She is absolutely everything I wanted and more!

Puppy kisses!

When I first met Vixey she climbed on my lap and gave me the most wonderful puppy kisses one could hope! I had had my eyes on her already previously but wasn’t sure if we would “match” before meeting her. Stars were aligned and we connected right away! I spent hours with her that first day, watching her play with the cats, her dad and her siblings. She was so fearless and bold! Spicy little thing, I thought! Independent also, but not in a bad way, just enough to go around “herding” good ol’ papa Riggs. Then she would come back and spend time saying hi to me or chewing on my shoelaces. The whole litter of puppies seemed to have great temperaments and were so much fun to be around that I was reluctant to leave for the night. But I wanted to leave Vixey “home” with her brothers for one more night before taking her away. 

This really reminds me of Vanilla for some reason!
Going to herd papa!

Following the leader!

Kitty attack!

Relaxing with Blanco!
The next day our first adventure together started and I worried how it would all turn out. This was the first time I’d flown a dog in the cabin of the plane. I was worried about whining and barking or her being anxious but I have to say I wasn’t even half as nervous as I was flying Vanilla in the crate in cargo from Finland. And it all ended up going fabulously even though the plane was an hour late and our total time in the airport and flying took almost 6 hours. I was really surprised that there were no accidents and that she slept the whole way! It was actually a very pleasant trip down. Even the 2-hour car ride from Phoenix to Tucson went well. The only whining she did on the whole way home was right after we left Patrick’s place and lasted less than 5 minutes. I put the radio on and she fell silent and was quiet the whole way after that.  

Introductions to our older girlies went well. They were interested in her and she in them. After the first batch of curiosity went away, though, our two ladies decided to ignore the puppy. I suppose they figured out she might be staying and decided that running away from her or watching her from the top of the bed was much better. I was expecting Vanilla to behave this way since she has always ignored other dogs. The only dogs she ever loved playing with were her siblings that we saw regularly when still living in Finland. Since then she has gotten along with many dogs and even played a little with Gin, but never with the same enthusiasm. Surprisingly Gin, who normally LOVES to meet and play with other dogs, was also behaving this way. I suppose it’ll just take time. Luckily they are both treating the puppy pretty nicely. And Vixey doesn’t seem to care. She is endlessly persistent trying to make her way closer to Vanilla and Gin. Today she was already hanging on Vanilla’s fur when they were outside and lay next to her inside and as long as she stays away from Vanilla’s face everything is good. Gin is tougher but slowly warming up to her also. I remember my older BC Dani being like that with Vanilla for almost two months. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Sometimes it’s just hard to be patient when you want something to happen so much! 

Since Vixey came we’ve started practicing our daily routines like house breaking, sleeping and waiting in a crate, being behind a gate, sitting and laying down, being alone for short periods of time, traveling in the car and waiting for food. I’ve found both Susan Garrets crate games and Mary Ellen Barry’s agility foundations to be extremely helpful in the first days of our coexistence! She has done really well with everything so far and is definitely comparable to Vanilla as a learner! 

I have a little fenced area in our backyard to keep her from roaming around, since we have plenty of coyotes running around and besides being dangerous themselves they can also carry parvo. Parvo is a little bit of a problem in Tucson and there has been several puppies that have been brought to the local shelters that were affected. It makes me nervous to take Vixey out so for now we are staying very close to our house. To make up for the lack of yard time (which has to be short anyway just because of the heat!) I have carried the puppy in a carrier around with us wherever we have gone. To the restaurant on Friday, on a hike on the mountain on Saturday, to agility practice today and all the little things in between. She has already met plenty of new people and loves to say hi to everyone. Now we just need to find some nice pups to play with.

I’m so excited to see what the future holds for us and ready for some new challenges!

Little monster!