I thought I’d write a note to all of you. I’ve so enjoyed raising these puppies, and I can’t wait for you to discover what a joy they are.
They’ve been fully weaned for a week now. I’ve been feeding them raw ground meat and Nutro Small Bites Puppy Food, free choice. I chose that one because I really like their Adult High Energy food. Yes, you are buying a high energy dog. Feed them well! I give lots of bone marrow bones, too, and plenty of meat that we get from the food pantry. There are benefits to being a farm dog! My theory with feeding has always been to make sure that there is always a lot of food, and that way I never get dogs who are food aggressive. Oh, and they also like tuna. A lot. And fish of any kind. They are Icelandic, after all. A tuna can is hours of playtime.
They’ve been using a dog door for about three weeks. It’s sort of amazing, but I just love being able to have them in my living room and watch them go outside to piddle. I hope this translates into easy to house break puppies for you. If we’ve all been inside for a while, I still make them all go outside about every 30 minutes or so, or right after they wake up, but the habit seems pretty solid here in my house. In the last couple of days, though, when it’s been raining so hard and miserable out there, I’ve found them reluctant to go outside and they’ll instead head to the corners of the room. When I see one start, though, and rush to catch him, they’ll all rush outside. They know!
I haven’t crate trained the puppies, but they have been confined to the whelping box at night. It does have access to a balcony through the dog door, however.
They know about sheep, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks and pigs. Princess kitty has made an occasional appearance, so hopefully they won’t freak out at your cats. They are sort of fearless when it comes to animals, so be careful. No one has had a bad experience, and they’ve all learned that they have power and can make animals move. They think this is a great, fun game. Icelandic Sheepdogs herd from behind, barking barking barking and nipping if whoever (or whatever (like the tractor)) doesn’t move fast enough.
They come pretty well when I clap my hands and say “come, puppies, come puppies!” (or monsters or furry beasts) (Actually, the whole farm nearly responds when I do that. Oops!) Several of them know their name. (Kenna, Odin, Roki, Blue)
They know what “rub your tummy” means. Since they’ve been weaned, they often need to chew on something and sit in my lap to settle for a bit. I use raw hide sticks for that. But Disa in particular loves loves loves to have her tummy rubbed, and she seems to have passed that on to her pups.
Oh, the other thing she passed on to them is burying stuff. Bjarki never buries stuff, but these puppies all do. You’ll know when you’ve fed them too much or given them too many yummy bones because they’ll make this funny little noise and search for the perfect place to bury the bone or whatever. It evidently needs to age a bit … I gave them a pile of deli meat that we got from the food pantry, and when they’d all had their fill, they all took a piece and buried them all over my garden. Nitrogen fertilizer, I guess.
They bark at anything that moves or makes noise. That’s what Icelandic Sheepdogs do! I’ve kept them away from the vacuum cleaner and not let them bark at the tractor like my two crazy Icies do, but you are sort of on your own from here.
They know “what’s this”? Cookie. Tuna. Come. Outside. Water. Oh, how they love water. To splash in, to swim. They know “let’s go for a walk!” They know “ball” and “stick”.
These little squeaky balls are the absolute favorite, and they get that from their mama. She’s an addict, and we’ve created a whole pack of little addicts, it seems. They also like plain tennis balls. And sticks.
We’ve been working on stairs this week. Stairs are scary, but Odin, Kenna and Blue are little troopers and go up and down them with ease. The rest are still highly suspicious.
They wake up really early in the morning, usually at 5:00 a.m. like clockwork. The whelping box really won’t hold them anymore, and now that some of them know stairs, they happily come into our bedroom, happy as can be. They crash for the night usually around 8:00 p.m.
Keep in touch! I’d love to see photos of them as they grow up and hear about how they fit into your lives. I’m really going to miss them!