Monday, January 17, 2011


The sight of puppies evokes warm fuzzy feelings in us humans.  Even people that really don’t care much for dogs start gushing over little puppies.  So small and sweet and helpless, and just waiting to be cuddled…!

Well, appearances are deceiving…Not that puppies are not sweet and cuddly,  but within that attractive little package is a super charged system run by a diabolical little brain.

Rough collie puppies are relatively easy.  They really are sweet and love to cuddle. However, they are very prepared to loudly voice their displeasure the minute the cuddling stops.  They can be little primadonnas, believing with their whole little hearts that puppies are meant to live on the living room carpet – why on earth would they want to dirty their pristine little feet by going outside?  In the winter it is wet, in the summer it is hot…And carpets, house plants, shoes, and other interesting objects at nose height are definitely more interesting than leaves and grass outside.

Smooth collie puppies are like a little steel spring stuffed into a furry little package.  Climbing out of the whelping box begins at about four weeks of age, and from the minute they discover they can do it, hopes of keeping them in are gone.  A bouncing ball is nothing in comparison – I can barely mange to turn my back after putting them back in the box before they are out again.  Their general attitude is “Take no prisoners” – anything in reach is eligible for chewing, dragging around, shaking, and arguing over.  People are the most fascinating chew toys of all – pants legs, shoe laces, skirt hems, long hair – wow! What fun!

Since I do a lot of interbreeding between smooth and rough collies, which is allowed here and has brought me some very successful results, I have also managed to create puppies that look sweet, soft and cuddly like typical roughs, but are clever little sharks in a furry coat.

And then there are the Canaan puppies.  I have never seen a puppy of another breed that was capable, at five weeks of age, of climbing up a fence to get on top of a dog house.  They seem to be part cat, since they manage to climb up on just about anything – stairs, terraces, - and the other part seems to be kamikaze, since climbing down is not considered, launching themselves into the air in a wild leap is the accepted procedure.  And they bounce!  As I run towards them to try to get there in time to stop them, they laugh at me and jump, bounce to the ground, and run at me in joy. 

Normal dog toys, balls, and such, are glanced at, tasted, and left.  What is really interesting is nature – stripping the leaves off the plants in the garden, (garden? What garden????), and digging holes, preferably right under the plants until they get to the roots.  There are a few places in the yard where I still try to grow a few plants and they are fenced to keep the collie puppies out – for the Canaans, they are a joke.  They squeeze under, through, or climb over the top, and despite what I do to try and protect my few sad bushes and flower pots, they still manage to get in, and find plenty of destruction to keep them busy.

Keeping them in a puppy pen, so that the adults and I can have a bit of peace, is another challenge.  They are very inventive at finding ways to get out by climbing up on the dog houses, finding a way to open the latch, and other methods that I haven’t even managed to figure out – I just find them out and happily demolishing everything in reach.

It has been quite cold and rainy the last few days.  I have become, over the years, soft.  I do really know that in the climate of Israel, collies and Canaans have no problems.  Even the puppies, as long as they have a good sheltered place to go into, can get along just fine, even in the winter.  But I hate to see puppies that look miserably wet and muddy – even though they are by choice running around in the rain and perfectly happy.

A friend gave me a few old blankets for the dogs – really nice thick, heavy, woolen blankets.  Habibi’s puppies are here in the front of the house, having fun in the rain, and I decided that I would pamper them, so I put one of these blankets in their shelter.  I was sure that within half an hour, they would have pulled it out and left it soaked in a puddle.

They all very cautiously came up to the opening of the doghouse, peering in at this new and strange apparition.  After a few minutes of making sure that it would not jump out and bite them, the first and bravest girl entered, and began to try to chew it up.  The others quickly followed suit, and I was sure that this was the beginning of the end – the blanket would soon be outside.

But no one can ever ignore the intelligence of a Canaan, even at seven weeks of age.  After a few chews, which apparently showed them that this object was really not very tasty, they realized that it was warm and comfy!  That was it – the puppies curled up in a ball together in the depths of the blanket, and did not come out again until morning.

Even though it is not raining today, the sun is out, and the puppies are happily playing outside, they have  made no attempts to pull the blanket out and destroy it.  When they have tired themselves out from running around, they all climb in and sleep happily on their new luxurious bed.  After all, if someone wants to pamper you, you accept it with grace!

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Habibi, like most males, is not enthusiastic about puppies.  He is tolerant; he knows they are babies and he is always gentle with them.  But he really doesn’t want to play with them and really would prefer for them to be behind a fence.  “Why on earth do you want to spend time with these undisciplined and unmannerly little beasts?” is his attitude. 

As far as Habibi is concerned, this is nature’s camouflage for a school of piranhas on four legs.  The puppies love to run after him and fuss around to get attention, and he tiptoes through them, hopping along and pulling his legs out of their eager little mouths. He has developed a system of leaping from the top of one dog house to another, over the fence of the puppy pen, and onto the porch, to get back to the house out of reach of the junior pack.  Very funny to watch this big, strong, dominant boy escaping a bunch of puppies.  But I have no doubts that this current bunch, his children after all, will very quickly find a way to start climbing up after him…

1 comment:

  1. Great post, I want to come right over and play with them. How do you get anything done? They are so adorable. I would be watching them all day long. I hope you find wonderful homes for all of these glorious creatures, Collies and Canaans alike.