On this page I write down some notes about puppies as well as my thoughts on raising, training and living with a Black Russian.
April 27, 2007
I finally got a new modem and can update the website. Many things happen meanwhile. Ruslan (now Rusich), went to Washington state where he shares home and bed with 4 Malamutes. According to his owner, he is as loving and "huggable" as his brother Dar. After a wonderful lady, who recently lost her 12.5 year old BRT, talked me into selling Mira, I had no excuse not to keep Dar (aka daddy's boy :) Dar is a delight to have around and all the girls love to play with him. I try to be careful but they still manage to run over him every now and then. Yeah, right, how could I prevent him from jumping over Lesya, he was planning to jump on her to chew on her scruff, but miscalculated and landed on the other side of her, jumping sidewise. Sometimes it's scary to watch them run full speed in the yard and slam into each other (OK, nobody slams into Vasya, at least not more than once in a lifetime).
Our foster boy went to a great home in Florida and his new buddies are older Lab mix and a 4 yo intact male Newfoundland. After few days of getting used to each other, they are now enjoy roughhousing together.
Dar and Rusich went to a match in mid-February and Dar got a Group placement. Both boys enjoyed socializing with dogs and people.
Jan. 13, 2007
Puppies eat in their crates, usually Ruslan in one on the floor and Dar in one on top of Mira's crate. This morning I decided to swap crates, so that puppies don't learn to eat only in one place. Fine, they dealt with their pork chops pretty fast and I let them out, calling to the back door to go outside. Dar went with me, being a good boy, but Ruslan rushed into his crate and stood there, looking at me, like "where is my food?" I guess, a meal eaten not in proper place does not count, it's just a snack :)
Did the "food guarding" test, I haven't done it with the boys since couple of days after introducing them to meat. I want to make sure puppies don't object humans taking food or anything else from dogs' mouths, which could safe life in emergencies. I can take anything from our dogs or handle any parts of their bodies, including the mouth. If I see too much food guarding between puppies (they eat together in the pen first couple of weeks), then I make sure they know the difference between another puppy being interested in their food and me taking it. With this litter they had no problem from the beginning, so there was not necessary to test them regularly.
Ruslan dropped his piece of chicken as soon as I touched it. While he won't surrender when play-fighting with his brother, he is very docile with people. Loves belly rubs and offers his belly willingly, sits down when approached with the leash to go inside after the play session in the yard. Gives kisses when somebody's face is within reach.
Dar stopped chewing his piece of chicken when I opened his crate but held it in his mouth, looking at me with curiosity. Dropped the chicken the moment I put my finger between his lips. Good boy!!! Neither one touch the chicken again until I closed the crates' door. When he sees me heading toward him to bring him inside, he offers a game of catch, showing me that he will be testing owner's authority every now and then. Good for show ring and problem solving, but needs firmer guidance and more consistent training. Dar doesn't like to be on his back for too long, so we are working on that. He is definitely more dominant and independent than his brother, but he will be more forgiving of handler error/overhandling.
Did a quick check on Mira, same as with the boys, the moment I touched the food it was dropped.
We recommend this test, regardless of dog's diet, to new owners. It is especially important with males and dominant bitches, and maintains the idea in dog's brain that owner actually "owns" everything, including the food.
I recall my discussion on this subject with owner of BRT Sid back in 1970's. My position was the same back then, being very dominant in general and a stubborn teenager at the time, I wanted total control. Eugene felt that after dog was given his meat, it belonged to the dog and it's was OK for dog to growl if owner wanted to take it back. Because both of us had dogs with many working titles, neither approach could be deemed as totally wrong. Though the dogs were more dominant and "hard-core" then. By the way, my dogs proved to be as reliable in real protection situations as ones with food aggression issues, so there is no fear that docile with the owner Black Russian will extend his "politeness" to an aggressor.
Jan. 8, 2007
Puppies went to Home Depot and Petsmart for some socialization (one puppy at a time). Happy to meet new people of all ages, curious about small dogs barking at them but wagging their tails. Young but full grown Bloodhound tried to intimidate Dar (owner was keeping him couple of feet away and in control of situation, so it was good experience for both youngsters). Dar calmly stood his grounds, tail up, chest forward, ready for the challenge but not lunging. Good boy, great temperament for the show ring. Then he proceeded to provide face-washing services to a little girl in exchange for hugs. I was glad to see a child who had been taught how to approach a strange dog.
Many of Vasilisa's sons live with young children, some are certified therapy dogs, go to schools for show-and-tell or for reading programs for kids. Regardless whom she had been bred to, Vasya passes her outstanding temperament and work ethics to her puppies. Trainer of one of her sons told me that if she had him since 8 weeks of age, he would be an OTCH (obedience trial champion). They want to work for you and with you.
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