Updated: Feb 3
This was the novel stimulus challenge for the day - these nine-week-old pups aced it. It took less than a minute for all of them to climb in - this demonstrates the confidence of the pups at this age and their ownership of the ground; the pool is in THEIR field, so it needs to be investigated. Experiences like this help to teach the pups early discernment. As adults, dogs with good environmental discernment bark less than dogs that react first and think later.
The following video is really entertaining to watch, or at least I think so! Krysta and her sister Kayla led the pups on quite a romp through the creek field. The pups had been in this field several times at this point, so the ground isn't new, but notice the strong puppy recall and the attention the pups give the girls. These are two skills that are valuable in an adult dog - it starts when they are babies.
At nine weeks of age, the puppies live in the creek field, their second field, the back pasture of the barn, and another stall. This provides LOTS of barrier challenges and exposure to new animals, dogs included, across the fences. I watch for pups that elect to stay with the sheep and pups that are willing to work alone, and I watch for pups that show frustration with the barrier challenges. If I see that, I back off their environment a bit until that pup gains a little confidence and is ready for the bigger challenge. It is never helpful to ask too much too soon; the pups always tell me what they are ready for by their behavior in these new circumstances.