Time to introduce the newest member of Team Jackson! Little Swift arrived on 19 April 2017 and set to work settling herself into the team. First impressions went very well, with Merlin and Angel welcoming her, Cadbury taking a wide berth (as usual) and Sparrow watching from a distance. As the first week progressed, Angel decided the puppy was not worth getting off the sofa for any longer. Merlin did a little lip-lifting when she jumped on his head, and Cadbury and Sparrow decided she was good to play with.
Swift is a sable and white Shetland Sheepdog bred by Lian Knights. She is my next agility prospect but, like all my dogs, first and foremost she is a pet, a companion and, hopefully, a best friend. Early days are all about bonding and basics. Socialisation being top on my list for all my pups. I can’t express how important socialisation is at this young age. Unfortunately, with vets in the UK now insisting on 4 weeks between jabs and then another week after the second jab, puppies are often not taken out of the house before they are 13 weeks old or more. Since the socialisation window for pups closes at around 12 weeks, a vital period of time is lost.
Sensible and safe socialisation is so important. Swift is being carried everywhere, including on walks with the other dogs where she has her own puppy carrier for me to wear, so she can see the world without touching the ground. She is meeting people and friendly dogs that I know. She has been to Sparrow’s Bowen massage session, been carried around shops, visited Costa and started puppy classes on Monday.
Puppies are like sponges, or so they say, and absorb everything, but they also remind me how much I have taught my older dogs and now must teach Swift. She has to learn her name and to come when called. Then all the more formal stuff such as sits, downs, waits, etc, before we even contemplate doing some agility foundation work. But I am much more relaxed now I am five puppies along and know that everything will come in time. Enjoying time with Swift is just as important as doing short training sessions. We play together, go on trips together and just continue learning about each other.
One week into owning Swift and she is already an integral part of the family. She is a sweetie, curious, bold, a little feisty and a lot of fun. Time to get back to basics, to brush up on puppy skills and to enjoy the new adventures ahead.