This is the Picture the breeder sent me before Tulip was driven from South Carolina to New Jersey, where we picked her up. I thought she looked a bit mature, but thought, maybe she is just large. Also Poodles often don't have a real puppy look compared to other breeds.
When she arrived at our arranged spot, I picked her up and thought, boy she is really heavy. She was really quite gorgeous and spunky, so my husband and I drove home with me bonding with and kissing the newly arrived Tulip sitting on my lap.
The perfect time to get a puppy is from 8-10 weeks. They are very malleable, usually have no bad habits, a really nice blank slate. There is also a cirtical socialization period between 8-12 weeks where they need to be gently exposed to practically everything and everyone you can think of. You want to keep all experiences non stressful, to build their confidence and get them used to the world around them.
My Standards in the past have all been 8 weeks when I got them, and I teach them all of the basics by the time they are 12 weeks. As I always ask my breeder for a mellow and confident puppy, I usually don't encounter any jumping up, nipping, or fearful behavior. They tend to follow my other already trained dogs, so they have a pretty solid recall after four weeks of reinforcing them with a click and a treat for coming when their name is called. They are usually house trained within a week, but of course I am walking them hourly during the day.
When I called Judy on Monday after this past Easter, I let her know how the puppy was doing and asked "is she really ten weeks, she is awfully big and heavy?". This is when I learned of the mix-up.
Judy was away during most of the puppy selection, and her daughter who helps her out accidentally sold the puppy that I had reserved. My breeder is an elderly woman now, and I think it was an honest mistake. She offered to take her back and give me a puppy in May that will be 8 weeks, and she was very sorry. But for me, not an option. I fall in love hard and fast, and Tulip was already ours.
This 12 week old Tulip is a totally different ballgame. She is very lively (not mellow), jumps on us a lot, , does some drive by nipping (I have a nice hole in my expensive full-seat dressage britches). She doesn't do stairs at all, (my aching back can tell you that from carrying her up and down the stairs). She tries to play keep away, has an issue coming through doorways (and then tries to play keep away again), and is more of a challeng to house train. I usually have at the most an acccident or two in the house, and that is it. Not the case with Tuilp. We are averaging one accident a day, all my fault of course, I looked away from her for a mintue. Need to roll up that newspaper, and give myself a good whack on the head.
I thank the heavens above that she has no aggressive issues, and is not at all shy with people. Quite the opposite. She might be a Lab in Poodle disguise. She certainly eats like one. I might need to get one of those bumpy bowls to slow her down, very un-poodle like. It is better if dogs don't inhale their food, and there are specially designed bowls that help slow them down. I have told her that chewing would be a good idea, but she is not having it. Maybe I will try the Vulcan mind meld to get this point across (some of you must be Trekkies).
I am in for a lot of work with this lively little girl. I am actively working my way through all of her issues, and will explain how in the next installment. This blog is my way of making lemonade out of lemons. Tulip is not the dog I would have chosen, but she is the one I am in love with. I know all will be well in the end.
In the meantime, Happy Training!!