These are my observations, and I just posted the 5-week-old pictures on their litter page for those of you refreshing the page every hour (I know who you are... hahaha). I hope to have a bunch of new pictures and maybe even some video after this weekend, as we're having a very special visitor flying in to spend the weekend with us - well... them. I'm just there because it's my house.
Back to my observations (in order of collar color - not personal favorites):
Black Girl - When the puppies are wrestling and playing rough, she's usually the antagonist. She's in the middle of every tussle, but she spends as much time on her back getting the body slam as she hands them out. Her best playmates are Teal and Pink. When I hold her, she is sweet and lets me hold her on her back without any fuss. If there's a leader of the bunch, she's probably it, but there isn't a clear leader. She's somewhat vocal - reminds me of her mother this way. She's about 50/50 on using the shavings for the potty area, and she's the most likely to take a toy into the shavings area. Ugh.
Blue Boy - He's very sweet and cuddly, but he's not as outgoing as some of the others, especially his only brother. He is patient and waits his turn, and usually avoids all of the rougher play. He's quiet/non-vocal and probably the most laid back of the litter - until it's food time. Then, get out of his way! He's pretty clever when it comes to finding the best way to get the most food, but he's not very motivated by toys or play time. He's not shy at all - he just isn't pushy. He's happy sleeping next to me, being in my lap, or being held. He's not loving the new "use the shavings for the potty area" policy I have introduced.
Bright Green Girl - I must admit, she often gets overlooked, as she's very much a "middle of the road puppy" when it comes to interactions because she doesn't have a WIDE OPEN personality like some of the other girls. Last night while most of them were sleeping, we spent some good time together. She fell asleep on her back in my arm. She's very sweet when I'm available (i.e. not getting swarmed by the others), but she's also comfortable being on her own. She doesn't play with toys on her own, but she will play with me and chase the toys. She's not a demanding puppy, and she's the best of the girls about using the shavings area, which I fully appreciate!
Hunter Boy - "Oh, Hunter!" is probably what he hears most from me. He's my little buddy of the bunch - always up for anything. He's the one who pops up when I walk by - while everyone else is sleeping. I will often let him out of the pen and have him follow me around while the rest are sleeping. He's EXTREMELY observant and really looks people in the eye. When the TV is on, he will sometimes sit and watch if he's not in my lap or playing with one of the toys. Nothing bothers Hunter. He's brave and stoic, and seems to be highly engaged and intelligent. He almost always uses the shavings area. He really reminds me of Jake from my first litter. Jake was also Hunter Green boy... hmmm.
Naked/No Collar Girl - She totally pulls off not having a collar color. She is something special. Naked girl is very sweet and wants to be with me the whole time I'm in the pen - sometimes whining or taking a flying leap to get in my lap if the others have already laid claims. She enjoys the more gentle play with some of the others, and she tends to stay near Blue Boy and Red Girl. She has the sweetest expression, and she was the first puppy to sit and trot in the whelping box. She likes to use the softer toys as pillows or to cuddle. She's not loving the new shavings policy, either, but it's getting better.
Pink Girl - I consider Pink girl to be somewhere in between Hunter Boy and Black Girl. She's very outgoing, and she's excited about attention and enjoys rough-housing with both me and the other puppies. She reacts to squeaky toys and comes running. She enjoys interacting with River the most right now - often playing a game of chewy face or "bat mom on the face and see what she does." She's a fun puppy who is up for anything, but she usually calms easily when picked up. She's a forgiving puppy - I accidently stepped on her tail, and as soon as I picked her up, she kissed my nose, and didn't pout once I put her down. She's about 50/50 on using the shavings area.
Purple Girl - Two words: Teddy Bear. She's always waiting for her turn and so extremely happy when she's held and cuddled. She usually rolls over on her back for a belly rub, and she wants to curl up by my neck when I hold her. She's also the fuzziest of the puppies, so it helps her "teddy bear" qualities. She's not interested in toys until they can be chased - then she's pretty happy to trot after a tug toy. Purple girl gets her feelings hurt pretty easily, and she will stay off to the side and pout for a while before joining in again. She's more of a sensitive puppy than the others at this point. She's very good about using the shavings most of the time and prefers to leave by going over the side rather than out the entrance.
Red Girl - Although I try not to have favorites, she is definitely one of the puppies I am always drawn to. For some reason, she doesn't usually photograph very well - I think she's trying to keep her awesomeness on the down-low - but in person, she's adorable. She's a little more demanding than some of the others, but she's not a handful like Pink and Hunter can be. She interacts a lot with the toys.. especially toys that make noises like the soda bottle with pennies in it, the crinkle toy, and she will come running for a squeaky toy as well... although she hasn't figured out how to make it squeak herself. She's not thrilled about being on her back, but she will settle after 15-20 seconds. She prefers to use the shavings that have come out of the shavings area, so can I hold that against her?
Teal Girl - She can usually be found rough housing with Black or Pink. She's a lovely puppy and pretty outgoing, but I have noticed she is more sound sensitive than the others - although she recovers quickly. For example, she doesn't like it when I bang into the pen and make a noise, but if I call her over, she'll come pretty quickly. She reacted in a similar way to the vacuum cleaner - initially worried, but recovered and came over after only a few seconds. After several shakes of the soda bottle with pennies in it, she now looks at me as if to say "so what?!" She's a good balance of interested and wanting to be with people and being comfortable on her own. She was the first puppy to use the shavings without being picked up and placed there, but she's about 50/50 on using the area now.
Temperament testing will be completed on Friday, January 23rd - a couple days after they turn 7 weeks old, but it should be close enough. I'm very curious how much they change between now and then... and if they will be the same in an environment where they have never been with people they have never met (although one of the two evaluators met them at 3 days old, but it shouldn't have any impact).
I try not to compare puppies to dogs I have had in the past, but I was asked to share who reminded me the most of my other dogs. Since it's too soon to say much about their structure, I'll just talk about personalities so far:
At this point, Pink girl is probably the closest in personality to my Grainger boy, who recently passed away. He was "bomb-proof" and loved everyone and was always ready to work, but he was quiet in the house. He was a higher energy puppy until about age 3, and he was the PERFECT dog by age 4.
I don't think any of them remind me closely of River, but some of them definitely have many of her traits - River was the leader of her litter, and she was (and still is) a sassy girl, but she's very submissive to me, gets along with all other dogs, and is very affectionate with people she knows. So, I'd say Black and Teal are probably the most like River right now. If you've met River, she's very vocal, so I see some of that in some of the puppies.
Blue Boy reminds me the most of Jasper - he's the more laid back puppy like Jasper was and still is. Jasper is also pretty sensitive and can get his feelings hurt easily, so I see that in Purple girl. Barrett, the father of this litter, is very much the same way. Very laid back, but can get his feelings hurt easily.
Hunter reminds me of Jake, as I said earlier. I think he'll make an awesome working dog - as he's up for anything and he's a thinker/very observant. I do expect him to be a little bit higher energy than some of the others. He won't be a couch potato if this trend continues.
Naked girl reminds me of her cousin Easter... VERY MUCH in overall looks and sweetness and naturally a bit of a show off, but Easter is a little bit more sassy like Bright Green and Red girls.
Purple girl's personality reminds me the most of Barrett, her father. She's a softer puppy, but she's confident and not easily scared, but she's more submissive to other dogs and people.
I hope this helps and please keep in mind, the ideal time to assess a puppy's temperament is around 7 weeks old, so there could definitely be some changes over the next two weeks.
Here'a s picture taken of most of the gang on Wednesday night for their weekly pictures. Can you name each puppy in the picture?