Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Infamous Toller Scream

Have you ever heard a dog scream? We Tollers are known for ours...we do it when we're really excited about something! Some Tollers scream so enthusiastically that it sounds like they're being skinned alive. So far, I haven't displayed any screaming talent, which is just fine by my human.
Here is a nice description from Caliber Tollers' website:
The Scream - Many Tollers have a penetrating scream which they produce
to indicate excitement and eagerness. To the uninitiated, this can sound like
the dog is being fed into a wood chipper; it's high pitched, frantic and loud.
Not all Tollers scream, but many do. If you are unable to teach quiet manners,
or live in a neighborhood where dog noise will get you in trouble, or just don't
like dogs who make noise, this is not the breed for you. The scream is usually a
reaction to an exciting stimulus (water, a toy, a ball) rather than a constant
behavior, but it can be annoying.
If you'd like to hear a sample, check out this YouTube clip:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Caution...Toller Crossing!

How spoiled am I that I have my very own crossing sign?!

My human saw this on e-Bay and had to have it.

She tried to get me to sit underneath it for a picture, but even her homemade liver treats couldn't entice me.

I got my Lyme vaccine booster yesterday and my rump is a bit sore. I actually had a rough time with this one...messed my crate in the middle of the night (something I've never done, even as a wee pup), tried to upchuck a couple times but nothing came up. I'm doing better now but my human was a little worried.

On a nicer note, I'm doing much better in my puppy kindergarten class! No more of that nasty Fear Period stuff...I'm back to my old self, showing up all the other puppies with my fast Toller learning curve.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Do These Count As Water Retrieves?

In my book, they do...I entered water, I retrieved, ergo Water Retrieve! No one said anything about having to actually swim!

Here was my first one, when I was just over 3 months old. This is our drained pool.

Retrieving the little bumper...

...and the big bumper (OK, so it's a noodle)!

And some day, I'll work up the courage to jump off the deck!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Steps

Joy, oh joy! My family opened their backyard pool this past weekend, and I'm finally getting acquainted with water! My human had seen a "Dog Whisperer" episode (she's a Cesar Milan groupie) with a Toller who was afraid of swimming, so she is being very cautious with introducing me to it. Apparently, that Toller had accidentally fallen into the pool when she was 8 weeks old, and her human jumped in to save her and proceeded to make a REALLY BIG DEAL about it afterward, which of course only served to make the puppy more fearful of water. Silly human! So Cesar worked with her to re-introduce her to the joys of swimming, and she did great.

So here's my human, encouraging me to take a walk on the little platform between the hot tub & the pool. Note my slightly baleful expression. I spent a few minutes walking back & forth from the deck onto the far, so good.

Here's Girl Twin, telling me the water's fine and I should just take a step in...I was curious, but not too eager to dip a paw in just yet.

Then, Little Boy started playing with the orange noodle, and I couldn't help myself...I just HAD to get over there to check it out!

And then Girl Twin made a hose out of the noodle and I got to play one of my favorite games...Bite the Water. Didn't taste quite as good as the stuff that comes out of the hose, but it was still fun!

I'm not quite ready to take the plunge yet, but I think I'll get there before the summer's through.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pearly Whites

One of my absolute favorite pastimes is having my teeth brushed. I would eat the entire tube of doggy toothpaste in one sitting, if I could get my paws on it. My human buys the peanut-flavored one. She usually brushes my teeth twice a week, if she can remember (not often enough, I say!).

My human's sister is a dental hygenist, and she actually scales her dog's teeth! I don't know how I'd do with a sharp implement scratching the surface of my teeth, but Lucy doesn't mind it one bit.

Why on earth would anyone bother with brushing our teeth, you ask? I have one word for you: tartar. That nasty stuff builds up (just like on you humans!) and can cause tooth decay. Not to mention smelly breath. Ah, the dreaded doggy breath...not comin' from me, I can assure you!

Speaking of teeth, my baby ones should start falling out any day now. My human is keeping her eyes peeled for them but so far, nothing. Is there such a thing as a Doggy Tooth Fairy? I would love to wake up and find some treats tucked under my crate bed!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Extreme Makeover, Toller-Style

Some of us Tollers have ears that don't fall the way they should, in those nice inverted triangles. Mine are especially "wonky" (don't you love that term?), unfortunately. They seemed to start turning that way the day after I arrived at my family's home. My breeders had told my human to watch out for that, so she contacted them when it was obvious that my ears were turning all funky.

See what I mean?!

So the breeders very kindly told my human to bring me back, so they could do some "cosmetic adjustments". They showed her how to create weights out of a quarter sandwiched in between two pieces of moleskin and glued inside the ears (no, it doesn't hurt, I promise!). This will hopefully make my ear cartiledge grow the right way. It felt a little weird at first and I shook my head a couple times, but then I forgot they were even there. The ear hair eventually grows out and the moleskin falls off, so she will have to replace them many times until I'm 9 months old.

The improvement was immediate...the picture above on my blog header was taken the same day as my first set of ear-weights were attached. Now I look like a Toller is supposed to look!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fear Factor

Did you know that many puppies experience a "fear period", sometimes more than once? The first is usually between eight and ten weeks old, and the second around four or five months old. Well, I did have the first one and I'm pretty sure I'm at the start of the second. My family started filling the swimming pool yesterday, so there's a constant low rushing sound coming from the pipes near my crate in the kitchen. ME NO LIKEY. It bugs me and freaks me out and I am not having any of it. I'm letting my displeasure be known by barking at the wall. I look like a crazy dog, I know. But I can't help it and at least my human knows there a reason for it. So I've relegated myself to my crate for most of the day and today, in puppy obedience class, I decided to not participate. Cowered against my human, stared at the wall, would've crawled under the carpet and not come out, if I could've. The instructor was completely understanding as she's dealt with this before.
This too shall pass. Hopefully by next week's class.

Monday, May 11, 2009


We puppies need a LOT of sleep. It's tiring business, growing from infant to adult in just one year! My human says I used to cat nap all the time when I was really little, like these shots taken when I was just over 9 weeks old. Look at that belly! But now that I'm an adolescent, there's just too many interesting things going on for me to waste much of my time on naps.
Yes, I actually am sleeping on my human's boots in that first shot. She wouldn't let me gnaw on them (that suede is just too tempting), but she did stay like that for a good 15 minutes, talking on the phone, so I could get 50 winks in.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gifted and Talented, Puppy Version

I hear there's something called the "Gifted and Talented" program at many schools in this human takes exception to the phrase, as she says all kids are gifted and talented in their own ways, but don't get her started. In my case, however, the phrase is entirely apropos...just check me out, retrieving at the tender young age of 8 and half weeks old! Even tho' you'd think we Tollers start retrieving in utero, my human was careful to nurture this instinct early on. You see, my dad doesn't retrieve. He's a disgrace to the breed! (Just kidding, Dad!) My breeders said that in some dogs, the instinct needs to be stoked at an early age or else the window closes and the drive just falls by the wayside. So they started throwing things for me at around 7 weeks, and as you can see, I caught the retrieving bug from the get-go. My mom would mow me down just to get to a stick, so I must get it from her.

I also am proving to be a quick study at puppy obedience class. I am picking up commands left-and-right and my human is hopeful we can eventually compete in obedience and agility. That's one trait that drew her to the Toller breed, our intelligence (and our trainability and versatility and kid-friendliness, not to mention our looks!). Here I am, with my best buddy Wylie, doing the "down" command at 12 weeks. Shortly after this video, I learned the "sit" and "down" with just hand signals.

Homeward Bound

This pic was taken one week before I went home with my family. They came to check me out in person before deciding if they wanted to wait for the next litter for their originally-planned pink-nosed boy Toller. One look was all it took! I have to admit, I was too cute for words...who could resist me? But apparently they wanted to be sure I wasn't a shrinking violet, as they needed a puppy that could stand up to the rigors of a 4 year-old and two 10 year-olds. I passed the test with flying colors...just check out my cool-as-a-cucumber attitude!

My family brought me home when I was 8 weeks old. I handled the 2 hour car ride home like a seasoned pro (except for pooping once then eating it before anyone could remove it from the crate...hey, at least I didn't throw up instead!)

My human's puppy-owning friends had warned her to expect a sleepless first week/s, but she was in for a pleasant surprise. You see, my breeders are very smart people. A week before I went to my new home, they had me start sleeping alone in a crate. I didn't like it much at first, but by the time my family took me home, I was completely used to it. I didn't even ask to be let out to pee in the middle of the night! Not even so much as a whimper.

My Puppyhood

Despite my surprise entrance to the world, my early days were uneventful. That's me and my mom, Meriwether (with my sister Foxy tucked behind me). We were 5 days old when this pic was taken. Notice how Mom is stretched out on her back...I'm told my breed likes to do that! My human says I sleep in this position often.

Back to the pink nose/black nose thing...Tollers come in 2 color varieties. My dad, Rudy, has a pink nose (but I hear "flesh" is the correct term) with amber eyes. My mom, as you can see, has a black nose with dark brown eyes. Both varieties have the same red-gold coat with white markings, but the black-nosed Tollers usually have a darker red coat. Both are acceptable in the show ring. My sister Foxy got our dad's coloring and I got our mom's (cool, huh?). My human thinks that black-nosed Tollers are less and less common, so she gets excited when she sees others on the different Toller forums she subscribes to. Personally, I think both varieties are equally gorgeous!

Here I am in all my one-day glory!
My coat color was lighter as a young'un and is getting darker now that I'm an adolescent. In fact, my body color was lighter than my face color. The breeders told my human that it would all turn to the darker red shade right between my eyes, and they were right! Once I lost my peach-fuzz, the new hair came in darker, much to my family's delight. They say the darker the red, the better.

I also have very little white for a Toller. Most have a blaze or snippet on their face, socks or even stockings, and a definite tip on their tail. The only white on my face is right below my lower lip (if I were a boy, you could call it a goatee!), and my feet look like I barely stepped in white paint, just the toes. But the funniest part is my tail...I have about 10 white hairs at the tippiest-tip! I do have a lot of white on my chest tho', which is good 'cuz otherwise people would think I'm a Golden Retriever. Which many do anyway...silly humans! Tollers are NOT small Goldens, and don't you forget it!

And here I am at 2 weeks old. My nose, pink at birth, has already started to mottle to black. If you look closely, you'll see my cool white goatee!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I have arrived!... the world of dog blogs, that is!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Sedona and I am a 4 month-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. "A WHAT?!" you ask? Just call me a Toller for short. That's what my human tells people when they get that cross-eyed, tongued-tied expression after she tells them what I am.

My official AKC name is Ravenswood Sunset in Sedona, to be exact. Ravenswood is the name of the kennel who brought me into this world. The breeders are a lovely husband and wife team who took the best care of me until I came to live with my human and her family just over 2 months ago. My human took one look at the gorgeous red-gold color of our famous Toller coats and it reminded her of the famous Red Rocks in Sedona, and that's how I got my name.

She actually wanted to add Serendipity somewhere in my name, but she thought it was too long, too much alliteration, and too much like those crazy AKC names you often hear at Westminster (e.g., Chesterfield's The Sky Is Threatening To Rain Today So Don't Forget Your Umbrella...but of course, the dog's call name is simply "Bo").

Why Serendipity, you ask? Because I was the opposite of what my human and her family were looking for, and they ended up with me anyway! Lucky them! You see, my family all wanted a boy (except for my human, so she was thrilled to get her way after all) and they all thought they wanted a pink-nosed Toller, and mine's purplish-black (more on the color differences later). They had been in touch with the breeders and came to meet all the Tollers at the kennel, and were on a waiting list for a breeding that was supposed to take place in the late winter. What they didn't know was that my mom had secretly come into season and had enjoyed a quicky out in the exercise pen with my dad. No one knew she was pregnant since it was winter and we all tend to put on a few pounds. On January 2nd, they brought breakfast around and found me with my two sisters! I was actually at death's door and had to be revived (one of my sisters didn't make it, R.I.P.), but I was no worse for the wear. The breeders told my family about us, and they came to meet us and the rest is history.

So, I just discovered this fab world of dog blogs and thought it'd be fun to join in. I'm dying to share my crazy antics with anyone who will listen. I will recount my early days and bring you up to speed on what I've been up to in my young life.

Hope you enjoy the journey with me!