Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Mendel playing after a long trip home
First of all, never before have I ever been so glad I got this computer for my TV.  Sitting at my desk with my back to the rest of the house is just not workable for a puppy.  Of course, sitting on the floor with a wireless keyboard on my lap is an open invitation for "help" typing as well.  Let's just say there has been a lot of backspacing of excess letters.

Mendel got a tour of the house and some playing in before Bailey and Lilly came home
My trip to Seattle wasn't very "Seattle-y".  I never once even saw the Space Needle and I didn't drink a drop of coffee.  I was supposed to arrive at 6pm, but that got a little pushed back as a result of major headwinds on the flight.  It was a very long 4 1/2 hours on a plane.  Fortunately for me, everybody else was also behind.  You see, Mr. Rico - Mendel's daddy - won Breed on Saturday morning.  That meant they got to stick around and show in Group competitions as well.  (learn about how a dog show works here)  Group at this show ran WAY late.  I didn't get going to the hotel until almost 8pm (after getting my rental car) and they were just getting started with puppy evaluations then.  They did the girls first so I wouldn't miss any of the boys.

Mendel got a brown blankey from his breeder that smells like all his brothers and sisters

Evaluations are best when they include input from lots of people and lots of preferences, so you kinda have to take it all into consideration and decide what you like for yourself.

For the girls, the two are of different "type".  Pink likely has the best proportions right now and some people might consider her pick of the litter, but they both have show potential.  The general consensus is that Pink is going to be a very "cute" girl, and Purple is going to be more "pretty".  I don't know if that makes sense or not... "pretty" would kinda go into the more "majestic" and "elegant" category where as "cute" is more in the "adorable cuddly bear" department.  Speaking of Bear, miss Pink has learned how to become one.  She is the smallest of the litter, but she rules as queen and she will stand up on her back legs, arms as high as they go with toes spread and mouth open to stand over any brother or sister who might challenge her authority.  She is SO out of my league.

As for the boys...

Orange is pet quality.  He's a lover and a nice family in Alaska is going to just LOVE him.  Dog shows are not in his future.

Green is very pretty, but his structure is not the best of the litter.  Because these lines tend to mature late, it's hard to tell exactly how he'll end up right now.  He's not the best of the litter, but he will likely be finishable (still able to get his championship) if he is shown.

Some placed Yellow as the pick of the litter.  I can best guess he will look a fair share like his half brother, Mater.  He's got a pretty manageable coat given that his Daddy is a hairy monster, and as a result of Pink taking him down a notch, he's not quite as much of a handful as he was.  That doesn't mean he's not still a little on the "spunky" side.

Red is considered pick of the litter by some of the other breeders who came to evaluate.  He's very pretty, pretty enough to potentially win a lot.  He's also very hairy like his daddy.   He moves very nicely, as does yellow.

The breeders talked and came to me with a proposal:  They offered me Red or Yellow as my best options.  Because they are unsure as of yet about what they will keep for themselves, it was my job to spend some time with the two of them and decide who I "clicked with" best.

On Sunday I planned to go see Seattle, but I wound up looking at the vendors at the show for a while and then Mater (Mendel's half brother) won Breed... so we got to stay for group competition again.  I'd say it gives you some confidence when you fly out to pick a puppy and his Daddy wins breed at a show one day and his Brother wins the next, wouldn't you?  :)  I got Mendel a nice adjustable puppy learn-to-pull harness at the vendors, which made me very happy since that meant I didn't have to pay shipping for one.

Sunday night everybody went out for dinner while I stayed and bonded with Red and Yellow.  If I'm being honest, I wanted to like Yellow the best because of his shorter coat.  I played with them Sunday evening until they were worn right out and crashed on cool floor behind the toilet in the bathroom.  By the time they were asleep, I had made my decision.

Red Boy is now "ArticCross 'n Double Helix's Mendelian Masterpiece"

Mendel with me and his breeders.  L to R:  Drea, Julie (ArticCross Samoyeds, me & Mendel, Robinette (Double Helix Samoyeds) 

Here's how I made my choice:

Red boy has always been a dog with a "switch" as best I could tell.  There is play time and there is rest time, and after some play time he likes to just go have a rest (often by himself while the other puppies played).  This is something that reminds me of my other dogs, especially Bailey.  I love that they don't constantly have to be busy-bodying around.  Another thing I noticed between the two is that Yellow could be a little pushy when playing.  If he wanted to play but the other dog did not, he just poked at them until they had no choice.  Lilly would not be impressed by this, and quite frankly neither am I when I'm busy and I'm getting mauled because the dog has decided he's in the mood for a romp.  Even while I just had the two together he did this to Red.  I got a free squeeky toy from a vender at the show so I got it out and tossed it for them.  I noticed that every time Red got the toy, he brought it back to me (very proud of himself) - when Yellow got the toy, he got it for himself.  Now, I'm not looking for a retriever and I don't allow my dogs to play "fetch" (where I throw something and they chase it down over and over) so when it comes down to it this doesn't matter all that much, but it did sway my decision a little bit.  (and today it came in very handy when he took a candle off a low shelf and brought it directly to me - I just thanked him and gave him a treat in trade for it)  The final thing that helped me make my decision was when the breeder's Fiancé came in the room.  Yellow b-lined it straight for him and when he left yellow cried and threw a little temper tantrum.  I liked that he clearly loved somebody he knew, but his tantrum made me wonder if perhaps he was a little on the clingy side.  Lilly is right about at the limit of how much clingy-ness I care for, and even sometimes she has a hard time with some aspects of life when she needs to be left alone, etc.  Later, I put yellow in the bathroom by himself and he pitched a major fit - to the point I just ended up opening the door while he was screaming just to quiet him (since we were in a hotel and all).  Red did protest after being in there for a minute, but I waited to see if there would be a break in his tantrum for a second and when I opened the door he was laying down and looked fairly relaxed.  He wasn't happy about being put in the room by himself, but he wasn't having an existential meltdown either.

Mendel napping as I write this post

After a 2 hour flight delay, change of gates at the airport TWICE, a 3 1/2 hour plane trip, a 4 hour drive home and what I've seen at here so far - I think I've made the right choice.  He's just an angel.  At first Lilly wasn't too sure about him.  She's always been challenged by what to do with puppies, but just while I was writing this earlier she and Mendel played for the first time.  He's not super pushy and the play was as much instigated by her as it was by him (which is EXACTLY what she needed).  I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself that I know my girl well enough to pick a good puppy for her to play with.  Bailey's done this puppy business a number of times before so he's an old pro.  Mendel clearly thinks he's a super cool big brother, but as of yet he has been very polite and has not angered the King.  (correction, we just had supper time and Mendel wanted to see what Bailey had in his bowl - not a good idea - Bailey behaved and wasn't too nasty, Mendel will learn to let the King finish eating before touching his bowl soon enough)

Here's a video of the first time Lilly and Mendel played.  Lilly's still working on figuring it out and Mendel is just the perfect amount of polite and playful for her to get the hang of it.



  1. Congratulations!!!

    Sorry to hear about the flight delayed and other flight hassles but I'm glad everything turned alright at last and you have found your ideal puppy. Mendel is so so so cute! He is really adorable! I wouldn't have known which to pick if I were you though. They all look too beautiful to me : )
    Lily is such a good sister and look at the way both of them playing, it is really sweet.
    Have fun with Mendel. He's definitely a handsome boy.

  2. You definitely took your time and made a great decision! Its so important to make sure you get the right dog for you. Mendel is beyond cute and seems to well behaved! Congrats :)

  3. What a great write-up of the puppy evaluation and selection process. Our pups were picked by the breeder so it is not something I've gone through for myself yet. Welcome home to little Mendel. What a cutie and I am so looking forward to hearing much, much more about him as he grows up into a conformation and working champion :)

  4. Very informative:)
    What a cute bundle of fur, and Lilly looks like the perfect older sister!

  5. Congrats! Mendel is probably very happy with his new family!
    Interesting break down of your decision, alot of thought went into it.

    Everytime I think about how I put my dog on a plane sight unseen and wonderful she is....I get so happy...granted...she's just a pet. but I can't believe how lucky we got!

    Mendel is a great name too!


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