Saturday, February 3, 2007


That tide. It rolls up and falls back. I chase it back and forth. I stand in it and feel it rise and fall. It pulls all the water in my brain with it so that sometimes I bubble over with joy; other times the sand is so dry it hurts. Which is to say that I have a lot of feelings and they change by the hour.

And yet I feel all shiny. I feel all bright eyed. There is a lot of energy in this project. I really like this spaniel tribe. It’s kind of like embroidery. If you told me 15 years ago I would be jonesin’ for a flushing spaniel, I’d have laughed in disbelief.

I asked the people on the Papillon list to write me with stories of their experience with keeping Papillons with larger breeds. 10 to 1, the stories are positive. When they go bad, they are tragic. I am trying to map the course of those tragedies.

Here is what I learned:
-Avoid extremes of size difference
-Teach the big dog impeccable door manners.
-Never leave them out alone together or let them run in the yard together.
-Honestly assess the temperaments of your dogs. Little dogs who taunt big dogs are a tragedy waiting to happen, no matter how good-natured the big dog. yet:
-Allow the little dogs to rule
-Learn to read dog.
(Patricia McConnell’s For the Love of a Dog is an excellent book on the body language and expressions of dogs.)

All of the tragedies I heard of involved either tiny papillons or puppies and much larger dogs OR power struggles between males OR the big dog aging and or in some discomfort so that what didn’t bother him before, bothers him now.

AC wrote me that another FS breeder’s mother has 10 FS and a 4lb papillon.

I think they are going to use the new neuro programming with the puppies. I’ll talk more about that later. I want them to temperment test and pay attention to defensivenss and pain thresholds. The less defensive and pain sensitive, the more likely the potential for a therapy dog.

SM said she thought the one who would test best would be a male…There are 4 boys and 2 girls. I think one of the girls and the liver/tan boy are spoken for.

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