Personal ~ Introducing Fletcher
If you've been following me for a while you might remember we used to have a little Jack Russell cross called Archie, who we lost to a tick a couple of years ago. He and Luna were best buddies and though she gets along fine with Araya the cat, who we adopted last year from Pets Without Partners, we've been wanting to add another dog to complete our furry family for a while now. I must admit I fell in love with the Australian Shepherd breed after photographing a few of them - I love their energy and sense of fun and adventure - their trainability and just how gorgeous they are in general!
After thoroughly researching and asking people in the know, we found an excellent Australian Shepherd breeder called Wajoma, and visited to meet her adult dogs late last year. My husband and I were both thoroughly impressed with all her dogs and we began the long patient wait until the next litter of puppies came along. Eight months later it was finally time and we were offered the gorgeous merle bob-tail boy, at the time called Sheugs.
When we went to visit and meet the little guy, he immediately singled out my husband Marty and spent the whole visit hanging out with him, climbing all over him, sitting at his feet and generally making it very plain that he expected Marty to be his new dad, thank you very much!
The theme of the litter was the TV series (and books by Diana Gabaldon) Outlander which I absolutely love, so in renaming our little dude we tried to stick with the theme. Marty came up with Fletcher and it fit perfectly, being one of the TV show characters. We are also both keen archers so it tied in very well on many levels!
It's been eight years since I had a puppy and Marty has never really had a dog from the little puppy stage, so it's been a learning curve for us, but we are getting there. Crate training is something I've never done before, but I can already see the advantages, it's vital to teach dogs in general but especially breeds such as the Aussie to chill and relax.
We've start off right away with lots of enrichment toys from Chew Chomp and Chill, they're a must for keeping him entertained and working that active little mind of his. He's also currently attending puppy school with Pawsitive Connection, making new friends and learning lots in the process.
So far he can sit, drop, shake hands, high five and I've been starting with the inevitable model muse training too - my aim is for him to head-tilt on command. We're also well along the way to a nice reliable stay with distance, duration and distraction. Coming when called is more of a work in progress!
I'm trying not to put too much pressure on him for modelling duties at this stage, so most photos are phone snapshots and candids around our garden. Here's some shots taken yesterday morning of Fletcher at 11 weeks old.
He has a favourite spot in the garden already where he can chew sticks, hoard all his toys and give me cheeky looks while not coming when called.
He loves the old softball that's been kicking around in our garden ever since we moved in. At least someone appreciates it, but I don't know how long it will survive in one piece now that Fletcher has claimed it!
Luna would much rather relax on her bed indoors, but stands watch while Fletcher is exploring like a good big sister.
Araya the cat isn't allowed outside, but watches the proceedings from her vantage point high on the deck.
We have a dirt driveway that goes down to the back of the property where the shed (i.e. man-cave) is, and Fletcher loves running down it full pelt. Sometimes he even runs back up again when I call him. If I am lucky!
Being outside is his favourite thing, he loves watching the birds.
I don't even know what he was doing here. Biting the ground I think. Puppies!
I'm looking forward to sharing more photos of Fletcher as he grows!