Friday, July 15, 2011

Life Lessons

It was my responsibility to teach my pups certain things. These were lessons to make my life easier and theirs safer, such as coming when called, sit, stay, be gentle taking treats from hand, don't jump on strangers, etc. But there were other lessons they needed to learn that I couldn't teach them. They needed to learn how to be dogs. Who better to teach these important lessons than their mama, Samba.
One day when the pups were about six weeks old I took them and Samba into the back yard. It was a sunny December day and I expected them to just run around and explore, but I was wrong. Samba had other ideas.
First she lined the pups up on the hill and when she had their attention, she picked up a tennis ball and walked back and forth in front of her puppies. Next she made a circuit of the yard with the pups following her as she carried the ball. She then stopped and gave the ball to each puppy in turn to hold and carry as they ran back and forth across the yard. I was amazed at what I was seeing and told Rob all about it when he got home that night.
A couple days later I took the pups and Samba into the yard again and watched as she gave them another lesson, this time using a stick. Again she walked back and forth showing them the stick and tossing her head to show what fun it was. Again they followed her as she carried the stick, then she allowed each of them to carry it. Each pup would carry the stick for a short distance, then Samba would take it and give it to the next one to carry. When all eight pups had carried the stick for awhile, she walked away and let them play with the stick. That night I once again related the details of the lesson to Rob.

On the weekend Rob and I took Samba and her pups outside to play. This time Rob carried his camera and we weren't disappointed. Samba found her favorite toy, her frisbee and gave another lesson to her puppies. This time we got pictures.
First all the pups had to line up on the hill. Sky was being stubborn, so his mama gave him a talking to and convinced him to get in line with the others.

Next she carried her frisbee back and forth in front of the pups, shaking it and showing what a great toy it was.

Then she ran around the yard carrying the frisbee and with all eight puppies following her.

Finally she allowed the pups to look at and touch the frisbee and each one got a chance to carry it.

Since this is Samba's favorite toy, she didn't leave it with them, but stayed close by to be sure they showed it proper respect.

Today as adults, all the dogs enjoy chewing on sticks,  most of them like and will chase balls. Sky is obsessed with balls and of course Bailey has a special toy that she treasures. But when I take the frisbee off the shelf, they start barking and yipping and jumping around. It's definitely the favorite toy. They learned their lessons well.

But, the lessons didn't end there. The pups are 4 years old now, though they'll always be pups to me. A couple weeks ago we went to the lake with Samba, Morgan and Norma Jean. Samba and Morgan are both strong swimmers and love to compete when retrieving the floating toys. Norma Jean has always loved water and before when she went to the lake she liked playing and splashing in the shallow water. But this time she watched Samba and Morgan swimming out to retrieve the toys and bring them to me.

She started swimming a little farther than she had before, just going out and back, but still she watched the other two. Finally she swam out toward the toy. Samba swam along with her and when Norma Jean grabbed the toy, Samba did too. Side by side they swam back, both of them holding onto the toy. When they got to shore Samba let go and Norma Jean brought it to me. Of course, she got lots of praise and pats.

Samba repeated this, swimming along next to her grown puppy and helping her to carry the toy back. Each time she let Norma Jean bring it to me and get the credit. Then she was done. She watched with me as Norma Jean swam out, grabbed the toy and brought it back by herself. Another life lesson learned.

The following week Norma Jean went to the lake again and remembered exactly what to do. She showed her sister and brother how much fun the water is and how to retrieve a floating toy.
I can teach them to be good citizens, but Samba teaches them to be Portuguese Water Dogs.


Stella said...

Oh Sue, this was so touching I almost cried. What a good Mom Samba continues to be! What a terrific writer you are!

Thanks for another great chapter in the life of the Portie Pups!

Cheers and hugs,
Jo, Stella and Zkhat

Jan said...

That is so precious. It makes me sad to think of all the pups who are separated from their mothers at 6 or 8 weeks and don't get a chance to learn the lessons that only a mother can teach.

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Wow, that must have been so amazing to watch, both then AND now. One of the joys of having a family of pups. Thanks for telling us all about Samba and her pups.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

♥I am Holly♥ said...

That is so precious!!! I love all of the pictures very much!!!!!! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

You can see some amazing things when you just stop and watch. What great lessons for all of us.

XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

Molly the Airedale said...

What a great mom Samba is! We just loved the pictures!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

SissySees said...

I did get misty reading this!!

Likewise, while there's no genetic bond/link, I credit Sis-ma for the stellar little dog Gg has become. Gg learned VERY early how to sit, touch, stand, stay, etc., by mimicking Sis while we trained, but Sis taught Gg how to be a patient, loving, gentle, playful pup.

Marjie said...

Funny how they learned from their mamma. But the best part was the baby pictures! I love puppies - doesn't everyone?

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Oh Sue, I agree with the others, what a sweet, sweet post and is so touching and a beautiful reminder of how important Mom's are--Both 2 and 4 legged ones!!!

I hope you're doing well, and are enjoying your weekend!!

bbes tribe said...

GREAT post about a Wonderful Mama. Loved the pictures that went along with the story about the pups learning from their mom. We are fostering a Mama & 4 babies. She is also a great Mom. So interesting and fun to watch her with them. Agree with Jan about pups who don't get the chance to learn like your pups.
BTW ALL your Porties are beautiful.
ernie,sasha,chica,lucas's mom barb

Lapdog Creations said...

Love reading your tales... you really need to compile them for a book!

Anonymous said...

Those are some incredible moments! Samba is quite the professor! Fascinating :)

Waggin at ya,

parlance said...

That is a beautiful story. I wonder how many dog families stay together long enough for the mother to teach lessons like this. I suspect all too often we humans break up the group to serve our own interests, so we don't get to see these behaviours.

Unknown said...

This was a wonderful post and to really see the bond between parents and pups. Thank you for sharing this, it was a sweet post indeed.

Thank you for stopping by and sending your good wishes to Fred.

Soggibottom said...

Thanks Sue, what a great post. Brought tears to my eye's :-)xxx