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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! Been a hot minute. Between school and other life stuff, I haven't had a lot of time or mental energy to post here as regularly as I used to, but I still check in. Thought you would all enjoy this announcement.

Introducing Villeokus's Filippo di Yamaha, known around here as Frodo:

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Some of you might remember that I've been mooning over Lagotto Romagnolo for a long time now... well, this is it!

We got really lucky with this pup. He's a very nice boy - the breeder wasn't keeping a male, and we were the only family interested in doing a little showing. We didn't even know we'd get a puppy at all for a while, because she had more interested families than she had pups! Besides dabbling in the show ring, we do have plans to try out agility and nosework (good grief can you tell this breed was bred for their nose, he's so much more nose-focused than Samwise already). My wife is also keen on trying SAR with him. She's already a Red Cross volunteer, so it might depend on how much she can juggle, but it'll be a blast to try out!

He only just came home yesterday, eight weeks on the dot, and he's already a hellion. Going to be an absolute blast, I just have to survive the next few weeks of running around after him and getting over the usual puppy hurdles. And a lot of independent socialization. Going to do everything I can to avoid raising another reactive dog, which means both learning from the mistakes I made with Sam and doing more appropriate socialization this time, AND making sure Frodo doesn't pick up his big brother's bad habits. Fun.

Sam is still not sure what to make of him. He's getting puppy-free walks first thing in the morning now, but he's definitely confused and easily overstimulated right now. We're supervising them well, though, and curbing any rude behavior. Frodo has a pen to let us give them regular breaks from each other (and so we can take breaks to, y'know, make food or shower). But things are already calming down, and I really do think they'll get along great once they're both more settled!

And because you can never have too many puppy pictures...

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(He's genuinely asleep here)

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Parus - he really does! I swear Sam wasn't half as confident about exploring and climbing on/off things when we got him, and he was a good month older. Of course that does mean we're running interception on attempted leaps off the couch, bed, garden wall... I swear he's going to figure out how to open his pen before we know it.

Patricia - thank you! We're over the moon, really. Even with puppy teeth and tantrums.
 

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Puppy!

If you go to Denise Fenzi's website and search her blog for "socialization", you will get several posts. Amy Cook also did an excellent post about it on her blog at Play Way Dogs. I'd post the links, but my tablet is being cranky.
 

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Thank you all! @LeoRose, I actually have the Fenzi puppy PDF downloaded! Thankfully I'm a LOT more informed about what makes 'good' socialization these days. We'll be doing a lot of passive socialization around town, and will be quite selective about dog-dog interactions rather than just leaving it up to chance. He's signed up for a puppy class too with a local trainer who's rewards-focused and seems to have a good foundation in modern methods - hope we like her.

This puppy. Man. We had no accidents yesterday, and he's already figured out potty outside = treat to the point where he's very deliberately asking to go out sometimes just to potty! And the breeder didn't, as far as I'm aware, do any special potty training prep. Ofc I don't consider him housebroken (or even reliable) and he's also getting lots of trips out even when he doesn't request them, but it's great progress! He's learning how to settle in his crate and pen, too. Which is good, because he absolutely needs enforced naptime or he refuses to settle and winds up cranky and extra bitey. I think that'll improve as he settles in and not every single thing is exciting and new, though.

Sam is still Not Sure About This, but he's honestly doing quite well. We're carving out one-on-one time with him every day, for puppy-free walks, hikes and the like. That's helping, and I can't say I mind having the puppy break occasionally myself.
 

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Which is good, because he absolutely needs enforced naptime or he refuses to settle and winds up cranky and extra bitey. I think that'll improve as he settles in and not every single thing is exciting and new, though.
Haha, that was my Jet, too. At 9 months he's FINALLY starting to settle of his own accord as opposed to turning into a shark when he's overtired. Hopefully your pup is less of a spaz.
 

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Congratulations! Lagotto puppies are very hard to come by I understand,but Frodo sounds well worth it. Thank you for being so generous with the pictures and I look forward to the updates and learning more about what you have learned (and will apply) about puppy socialization.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@parus It's hard not to laugh when he's flopped over, complaining about how unfair it is he has to NAP, while he's barely able to keep his head up! But yeah, we're all happier with a well-rested puppy. Sam especially, poor guy. At least this puppy isn't mastiff-sized like the last one he had to deal with (my MiL's Leonberger). They're figuring each other out, though!

@laurelsmom not quite so hard over on this side of the pond, being so close to their country of origin and all, but they're not a common breed anywhere. A lot of luck was involved in finding this breeder and having everything fall into place for us, but I've also been interested in the breed for... something like a decade? So it wasn't a quick process, either! Availability is definitely one of the reasons we didn't wind up with a Lagotto as our first dog.

As for the socialization... when Sam was a puppy, up well through his teen years, I had the misconception that socialization meant literally interacting with as many people and dogs as possible, no matter what. This lead to a lot of on-lead, high-tension, nose-to-nose greetings of other dogs. Thankfully Sam isn't too prone to fear or anxiety or it could've been much worse, but he IS a naturally high-strung/excitable dog (not unusual for a poodle). So we created the perfect recipe for a frustrated greeter with leash reactivity and pretty rude, over the top dog manners, especially on lead. It's only been in the past year or so that we've been really successful at finding techniques to manage the behavior and help him get past the frustration and fixation he gets on other dogs on walks.

So this time we're doing... not that. We're going various places around town and hanging out away from heavily trafficked areas, handing out lots of rewards for calm and curious behavior and backing off/going home if he seems overtired, overwhelmed, or scared. And running interception on any dogs owners allow to charge up as much as humanly possible. Essentially, letting the puppy take things in at a distance and focusing on being chill in a variety of environments - and that handlers are consistently highly rewarding to pay attention to - than teaching him that all dogs and people exist for him to interact with. Or worse, will interact with him whether he likes it or not. Also just. Exposure to the ocean, the woods, various surfaces, etc. I'm also playing puppy desensitization noise compilations during the day at a low volume (thank you YouTube).

More photos!

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Discussion Starter #13
Update! He's nearly eleven weeks now, and growing MUCH too fast. He sleeps decently well at night in the crate, and potty training is going well (okay, better on nice days than on gross rainy ones), and he's just. Fun to have around. We've got a ways to go, but we'll get there. He starts puppy class in earnest next week - so far we've only done the initial meeting about theory. Biggest hurdles right now are training to settle in the xpen when we have to leave or are doing interesting things, and actually convincing him to get enough sleep during the day. Grooming/handling training is ongoing, of course, but I'm not rushing that if I can avoid it.

He's been out and about a fair bit now. Visited my in-laws for a weekend - finding out giant dogs exist was a bit of a shock, but he recovered - and we've spent some time in the woods and at the beach. So far really happy with how he acts around other people and dogs, and he gets lots of treats and praise for watching calmly.

Did I mention he's getting big?

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What a dapper young man! Sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun with him. Thanks for the update!
 

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Thanks! He and Sam play together and even sleep together on occasion now, and things are going well. There's some minor resource guarding from Sam we're dealing with, but honestly it's mostly appropriate, and Frodo's learned to mostly respect his signals to back off. The only complaint I have transitioning to two dogs is that they sometimes absolutely work each other up. Especially in the evenings where Frodo's overtired and having those puppy zoomies with shark face.

Frodo's SO good in the car. Which is a relief after seven years with Sam - who almost never gets carsick anymore, but has never really learned to settle and still whines a lot. He has a really good head on his shoulders... for a puppy.

So far I've been asked if he's a mini poodle and Portugese water dog - the latter after I tried to explain the breed. Oh well. We know he's a really nice example of his breed, and one of our breeder's girls from a previous litter got an Excellent and took Best in Breed and Best in Group this weekend, so I'm inclined to trust her judgement, haha.
 

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We took Frodo to a Viking Market yesterday, and he did super well! Charmed lots of people, saw lots of strange things and unusual clothing and even other dogs without a fuss. Slept all the way home, too. I'm so proud of the little man. I'd love to have at least one dog we can take out to events like this, or even just to a cafe downtown - Sam's reactivity is improving, but he may just never be calm or comfortable in those kinds of scenarios. Of course I expect Frodo to get less social as he gets older, but we have high hopes based on what we see now!
 

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Gosh, how is he five months already? He's wild and teething, poised to outgrow Sam any day now in height and weight. He's still a lot to keep up with, and I'm quite grateful that our old man still enjoys a good wrestle session to give us a break now and then, haha. but he's so sweet and clever. He loves the car and has gotten quite used to just hanging out with us downtown, which is amazing. He's absolutely an alert barker at home (which we don't mind, honestly), but he hasn't picked up Sam's reactivity at all as far as we can tell.

We got through his puppy classes with flying colors (except he's a bit weird about harnesses... working on it) and our focus is now on training cooperative care. Still early days, but it's going smoothly so far. He did his first blood trail last weekend, too! We don't know if we're going to train him as a blood tracker, but it's fun to see him work. We're probably going to try out a few nosework/tracking sports to see what suits him and us best.

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