October 29th is Ciri’s Birthday – she turns 1 year old – and we’d like to share her characteristics after getting to know her for the last 12 months.
Ciri is a really good balance of playful, happy, and cuddles. She loves to explore outside and be a dog – chomping on sticks, digging up critters, pouncing on our chickens, and chasing Athena around the yard. She quickly warms up to strangers and likes attention in the form of pets. She’ll entertain you with a couple rounds of fetch, and is a charm with loose leash walking. She loves other dogs and lives each day to the fullest with whatever activities that may include. She’s a sweetie pie and is very food motivated like her mama and adds balance to our pack.
Below are summaries of her attitude in different situations. I’ve tried to rate them as standard tamaskan traits (in my opinion), less effort traits (easier than typical tams), and struggle (more difficult than the average tam) areas. These are not necessarily good or bad traits. As you can see, general tamaskan traits require quite a bit of effort to be the well-rounded dogs they have the potential to be. This is part of the reason they are not recommended for first time dog owners, you truly need to change your life around to include them in your family.
(Standard) House Break: When the pups were still just a couple weeks old we introduced them to litter training. I’d say they managed anywhere between a 60-80% success rate of actually using the litter pan, but I do think this made potty training go a lot quicker. Ciri and all her siblings quickly learned that potties stayed outside and we actually didn’t have any accidents with her in the house (lots of trips outside!). I should mention that Ciri is one of those dogs who does like to eat poops – but that behavior has been decreasing with age.
(Standard) Car: Ciri, and all her siblings, did get car sick as little ones with us. Ciri seems to be one of the quicker ones to have transitioned into enjoying car rides, and she stopped getting sick in the car at around 16 weeks. She is happy to pile into the back seat of the truck for a car ride, whether it’s a run into town or a long haul, all day trip.
(Less Effort) Obedience Training: Ciri is quite food motivated, and impresses us with her ability to stay focused on her handler. She impressed us with her puppy classes and distraction training classes and is great at giving you her attention. We even tried an agility class with her, and although she wasn’t as excited to run around doing tricks, she would happily join me around the course and jump, tunnel and weave when I asked her to. She certainly does push boundaries at home though, and has managed to dig out of the fencing many times to chase rabbits and deer in the yard.
(Less Effort) Other People: Ciri is quick to warm up to new people and is polite about it too – no jumping and forced kisses like Athena. She does struggle a bit with children, and can be a bit weary of them, but she can remain focused around them. She does not show the aloofness that can come with Northern breeds.
(Standard) Food: Ciri loves her kibble, treats and anything else you’re willing to throw her way. We do feed meals in her crate, and we do need to watch how much she gets, because she will overeat. She doesn’t have food aggression and she’s pretty sure sticks are a major food group.
(Standard) Separation Anxiety: Ciri shows some separation anxiety, but not to the extreme Athena does – we do not worry for her safety or that she’ll become overly destructive. She is immediately upset, but settles down within a few minutes and patiently waits for her pack to return.
(Less Effort) Walking: Ciri has never been obnoxious on the leash with us. She has naturally walked well at our side and doesn’t pull like a crazy husky. She will join the other dogs with some light recreational sledding in the winter, which will be interesting to see how she enjoys it.
(Standard) Talking: Ciri is a bit of a barker (like her dad) when she is excited – for getting let out of the crate, or trying to antagonize the rabbits we have. She loves to announce with “woo-woos” when she finds a yummy stick or chew toy and it always melts our hearts.
(Standard) Small Prey Animals: Ciri has a very present prey drive. She likes to prowl the fence line and sneak attack the chickens which is always entertaining to watch. She barks at the rabbits whenever she’s bored and has dug up moles in the yard. She’s also caught a bird, which she did NOT want us taking from her, but eventually relinquished so we could bury it.
(Standard) Puppy Destruction: Ciri loves to tear toys up. We watch her with rope toys as she will eat the strings if we don’t take them away after they’re demolished. She loves chomping on her benebones in the house. She’s tried to eat blankets and pillows, so we’re still keeping an eye out for anything she can rip apart.
(Standard) Play Style: Ciri loves to run around with the pack and loves to play wrestle with Athena all day. She is very submissive with play, which is to be expected as she is in a house with two adult dogs. She’ll play a little bit of fetch but otherwise prefers to run and somersault through the yard.
(Less Effort) Shedding: Ciri’s coat and shedding is similar to Athena’s – she certainly has a northern double coat, but even when she’s blowing, it’s never a monstrous amount of fur (comparatively). We’ll have to see what her first grown winter looks like, as it’s still a little early to say for certain.
(Struggle) Escape Artist: We would be remiss to mention our biggest challenge with Ciri – escaping the yard. As an 8 week old puppy we got some hints that she might be a bit mischievous in this area, as she learned to scale the puppy pen four foot barriers and jump to the ground to parade around the house. Around 10 months old she discovered she could dig out under the fence line which would allow her to chase the rabbits and any other critters around. At first she was escaping, or at least trying to, daily so we worked on burying our fence line to at least give us some more time to react. We have since purchased a shock collar – and she quickly learned that digging at the fence line is not allowed. She’s improved quite a bit and has only tried a couple more times when deer are nearby, which is quickly corrected, and she continues to need less and less correction. She understands that digging at the fence is the wrong behavior as she is allowed to dig elsewhere as she pleases.