Willow (Windridge Wild Mountain Time) is seven and a half months old now. Here is a photo of her stacked after grooming/forced-air blow drying. I will break down what I like about her (and what I’d improve, so far) in both mind and body.
Things I like a lot about her include the following: She has a beautiful rear that is strong and nicely angulated. She has a gorgeous neck and a decent shoulder, though a slightly short/straight upper arm. She has great bone; light, but pretty. She has great, beautiful tight feet and nice strong, useful pasterns. She has a lovely soft, gorgeous, fast-drying, practical-yet-pretty coat in my favorite color. She has a very gorgeous head, with beautiful type (without being at all over done), stop, muzzle, underjaw, and beautiful ears/ear set and amazing pigment. She is short-coupled, with a nice topline, correct croup, and a beautiful athletic loin and depth of chest. Her tail is well set, carried correctly, and is the right length. She builds and holds muscle tone easily, and she is an easy keeper who stays a nice weight with little effort on my part.
Things I’d improve are that she toes out a bit in the front, which is functional, but not great looking. It should/will improve with maturity. She also doesn’t have the best upper arm, but once again, it’s functional. It may also improve slightly. The row of small teeth on the front of her lower jaw are dropped, giving her otherwise correct bite an under-shot appearance. I certainly hope it corrects, but even if it stays the same, she’s perfectly functional with an otherwise lovely mouth.
She is tiny, however that is either a pro or a con depending on one’s perspective. I personally love it! I won’t be surprised if she’s just barely in the height standard as a mature adult, and is a good ten pounds under the suggested weight range. This is fine with me.
As for temperament, I can hardly fault her. She’s everything I want, and more. Sensitive yet stable, perceptive yet confident, friendly yet handler focused, curious and resilient, steady and reliable, obedient, biddable, fast-learning, driven yet calm, fun yet cuddly, and absolutely darling. She’s very bonded to me, and while she will politely greet others, she’s instantly ready to return focus to me, and just as happy to snooze when someone is over as anything else. She’s doing brilliantly at everything I’m attempting with her.
So far, she has mastered the following commands:
Sit, down, stand, stay (in any of these, and also posed in various ways), paw touch, wave, formal recall, informal/off-leash recall, take/hold/give from and to my hand, loose leash walking, kennel up, go lie down, and leave it.
She is close to mastering/working very well on learning the following commands:
Take from the floor/formal retrieve, drop on recall, nose touch and target, paw target something other than my hand, finish to heel position, and baby competition heelwork.
She is also absolutely rocking her public access training, and some beginning task work, including the alert behavior I want, deep pressure therapy, the retrieving work, and interrupting my anxious behaviors, among other things.
As far as being a house dog, she’s letter perfect. She is completely housebroken, including through the night and sleeping in late with me. She snuggles in bed all night, lazy and cuddly, not even rising when I get up to shower. She can be trusted alone in my apartment, and will not touch any of my belongings on my night stand or dresser, will not counter surf or get in the garbage, and has never made any attempt to chew up anything that isn’t hers. I have never heard her bark except in excited play time to time, and only outdoors in a hiking or play session type setting. She’s excellent for grooming and blow drying and nail trims, and she’s perfection in the car. She sits in the passenger seat calmly, and does not attempt to climb on me or walk about the vehicle. She has never been car sick or had any issues at all with travel. She is totally crate trained, and never whines or minds her crate. She is not remotely dog reactive, and can walk with a foot of a barking lunging dog and won’t even tense up or even really look at them, and certainly does not vocalize or put any tension on the leash. She has exhibited no fear of noises or objects around the home, or of storms or fire works.
As far as can be observed at this age, Willow has no sensitivities to any type of food or treat or scraps, has no known allergies of any kind, and shows no signs of any type of health issue of any kind. Her first health testing will be Embark DNA screening, which will be sent off this week.
Thus far, I am thrilled with this puppy, and hopeful she will, indeed, be what I truly needed.