GROWING A CONFIDENT PUP
Runamuck Pups are born in our home and live in the house with us until they go to their new families. New exposures are introduced daily starting from the second day. We break down these social experiences into small approximations, first odor and tactile, then auditory and lastly visual. This allows us to monitor all pups for any signs of concern, giving us the opportunity to change our approach to suit the needs of the individual. We do not follow any particular protocol but use current and relevant research studies to guide our development of criteria for the timing and duration of exposures. We believe in ongoing education into canine health, reproduction and most importantly, behavior.
Our proximity to The Carden Country School, which resides on our property, offers Runamuck pups access to carefully constructed social exposures. Puppies have the opportunity to interact with children when they are ready, first in our home, then at school. By allowing the pups choice, they are never forced to interact, giving them confidence in the situation. They are never overwhelmed by the students who learn how to safely interact with dogs of all ages through the puppy exposure program. Runamuck puppies interact with over 100 people of various ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds in a positive way before leaving our home. Health risks are always a concern when introducing newborns of any species to new people and new environments, but we feel that with proper preparation and risk management, socialization does not need to be compromised for the sake of health and well-being. For example, when the litter goes to our school to visit as tiny babies, they are in their whelping box on wheels, the students don't handle them, they watch from their desks. This gives us the chance to talk about how to handle and work with the puppies and practice the set up long before the students engage the first time. When taking them to construction sites, the puppies will stay in the car and just watch and listen, or play in the back of our truck while big trucks go by. Their needs are always met while intentional socialization experiences are being introduced to lower the likelihood of concern on the part of the individual pup.
Enrichment is a key element to our socialization program. We provide enrichment for the pups to encourage exploration of environments, growing in complexity as the pups skills develop. Enriching the environment gives the pups an alternative to rough play by keeping their minds engaged and challenged. The pups from Runamuck Ranch travel multiple times in vehicles, starting with short trips and building to a couple of hours. We start their vehicle trips at about 2 weeks of age, adding in car wash trips, ferry boat rides, day trips to Seattle, overnights in homes, and field trips to various venues. At 5 weeks of age, they start having small group play times with the litter divided into two changing groups to allow for even further opportunities for character development by varying the social structure. This gives any quieter pup a chance to develop confidence.
We choose our breeding females carefully with a focus on how they respond to the types of stimuli to which our litters will be exposed. We want females that LOVE traveling in the car and quickly nap, that LOVE the sight of other dogs and cats and chickens, and especially children and any visitors to our home. We realize that when the mommy's cortisol levels spike, the puppies will be paying attention to that and remembering. Choosing moms who are comfortable with the exposures that we will be introducing the litters to, gives us the freedom to incorporate them into the exposure. The pups are handled daily, beginning with holding their feet or tails while they nurse, always with the permission of their mom. Because the moms are confident and comfortable, we can introduce sounds such as fireworks while the litter is nursing, creating an early positive association with loud and unexpected sounds.
We look for homes that understand that a dog is a living and breathing member of the family. That they have needs and concerns that need to be met and addressed as they become apparent. Icelandic Sheepdogs are bright and lively and joyful, along with that comes a good deal of inquisitive behavior, which should not be punished but instead directed into positive channels. If you want a fun training buddy, one who will walk across England and back with you, just to be by your side, who wants to sleep in your bed and share the last bit of your toast, a dog who is always one step ahead of you, then this may be your breed.
WhyRunamuck is a training organization that uses positive reinforcement to develop behaviors in animals. The Icelandic Sheepdog puppies that leave the ranch will all have been exposed to early training through shaping. They will know hand targeting, sit, down, stand and crate. Their new homes will be ones who recognize that learning continues throughout the lifetime of the dog and are willing to continue the work of developing behaviors through positive reinforcement.
"We are so grateful to Scotti for entrusting us with Momo. He is so sweet and such a great addition to our family. He is a joy to train and has been since he came to us as a little puppy. All the hard work that Scotti puts into properly raising them was evident since the moment Momo came home. As a puppy, he was easy to house train, eager to learn more and he even loved getting his nails cut! Continuing his socialization was easy due to the solid foundation that Scotti did with the whole litter. I have been lucky to have seen her work her magic with several litters and the wealth of knowledge and level of commitment to her pups is simply incomparable."
Gure Garmendia MBA, KPA CTP
Sound Roots Puppy Coaching LLC
"Scotti was the assistant for my KPA class which was how we first met. From the start I’ve been impressed with her calm, patient demeanor & style. Over time, I’ve followed her as she raised a guide dog puppy & through several animal training & breeding adventures. She is one of the only folks that I personally know who I would consider as a recommendation for a 100% “responsible” breeder. Having worked with rescue dogs I recognize the importance that the role of quality breeder plays as the fallout from poor genetics, training, & socialization can greatly impact the dog’s life. I also consider her force free training skills, experience, & knowledge to be exceptional & believe that anyone would be fortunate to work with Scotti."
Terrie Hayward MEd., CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CSAT, IAABC
Author of "A Deaf Dog Joins The Family"
What I appreciate most about Runamuck Ranch is the abundant opportunity for social and physical skill-building. According to current research on developmental stages, Runamuck puppies are safely and mindfully exposed to new experiences, textures, surfaces, sounds, surroundings (both inside and out), animals, and people from birth to the day they leave for their new homes. They leave confident and whole, ready for the world and life ahead of them. Each puppy is cared for as an individual for optimal development, and unique needs are monitored and addressed. Scotti Harvey is a certified professional dog trainer who updates her skills and education regularly, bringing a bounty of contemporary positive training ideas home from around the globe to Runamuck Ranch and her lucky puppies. The Harvey family provides excellent foundation training in the basics every puppy needs to succeed, employing motivational techniques that encourage enthusiastic learners. If you are lucky enough to get one of these puppies, there is no doubt you will end up with a wonderful companion.
Co-Owner of ProActive K9 LLC & Rivendale Learning Center
"My daughter was a lucky recipient of one of Scotti Harvey's puppies three years ago. She was 12 at the time and had been in 4-H for 4 years. She wanted to step up to participating in AKC events as well. Her goals for the puppy were to participate in conformation, agility and obedience. Scotti's excellent line of Icelandic Sheepdogs boded well for the conformation portion. Scotti's thorough initial "training" of her puppies got him off to a great start. We took him home to a home under construction. He would sleep right next to the air compressor! Through all the varied experiences Scotti provides the puppies, she knows quite well the personalities of each puppy. She picked for my daughter a dog with great conformation potential as well as a can-do attitude. Our Runamuck puppy ended 2015 as the 8th Icelandic Sheepdog in the nation in conformation. He won Best of Breed and Best Opposite in 2 of the 3 shows associated with the national specialty in 2015. He has started titling in agility. He is coming along in obedience as well. We love our special dog so very much. He is a terrific family dog, a wonderful companion, has a sweet temperament and does not bark particularly much."