I’ve heard back from the CCI Southwest puppy coordinator, who informs me:
1) Smiling is not a very desirable behavior just because it can be
misconstrued by people who don’t know what it is and think the dog is
snarling. But, luckily, most CCI dogs who do it typically do it most when
being greeted by someone they know. I’d just not encourage the behavior,
and unless she’s doing it really often out in public, it shouldn’t be an
issue for her in the long run. We’ve had a number of dogs graduate who do
This is reassuring. Even Tootsie usually reserved her champion smiles for loved ones. If Dionne’s incipient smile does become more practiced, I would expect her to do the same.
Becca also answered another question I’d posed. I’d explained that we always kept a puppy crate in our bedroom, but we recently had our bedroom painted, and when everything was torn about, we had Dionne sleep in the large kennel that’s always in Steve’s office. We had Tucker sleep there too, on his dog bed, to keep Dionne company. And we soon realized, we liked this arrangement! Although we never sleep in very late, it’s a little more relaxing not to hear the two of them rustling around in the morning. We even think Dionne prefers to sleep in the office kennel because it’s roomier.
But I had a memory of hearing somewhere that CCI disapproves of older pups sleeping in separate quarters from their puppy raisers. I assured Becca we would always have tiny pups sleep near us, so we could bond with each other and be available for nocturnal outings. But what about the older dogs? I asked.
“As long as you would be able to hear Dionne in the middle of the night if she were in distress of some sort, it’s fine to have the crate in the other room,” she said.
We still mulling over that one…