Wednesday, September 1, 2010

8 weeks old

Eight weeks old, and the pups will be leaving soon. Just like with Willow's previous litter, these pups started out smaller than average, but by 8 weeks, have grown into substantial pups. The boys now weigh 14-15 lbs (Buckeye is the current big boy) and Laurel weighs 13 lbs. Hard to believe some of these pups only weighed 8 oz at birth.

The highlight of the pups' day is chow time - they are true Labradors. It is turning into a feeding frenzy trying to individually feed each pup in a crate. It is a mad dash for the open crate doors, and then if allowed, they check out each each other's empty bowls, just to make sure there are no left overs. Many of the pups have figured out that the dog food is stored in the pantry, and sniff and scratch longingly at the door. The other morning, Linden found some stored unopened bags of food and proceeded to chew a hole big enough to get his entire head into. By the time I caught him in the act, he had turned into a stuffed tick. Amazing that none of his littermates joined in. When I put Linden back in the puppy pen, he just rolled over and went to sleep. He was still full at lunch and dinner, and didn't get another meal until bedtime. The dog food bags are now all up on chairs. Starting today, the pups have gone from 4 meals a day down to 3 meals a day.

In addition to playtime in the house and yard, and entertaining visitors, I have started taking the pups out individually on leash in the morning while it is still cool. They are still cautious and only venture around the immediate neighbor's front yards, but have been exposed to passing cars and school buses, and happily greeted neighbors as they walk by. And inside the house, I have been trying to come up with new things for them to experience. Even something as simple as a hair dryer is a big experience for a baby pup.

And the pups have had the necessary veterinary care, including vaccinations, wormings and microchipping. Fortunately, this litter has been free of any major health problems.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pups on the porch

Pic of my back porch this morning.

Laurel with Cedar's head on her rump



Laurel, Cedar & Chester


Buckeye & Linden


7 weeks old

The pups turned 7 weeks old, hard to believe. They gained a more moderate 1 lb last week, now that Willow has left, and weigh 10-12 lbs. Considering how well these pups grew, Nancy and I have decided that Willow must produce very rich milk. The pups are currently eating 2 cups of kibble per day (4 meals). Wed night they went through a standardized temperament test assessing social interactions, reactivity to noise and scary things, touch sensitivity, etc. Most of the pups showed traits that are desirable in assistance dogs, and no surprises responses from anyone. This has been an incredibly easy and uniform litter, especially considering the wide range of weights, and large number of small pups at birth. There was no runt who lagged behind, no health problems (not even the very common bout of puppy diarrhea when solid food is introduced). Willow had no complications and plenty of milk for everyone. In addition to regular wormings, the pups have received an intranasal Bordetella vaccination and were microchipped. In addition to lots of play time and entertaining visitors, I have been handling of feet, tails, mouths, rolling the pups over on their backs, and starting to work on bite inhibition. They come running to "puppy, puppy, puppy" which they associate with mealtime, and love running in the crates to eat. And the pups have learned to sit nicely for attention.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Puppy fun

The pups have been having lots of outdoor fun. Walks around the backyard, playing in the pool, and hosting visitors. For mealtime, we have been feeding the pups individually to decrease competition with food and to be sure each pup gets its fair share. With Willow leaving, I have added a fourth meal of kibble. We have begun crate training by seometimes feeding the pups in the crates. This makes an early positive impression withe crate. I push the food towards the back and encourage the pup to walk in on their own. We have been working on basic manners, sitting for attention or to be lifted out of the ex-pen, bite inhibition, acceptance of handling. For handling, I have been gently rolling the pups over on the their backs and cradling, or handling feet, ears, tail and mouth.

Birch. Water bowl shows evidence of puppies trying to go swimming

Sweet little Laurel - not a very soft place to rest

Sequoia all tired out

More pool fun

Buckeye and Cedar

All tuckered out after entertaining visitors

Thursday, August 19, 2010

6 weeks old

The milk bar officially closed this afternoon at 2 pm. Willow happily went home to her breeder caretaker family, who were equally thrilled to have her back. The pups are still growing at an impressive rate, most gained around 2 1/2 lbs last week, eating 8-9 cups of kibble per day. Sequoia is still the big boy at 10.8 lbs, with Birch close behind. Laurel is the smallest pup, at a very respectable 9.2 lbs, the size of many female retriever pups at 8 weeks. With a few days of cooler weather, the pups got lots of outdoor play time. They have still yet to venture throughout the entire backyard. While in the house, they have been listening to sound effect tapes - guns, babies crying, nature sounds, etc. At least they are finally sleeping through the night!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More 5 1/2 week old puppy pics

Trying out for agility

Sequoia and my dog Yuma

Practicing Up (actually trying to get to Willow on the porch)

Buckeye asleep on the piano

Puppy pool party

The pups have been doing lots of playing in their water bowls, so figured it was time to get out the puppy pool. Sequoia was almostly instantly in the water. Some of the other pups weren't so sure. Many of the pups kept getting stuck climbing over the edge.