Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sleeping puppy pics

Sequoia sleeping

Chester & Sequoia sleeping

Laurel sleeping in a pile of toys

Linden asleep on the piano

Outdoor adventures

Yesterday, the pups had their first adventure outside. Cautious, but not overwhelmed by the experience. They had dinner on the lawn, and have gone out a couple of times today. At this age, they stay close together, do a little exploring, and then fall asleep.
Chester the explorer
Pups at play
Sequoia & Laurel mouth wrestling

Buckyeye, all tuckered out

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 weeks old

Three weeks old and doing great. The pups are getting increasingly more agile on their feet and are starting to react a bit to loud sounds. Ear canals are starting to open. They have transitioned from canned food to soaked kibble mash. Willow is in peak lactation and this will be the last week of the 8 to 9 cups of kibble per day - poor darling.

All the pups gained at least 1 lb this last week. The new big boy is Buckeye (Purple), Mr Chow Hound. He weighs 4.4 lbs. Birch (Blue) had the largest weekly gain and was almost the same size as the former big boy Sequoia (4 1/4 lbs), not too shabby for being one of the smallest pups at birth. Cedar (Yellow), Linden (Green), and Laurel (Pink) are the three smallest pups at 3.9 lbs, but still a very respectable weight for 3 week old retriever pups. Considering the wide range of birth weights, this litter has done amazingly well for becoming a uniformly sized bunch without any stragglers.

Puppy chow time

Puppy pinwheel

Second meal of soaked kibble mash, starting to be more interested in the new food bar

Laurel, post meal siesta, never even left the table

Same goes for Linden

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More changes

Almost 3 weeks old, eyes are wide open, but still only limited hearing. Ear canals should be open by this weekend. They are becoming accomplished walkers, and waddle over for attention if you step into the puppy pen. Willow is already trying to ditch this litter. Willow needs considerable encouragement to go into the pen to nurse the pups.

The puppy pen now has a small litter box (a plastic appliance pan) lined with a thick layer of flat newspapers. The pups were champs at using the potty pads, and are quickly adapting to the litter box. Chester was the first potty pad champ, I saw him go over twice to urinate that very first evening. Just this evening, I saw Sequoia march over to the new box to take a bio break. It is amazingly easy to litter box train baby puppies if you take advantage of their early instinct to toilet away from the "den" (would get rather messy in a true den otherwise). As soon as the pups start walking, you will see them wake up and make a deliberate effort to move away to toilet. When in the plastic puppy pool, I have seen a few pups frantically circle around the pool, looking for a place to toilet. A clear signal it is time to upgrade to the puppy pen.

Last night was the first night the pups spent out in the puppy pen, instead in the bedroom pen. The bedroom pen was getting too small, and the pups too noisy. This is a vocal litter. They are doing enjoying the extra space in the bigger pen and are quite interactive with their toys. The other adult dogs periodically go in to visit, especially my German shepherd Tacara.

Willow is now up to 9 cups of food per day. Her milk supply was tapped out this weekend, and I was a bit worried about the pups getting dehydrated, especially since they were eating some canned food. All their fluids come from what they eat and baby puppy kidneys are still underdeveloped. So I increased Willow's chow from 8 c to 9 c, much to her delight, and her milk supply noticeably improved. She is now quite the milk cow. These pups are very well fed, they look like little butterballs. In fact, they are so well fed that they are the first litter to be only minimally interested in their first offering of mashed soaked puppy kibble. This evening, I dished out their first kibble meal, and only a few pups nibbled at the puppy mush. Pups from other litters have dived in and thoroughly enjoy the new bounty. The pups are currently getting approximately 1 tablespoon of canned food 3x daily, and they are eagerly accepting that food.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coming alive

The pups have really come alive today. I have removed the crib bumpers, so they have more visual stimulation. I added a few small stuffed toys to the puppy pen this morning, and the pups are already interacting with the toys and each other. What a difference a day makes. Lots of fun.

Unidentified pup and stuffed lamb

Sequoia and teddy bear

Chestnut and ball

Sequoia falling asleep on ball

Sequoia and stuffed carrot

Changing by the day

Willow and 2 1/2 week old pups. They are getting big!

This morning I bumped out the puppy pen to include a small area with potty pads to transition the pups to a litter box. The pups are still too uncoordinated to negotiate the edge of a litter box and will slip on the paper. But they are getting better at walking every day. Cedar was the first pup to use the new facilities.

The pups have consumed their first can of Iams puppy food and are half way through their second can. The pups' caloric needs are finally started to exceed what Willow can produce in milk, so perfect time to be transitioning to solids. Together, the pups weigh almost 25 lbs already and are growing fast - that takes lots of calories. Mid week, when the pups are 3 weeks old, I will introduce soaked puppy kibble. I like to start them out on canned food and use that to teach them how to prehend food and chew/swallow and not just suck.

This litter is growing up fast. Before we know it, they will be romping out in the yard. Willow is ready to resign from puppy duty as soon as possible. Her family came out to visit yesterday, and they look forward to getting her back.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2 1/2 week old puppy pics

Pups sleeping in a circle

Cedar walking

Cedar scrunched in the corner of the puppy pen

Not sure who this is, possibly Laurel. Eyes not quite fully open, but trying to walk.

Linden and Birch snuggling

Names & Faces

This litter has been christened the "Tree Litter" in honor of mama Willow. These names will likely just be temporary names, but more fun than just calling them by collar color. Note the pups have received their first real collars.

Cedar (yellow) the last surviving pup who require considerable resuscitation after being whelped. Probably the most passive pup of the litter and currently the smallest. But having less bulk, he is one of the best walkers. He is getting private nursing sessions and is thriving.

Linden (green) started out as one of the small 8 oz pups, but with private nursing sessions, has easily caught up with the pack.

Laurel (pink) the only girl. During BioSensor exercises, she was the feistiest of the pups.

Sequoia (red) big tree name for the big boy. This pic is of him just waking up. Like many big pups, he is a mellow boy.

Chestnut "Chester" (black) shar pei face. He is one of the darker pups. Midday, Nancy claims he is the most vocal pup.

Birch (blue), the other small 8 oz pup who has proven to be very vigorous. He is convinced he is starving, and keeps trying to nurse on his brothers. The lightest pup, a beautiful cream with dark black pigment. Showing some early "personality" and one of the better walkers. During the times when I am home (especially at bedtime), he is usually the most vocal pup. Check out those open eyes.

Buckeye "Buck" (purple), the other shar pei face, and the darkest of the pups. Buck started out with the second lowest birth weight, but quicky proved to be the most eager nurser. Each week, he has gained an amazing amount of weight and currently ties Sequoia for being the biggest pup. As is often the case with the pups who are eager nursers, he is not so sure he is ready to switch over to canned food yet. Buck was the first pup to open his eyes.

2 weeks old

Pups snoozing in the puppy pen

Four little cuties

My apologies for not blogging this last week - work (my real job) has been a bit hectic. At least this litter has been exceptionally easy, and I am always thankful for Nancy's willingness to help out mid day.

A bit belated, but at 2 weeks of age, the pups weighed 2.6 lbs (Blue & Yellow) to 3 lbs (Red, Purple, & Black). The 1 week weight gain for most pups was over 1 lb per pup - good job Willow. The pups are a bit late opening their eyes. Many pups have eyes partially open, but usually be 2 weeks, we have wide open eyes. They are such a big, placid bunch that not too much walking going on.

At 2 weeks of age, the pups received their second nail trim, first worming, and their first taste of canned food (Iams). This litter is so well fed by Willow, they were not as interested in the canned food. BioSensor neurologic stimulation exercises will end in a couple of days. Good thing since these pups are getting to be a handful to manipulate. For the cold washcloth stimulation, most of the pups are able to scoot off on their own now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New living quarters

10 day old pupsters. They have just about outgrown this plastic tote

The feeding frenzy - looks like a rugby scrum

Overhead view

Willow is being such a relaxed mom, not caring if the other dogs are around her pups, so I decided to set up another puppy pen in the living room for day use. That way, Willow can have access to the doggie door, which is helpful considering how much she is eating. I will move the pups into the bedroom pen at night for another week or so.
The pups continue to thrive. Some pups have eyes half open, and a few have tried to get up on their feet. For the first 1-2 weeks, the pups drag their hind legs behind like seals, but as they mature, they start getting their hind legs under their bodies and begin pushing off. At this stage, I make sure to have bedding in the pen/pool that provides good traction. Old blankets work well. The other developmental milestone is that the pups are beginning to toilet on their own. Prior to this, Willow needed to stimulate them by licking (avoid dog kisses from nursing mother dogs!). Auntie Tacara (my German shepherd dog) has started to assist with clean up duties.

Although not the most attentative of mother dogs, Willow excels in milk production. These pups typically look like stuffed ticks, and sometimes don't even react if Willow steps into the pen. At other times, they come alive like little frenzied beings. The other way you can tell how well fed these pups are is that their puppy poop is often very pale, almost like cottage cheese. Their little systems are so overloaded that the milk is coming out the other end barely digested. These pups shouldn't need any supplimental bottle feeding.
Willow is convinced she is starving, even at 6 cups per day of kibble. Yesterday evening, I caught Willow in my garden chowing down on Swiss chard, not nibbling, chowing!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1 Week Old

One week old already. It seems like eons ago that we had the middle of the night whelping. All the pups are doing very well, and Willow is a relaxed mama. Willow is already comfortable letting the other dogs interact with the pups. Willow is delighted that the size of her meals is increasing. After some post-whelp gastrointestinal upsets, Willow is now eating very well and currently getting 6 cups of high calorie performance kibble per day, plus some suppliments like hard boiled egg, chicken, fish oil and vitamin D/calcium.

Pup - Birthweight - 1 week weight
Purple - 10 oz - 1 lb 12 oz
Blue - 8 oz -1 lb 7 oz
Black - 14 oz - 1 lb 14 oz
Red - 16 oz - 1 lb 15 oz
Pink - 12 oz - 1 lb 10 oz
Green - 8 oz - 1 lb 7 oz
Yellow - 12 oz - 1 lb 10 oz

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lots of changes

This litter is proving to be a precocious and vigorous bunch. All the pups except for Big Red had doubled their birthweights by 5 days of age - Willow produces some rich milk. The pups have already outgrown their newborn hairband collars. They are actively commando crawling around the pen and their eyelids are starting to separate. We may have some eyes open by this weekend. For BioSensor exercises, they have been a passive group which is usually a good thing for assistance dog prospects. After raising some larger litters, doing BioSensor exercises with just 7 pups seems like a breeze.

Blue boy showing off his new pigment. Golden retriever and yellow Lab pups are born with pink pads and noses, but they quickly develop pigment during their first week. Compare to the earlier pics, especially the close up of the puppy faces.

The pups have also outgrown their small wading pool and I have found that the big puppy pool is too hot and stuffy this time of year, so the pups have moved into an ex-pen with a crib bumper (amazing what nice puppy stuff you can find at the Goodwill Store). They are still camping out in my bedroom to provide Willow with a more secluded place and allow me to keep tabs on everyone at night. The pups have also outgrown their laundry basket holding box, and have graduated to a larger plastic tote to hang out in during pen bedding changes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Puppy pics

Basket full of 4-day old pups

Black boy sleeping on Blue boy. Note the contrasting coat colors. Black is one of the darkest pups, and Blue one of the lightest.

Yellow boy sleeping all by himself next to Willow

Black boy sleeping

Purple boy getting a bath

4 days old

The pups are doing very well, all weigh over 1 lb which means that the little pups have already doubled their birth weight! They are all vigorous pups, gaining approximately an equal amount of weight. Weight gain is one of the best indicators of pup health at this young age. All the pups are actively scooching around the puppy pool and sometimes climbing up and over Willow. Willow is being more careful around the pups this time around, but is not taking her maternal duties very seriously. Willow would much prefer to hang out in the main part of the house than be stuck in the puppy pool with her newborn pups. Hopefully she is not going to be one of those dams who tries to ditch her litter at 2 weeks of age.

For the first 2 weeks, the pups have limited senses since their eyes and ear canals are closed. Yesterday, I started BioSensor early neurological stimulation exercises which will continue daily until the pups are 16 days old. More info can be found at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Meet the Gang

Puppy pics from when they were 2 days old.

Yellow boy, the resuscitated pup

Pink girl, the only girl

Green boy, one of the small pups

Red boy, the largest pup

Black boy, the second largest pup

Blue boy, one of the small pups

Purple boy, the darkest pup