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.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

5 weeks old

The pups are turned into a fun, social and playful bunch. A bummer that it has been so hot and we haven't been able to go outside very much. They have had a few outings into the backyard. When in the puppy pen, the pups often cluster down at the one end with the vinyl flooring and plaster themselves against the ex-pen closest to the AC vent. They also like sleeping around (or in) the water bowl. On Tuesday, Cedar finally figured out how to get over the low half gate - pups from other litters have made an escape at 3 1/2 to 4 weeks of age. So, I have inserted the higher panel which thoroughly discourages Willow from getting into the puppy pen, although Auntie Tacara still goes in to take care of clean up duty. The pups are doing a very good job at using the litter box. Nancy has started doing some baby puppy training exercises midday. It is always interesting to observe the pups' temperaments when you work with them as individuals in new situations. Laurel outdid her brothers for demonstrating early trainability. Knowing Nancy, she will have these pups sitting for attention in no time. Willow is still nursing the gang, but they are eating an increasing amount of soaked kibble. And they have weights to prove how well they are doing in the eating department. All the pups gained approximately 2 lbs last week! Sequoia is once again the big boy at 8.3 lbs. Buckeye, Birch and Cedar all weighed in at 8 lbs, and Linden and Chester weren't too far behind. Laurel is the semi-petite pup at 7 lbs.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

4 1/2 week old puppy pics

Indoor puppy pen, litter box at far end

The ravenous hoard - getting big!!

Buckeye and toy

Chester and toy

Outdoor puppy pen

Lunch on the lawn

Buckeye just about ready to fall asleep in the food bowl

Thursday, August 5, 2010

4 weeks old

Four weeks old, and they are a bunch of playful, curious puppies - and of course totally adorable. In addition to trips to the front yard when weather allows, the pups are starting to get free time in the house. This litter has had no confidence issues, just confidently explore the new environments. The laminate and tile floors in my house have also posed few challenges for these pups. Multiple pups have started looking over the low half gate into the puppy pen. I expect an escapee by this weekend. Four week weights ranged from 6.1 lbs (Sequoia) to 5.2 lbs (Laurel). Little Blue boy Birch has caught up with the big boys and weighs in at 6 lbs. Cedar who was lagging behind the pack these last couple of weeks has thrived on soaked kibble and was the biggest gainer this week, weighing in at 5.9 lbs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

From Blobs to Beings

Two to four weeks of age is always my favorite time when raising a litter. For the first two weeks, the pups are helpless, blind, deaf blobs. Then around 2 weeks of age, their eyes open and they start emerging. The pups are currently 3 1/2 weeks old and look like little puppies, each with their own distinct face. They can see, hear, walk, climb, run, eat soaked whole kibble, drinking from a water bowl, and nurse from Willow standing up. They also have teeth and are starting to use them. I saw Chester tugging at the pen blanket and then shredding the newspaper underneath. Their pen has been bumped out to full size (2 ex-pens) and I have added lots of toys and the full sized litter box (the cargo liner from a Ford Escort). And the pups are starting to enjoy exploring new places - like the front yard. At this age the pups are still sleeping most of the time, and play sessions are quite short. Other than getting bigger, the percentage of time awake is the the biggest change that will occur during the next 4 weeks. Now if I could just convince Willow to feed her kids in the middle of the night. I continue to have to get up and coax Willow into the puppy pen to nurse. During the day, the most obvious sign that she needs to nurse the pups is when she starts leaving milk puddles on my hard floors. But Willow is hardly ready to turn down 8 cups of food a day that contribute to this abundant milk production. Even with reduced rations, Willow is counting down the days until she gets to go home.