Monday, September 8, 2014
The Numbers Are In!
The numbers are in and the news is good! All eight puppies gave strong hearing responses by Day 15. Too early to detect unis of course, but I'll get that figured out over the next three weeks. BAER testing is scheduled for 10/8/2014. Although I know the hearing status from an early age (pups normally begin to hear sometime between days 12 & 16) it's always confirmed with BAER testing. BAER Testing
The other bit of good news is that there appears to be no blue eyes in the litter. Although blue eyes are acceptable, and many pet owners really like blue eyed Dalmatians, blue eyes tend to go along with deafness as they are genetically linked. That's not to say the blue eyed dogs necessarily have hearing issues, only that the litters that contain blue eyed pups are more likely to have deafs and unis. For that reason, most breeders are extremely pleased when there are no blues in a litter. If I keep one of the girls from the litter to show and breed I want her to have bilateral hearing, so having no blues in the litter increases the odds that the puppy I like best will have bilateral hearing. Fingers still crossed. Unilaterally hearing puppies are fine as companions, and some do well in performance or are shown in the breed ring (if they are particularly good) but of course we all prefer to get bilaterally hearing puppies in our litters. Fern had several blue-eyed and/or uni littermates, so this is extremely good news.
Max got to visit the puppies on Saturday. He's been dying to see them, and like his dad Argus he loves puppies and small dogs. Dal boys tend to be very good with puppies, and it's always interesting to watch the interaction. Fern would not let him in the box, but decided it was OK for him to sniff the pups as long as she could keep an eye on him! Max is sort of a Doggy Uncle to the puppies, and I expect that he will interact with them a lot when they start coming upstairs.
Socialization has begun, and the pups had their first visitors on Sunday and all got extra handling. More company scheduled for today. We're starting off with people that Fern knows well so she won't worry about strangers handling her puppies. Even so we are careful to not put Fern in a difficult position. Company is greeted in the family room, and Fern stays upstairs when company visits the pups. Dogs respond to very basic instincts, and protecting young pups is a strong instinct. Once the pups are older and are coming up to the family room or going outdoors it will be less of an issue, but we'll still be very careful. It's never a good idea to put dogs in situations where they might respond in an unfortunate fashion. However much they are members of our family, they are still dogs and respond to stress like dogs.
Yesterday I completed the Adventure Box, a large "playground" that will be added to the puppy pen when they are a bit older. The more positive experiences the pups have before they go to new homes, the better. This toy will provide both visual and audio experiences and includes items that clink, clang, clunk and jingle. Because so many dogs are sound sensitive and respond badly to things like fireworks, we try to expose our pups to a large variety of sights and sounds before they go to new homes. Early socialization makes an enormous difference in how puppies turn out.