Such a good mama! Fern is doing a wonderful job with her pups. She has plenty of milk, keeps them clean and quiet, and has been very sensible about the whole thing. She joins us upstairs for awhile each day, and come up to eat her meals too. Because Fern is inclined to bury any "extra" food, she does not get to eat in the puppy pen as I'd rather not find food buried in the corners. When she eats in her crate in the kitchen, where the dogs covet each other's dinners, she eats everything at once. Because she's a smallish girl with eight large fat puppies, Fern is getting three meals a day plus a bedtime snack of peanut butter toast. The other dogs are jealous of her midday meal, but appreciate a token biscuit at noon and share her toast at bedtime.
There's not much to be done with pups at this age other than keeping the box clean, keeping mama well fed, cutting puppy toenails, and handling them every day. And watching the Puppy Show! Pups are so entertaining to watch, and I can sit there for hours imagining what they will look like as adults. Hopefully a few will be top show prospects, but each litter is an adventure and as long as the pups are healthy and have good dispositions, I consider it a success.
I'll start home testing their hearing in a few days and keep my fingers tightly crossed until then. Deafness is always a possibility in a litter of Dalmatians. Even if the pups all hear, some of them may only hear in one ear - we call those unis. Because Dals with one-eared hearing function just fine, we can deal with that. Fern had several uni littermates, and one of her Grandmas was a uni as well as being a top show dog and fine producer. Although the litter will be BAER tested when they are older, I like to know their hearing status as early as possible. Once I know they hear, they will get real names and no longer be referred to as Black Collar Girl, Green Collar Boy, etc.!
The spotting is starting to show through on the three liver pups, but because they have really thick coats it will be another week until their patterns are very clear. It looks as if all three of them are open marked, but not as lightly spotted as the black boy is. Hopefully the lightly marked pups have large sized spots like Fern has.
Today I need to go through my puppy list and see who is on, and who is off. Nothing gets promised this early though. It's hard for puppy people to wait, but that's just the way it has to be.