Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Big Weekend For The Pups

Pups are changing so quickly now, really becoming little dogs.  They are out of their pen right now, exploring the front side of the basement on their own.  There's nothing they can get in to there, and I want them to be comfortable exploring without me always present.  We did the backroom of the basement earlier, but I supervised that as I like to watch how they react to totally new environments.  It gives me a clue as to which pups are more cautious and will need a bit more work.  

They had their first raw meaty bones today too.  Chicken drummies.  They removed all the meat and I collected the bones.  In a few more days they will start working on the bones too.  They'll try chicken necks and chunks of chicken backs.  They primarily eat ground meat, goats milk, egg, kefir, and I'll start adding baby food veggies to the mix, but they will soon be getting one meal a day of raw meaty bones.  In another week I'll give them an occasional meal of softened Pro Plan Selects Turkey & Barley, a quality kibble that I recommend to kibble feeders.  The pups will be able to eat either raw or kibble.

More company this weekend, a trip to the family room, and an introduction to the portable pen that I'll have for them upstairs.  New toys, new food, new places to explore.  It's a busy time for the puppies.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Puppies Are Bored

Another Puppy Party last night, and the pups had such a good time.  Now they are bored - no longer satisfied to amuse themselves in their basement pen. Sorry guys, I can't take you out to play in the morning or I would NEVER get to work!  You'll have to wait until this evening.

When I go down to clean their pen, they try to climb up my ankles and beg to be picked up.  Who could resist?  I pick each one up, call it by name and hold it up to my face for a kiss.  They are all into kissing now.  Today they will get three meals in addition to whatever Holly has for them.  She'd rather not be bothered, but will continue to spent the night in the basement, hopefully giving them a midnight snack another week at least.

Holly is extremely bored with the pups and would rather be upstairs, preferably sitting on the sofa with Ron, or unfortunately getting into mischief.  She really wants more exercise, but her exercise is limited to leash walks for now and we have to keep them relatively short so she does not get frostbitten nipples!  Her real owner Jana is coming to visit over New Years, but it will probably be too soon to send Holly home.  I don't want to ship a bitch who is still nursing, if she is, and the Holidays are not a good time for dogs to travel.  So she'll probably have to put up with us for a bit longer.

This weekend the pups will come up to visit the family room for the first time which is always an interesting time.  I'll have lots of paper towels and spray cleaner available!  The adults will be crated at first so no one gets stepped on.  When they are tired, I'll put the pups in their new pen which will be set up in the family room, and let the adults out for a visit.  Only Argus has been allowed down to see the pups, and Josie who loves all puppies is so eager.  It will be interesting to see what Fernly thinks.  Watson used to love pups, but thinks that senior dogs should be exempt from dealing with them.  He'll hop up on the chair and watch from there.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Weaning Has Begun

Wish I had been able to convince all of the pups to sit in this grouping for a photo shoot, but three of them were still out playing with a variety of new toys and boxes.  They had such fun last night with all the new "stuff"!  Need to go shopping at a kids store to pick up some other interesting items for them.  A mobile is at the top of my list.  They need a "cat tunnel" too.   Pictured are Sanka, Britt (who is always mugging for pictures), Folgers (in the center) and Vittoria.  I would have gotten a picture of everyone, but the batteries ran out in my good camera, so I just used the cell phone to get this shot.  Am so pleased with how "pretty" this litter is for faces and spotting.  Lots of chrome!

Weaning has begun, and the pups are eating goats milk (wow, is it expensive right now!), egg yolk, kefir, and freshly ground dark turkey from Whole Foods, my regular weaning formula.  They'll eat that several times a day for a few days, then other foods will be added - various kinds of meat, pureed vegetables, yogurt, whole eggs, and eventually they will get a few meals of well soaked kibble as well since some of the pups will be going to raw feeding homes and others to kibble fed homes.  Next week I'll introduce raw meaty bones, starting with chicken necks and wings.  The necks will probably be swallowed whole, but the wings will take some chewing.

They were wormed yesterday for the first time.  My own pups normally do not have worms of any kind, but because Holly is leased from someone else and I'm not sure about her status, it was time to do this for the first time.  I'll worm them again in two weeks, and take in a stool sample too in case they have anything other than roundworms or hookworms.  They look so healthy and robust, I doubt they have any parasites, but it's best to be sure.  I never medicate my dogs needlessly, but this worm medicine is very easy on pups.

Company again tonight - the pups will be delighted!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holly's Special Puppy

Holly is spending more and more time upstairs now, and whenever she comes up she seeks out the squeaky green fish toy to mother.  She particularly likes having it with her on the sofa when she is sitting with Ron. I've retrieved it from the whelping box on a number of occasions as she takes it in with her puppies, then tries to keep them away from it as if it were a "special needs puppy".  I guess being green, rubber and squeaky could make it special needs!  Her second choice is the rubber chicken and she will occasionally take both into a crate for special cleanup.  Josie and Fernly sit and watch her, wondering why she is cleaning their toys.  She'll growl if they attempt to steal her odd looking "babies".  Holly is resting in a crate now, with her chin on the green fish.

The new pen arrived yesterday, a 60 inch plastic pen that I can set up in the family room so the pups can be upstairs but safe from being trampled by the adult dogs.  It will be a good way to get them used to the presence of adult dogs as well as typical household noises (although my household is not exactly typical).  They'll start coming upstairs to explore this weekend (with the adults all crated) and then spend some time in the pen with the adults free to check them out.  Only Argus has been allowed down to visit the pups so far.

Appointments made for BAER testing, a thorough Vet check and first shots after they turn 6 weeks of age.  They'll get lots of practice car riding that week, and I hope the weather and roads are good!  Pups all hear, but we need to verify whether or not any have unilateral hearing (hearing in one ear) as it may affect how they are placed.

Both show and pet folks continue to ask if I've decided whether there will be a puppy for them, but it's far too early for that.  I hate to keep people waiting, but being pressured about puppies takes some of the fun out of it for me.  I understand why people want to KNOW, yet I put all this time, work, and money into doing a litter of pups hoping to get a puppy for ME.  Until I have done a thorough job of evaluating pups for structure and personality, and have decided who I am keeping, I can't make any decisions as to where the other pups will go, and whether they will go as show potential or companions.  So far the litter looks exceptionally nice and most pups still look as if they will be show potential, but soon I will start evaluating movement and basic structure, and then we will have a better idea of what we are dealing with here.

Stay tuned.  Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We're Bored

Pups have had such fun the past two days, with company to visit, and laps to fall asleep in.  On Sunday they had two young girls to play with, last night three teenaged boys.  Having a litter of pups is such a great way to catch up with friends, and it's been fun watching Trevor and Bradley grow up with Dals of their own (their family is on their third Paisley Dal) and visits with my puppies.  Kassia and Jozie's mom Heather grew up in a family with Dals too and I knew her parents many years ago when they belonged to the Dal Club and raised a litter of pups sired by our Ch. "Henry".

When I went down this morning, the pups were standing at their gate, singing, "Let us out, we're bored in here!"  Time to make the pen bigger.   Tonight the pen gets enlarged, and I'll add some boxes and lots more toys.  I posted to Facebook to see what things other breeders add to their puppy pens, and got some new ideas.  Because these are winter pups and they will not get much yard time, I need things to keep them busy, and visually stimulating toys for socialization.

Good news is there was only one pee spot in the box this morning, which means they have mastered the idea of keeping their "bed" clean.  I can add more toys to the box now and make it into a playground, and most of the peeing will be in the pen on papers.  Makes housekeeping a bit easier.

Miss Holly is very tired of motherhood and would prefer to stay upstairs now, feeding the pups only when pressure builds up too much.  She's getting a walk every evening now, which she really appreciates!  Had meant to start weaning the pups on Sunday, but time did not permit, and the pups are doing well as Holly has lots of milk.  Tonight though, weaning begins.  I love the first pictures of puppies in the food pan!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let The Puppy Parties Begin!

For once I actually got through my entire To Do List on a weekend.  Admittedly, the list was more realistic than normal, only about half the length it usually is.  I knew I would be distracted by incredibly cute pups all weekend, and took that into consideration.  Good thing I did not over-schedule as we had the added wrinkle of surgery on Watson's ear.

Ron was petting little Watty boy (12 1/2 year old Coral son) on Saturday morning when he noticed a huge soft lump on Watson's right ear.  A Hematoma, a blood and fluid filled swelling about 3/4 inch thick that took up half his ear.  Fortunately I was able to get him in to the vet clinic that morning, where they sedated him, removed all the bloody fluid and clots, and inserted a drain that he will be wearing for 3 weeks.  If the ear is just lanced and drained it usually fills up again, and the plastic drain will hopefully keep that from happening.  He seems to be handling things well and is enjoying the extra attention.

Fern had her first obedience class on Saturday and things went pretty well except for the distraction of kids, one of whom was wearing furry white boots and dancing around the ring.  Too much of a distraction for Fern!  I was annoyed, as the class was not inexpensive, and the dogs did need any more distraction on the first day.  Should have offered to pay for a babysitter for next week!  Fern did fine though, and the class is handy, only a mile away.  We can always do a better class next time.  Distractable Fern needs to learn to concentrate before I can show her, and obedience classes will help.  She had a great weekend, with class, a run in the park, and a visit from her favorite kids.

The pups are 4 weeks old today, and have entered the Period of Socialization which lasts from 4 weeks to 4 months.  This is the time when pups need to be exposed to as many new things as possible.  A variety of people, situations, sounds, sights, smells, and textures.  The experiences a pup has during this 3 month time frame will determine what he grows up to be.  A puppy who does not receive appropriate socialization during this period can never make up for lost time, so we will be very busy for the next month, trying to insure the pups get as much socialization as we can manage.  Then it's up to their new owners to continue the process.

We had our first Puppy Party yesterday, the first of many.  Jozie and Kassia are great with pups and ALL the youngsters had a good time.

The adult dogs love Puppy Parties too, as they know they will get lots of extra attention too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Questions Than Answers

Not my norm to post on Sunday, but it was one of those "can't sleep nights" so I finally gave up and got out of bed.  Argus and Josie just gave me the look and went back to sleep, so it's me, the blog, and coffee.  Too much happening right now, far too much of it bad.  Too many problems both large and small.

How can there be so much evil out there?  Why can't we identify and manage people with serious mental health issues?  What causes them to finally snap - and why can't they just kill themselves?  Is the sensationalism and notoriety really the trigger for mass murders?  How can any sane person argue against gun controls of some type?  How can they argue that NOW is not the time for meaningful action on this issue?  I just don't understand.  How can the parents of the murdered children ever get through this?  How traumatized will the surviving children be?

And how is poor Watson feeling about wearing the e-collar?  Will his hematoma heal as it should or will he need more surgery?  Will he really dig at the drain if I leave the collar off when no one is watching him?

Will I ever make a showdog out of Fern?  How can she be so scatty and distractable?  How can a pup this pretty be such a fool at times?  Can they put dogs on Ritalin?  Will this 6 week obedience class be helpful?  Will the mother of the kid with the furry white boots leave her (or the boots) home next week?  Why does our instructor allow kids in the class anyway?  Was this a waste of money?  Should I have signed up for a class at Animal Inn?  TCOTC?  Pet Junction?  Will these foo foo methods be helpful or am I wasting my time? Where should I send Fern so she's around kids more?  How will I manage her around the puppies?  Will she bully them?  Will she be gentle?  Will she scare them?

When should I pick up more food for Holly?  When should I start weaning the pups?  When should I make their pen bigger?  Should Holly spend more time upstairs?  How am I going to get Holly's nails cut?  Should I try the grinder?  Why is she so bad about this?

When will I get my Christmas shopping done?  My Christmas cards done?  My gifts mailed?  My house decorated?  Should I bake?  When?  Should I just buy Christmas cookies this year?  Will the weather be good on Christmas Day?  How long will we be gone?  Should I take Fern?  Will the pups be OK being left that long?  Will Holly be OK being left that long?

Why did I buy another Charlie Brown tree?  It's so hard to decorate around holes!  Will this one actually look OK when the bulbs are added?  Is it worth the aggravation to save $10.00?  When will I ever finish decorating this tree and the one on the porch too?  

Did my hand heal properly?  Should I make an appointment with the sports medicine doctor to have it rechecked?  Will I need surgery?  Do I need more PT?  Will my wrist ever stop aching?  Is this Carpel Tunnel Disease?  Why do I have pain in the ankle that was broken almost three years ago?  Why now?  More exercise?  More calcium?  Will my back ever feel perfect again?

Will I have enough company to socialize my pups appropriately?  Will I survive all the company?  Will I survive all the work involved with winter puppies?  Will the pups all be steady or will some require extra work?  Will the weather be OK when they have to go in for their BAER testing.  Will the weather be OK for shipping when the time comes? Is the prettiest bitch a uni?  Are they all bi?  Could I be that lucky?  Why does Folgers have to have a blue eye?  Should he go to a show home anyway if he continues to look this good?  Or should I just let him go as a pet?  Should I keep Maxwell?  Should I keep a "spot" available for a liver boy? How will I explain to the people who are desperate for a puppy that I don't have enough to go around?  Will the pups all continue to look this good?  Will their tails come up?  Will their bites be OK?  Will they be as sound as they are pretty?

What to do with mom today?  When will I go over there?  Should we go out to lunch?  Or dinner?  Shall I take Fern along for some extra socializing?  Do I have a list of the things she wanted me to bring over today?  Should I take her some of the stew I made yesterday?  Should I buy her a Poinsettia?  Will she still be OK by Christmas?  How long can she continue to live alone?

Dogs are stirring and the coffee is working.  Problems are put into perspective (more or less) and it's time to get moving.  Lots to get done today.  I will.