Friday, December 28, 2012


The pups had more company yesterday, when Kathleen and Dave stopped by over the noon hour. Once the pups had slowed down a bit and gotten their peeing out of the way, we brought them all up to the family room so Kathleen could get some pictures.  I snapped away too and finished off yet another set of batteries.  Digital cameras are so perfect for puppy pictures since fewer than one in a dozen pictures is really a keeper.

The litter continues to look fantastic and I could not be more pleased with them.  It's one of those litters where everyone (except the patch) could probably go to a show home.  As the pups develop, it's great to see how sound they are and how well they move.  A quality Dal is a lot more than pretty spots, and most of this group seems to have it all.  On New Years Day we will be doing a set of stacked shots - pups set up in show poses, with pictures taken from all angles.  This allows us to see their outlines and proportions and how they fit together.  Jess will do the stacking and she will also note how the pup "goes together" when she stacks it.  A really good puppy also has a good "fit" and its legs automatically set down in the right places - now, whether it will stay that way long enough for me to get good pictures is the question!

This evening the pups will come up into the family room again and I'll be watching them move and "set themselves up".  I'll watch how they looking coming and going and from the side.   I'll watch their foot placement, their toplines, how they carry their heads and tails, and whether they move with attitude and style.
They are almost six weeks old now, and by then the pups pretty much are what they are.  Proportions and outlines are very similar to what they will be as adults, and although they will go through stages, Dals generally come back to what they were at six weeks.  Some things are not fully predictable at six weeks - tail carriage, bites, and size can still be a problem later, but in general we know what we have by six weeks, or occasionally a bit longer.

Currently I am looking at Melitta and Maxwell, and could possibly keep both, at least for awhile.  I like Maxwell a lot, and do not currently have a home for a top quality male if that's what he is, plus he's my favorte pup!  Melitta looks like the most suitable girl puppy for me to keep, and is most promising, my reward for all the work of raising a litter!

Folgers is already promised, as are two of the girls depending on a variety of things including health testing.  We've figured out the hearing status, I think, with two unilateral hearing pups.  We'll check that again when I get together with Jess, and then the pups will get their BAER testing to confirm that the following Saturday.  How can they be old enough for that already!?

Now I need to decide which of the fantastic homes on my list will get Gevalia the extra cute patch, and also need to decide where to place the girl I suspect is a uni.  She's a gorgeous pup and probably would have gone to a show home, but if she is uni we might have to rethink that.  Unis can be shown, and there are many top winning unilateral hearing Dals, but the people on my list for show puppies also want bilateral hearing since you have more options for breeding a bilateral puppy.  Unilateral hearing dogs are more likely to produce deafness - BUT they can be bred intelligently.   If she was my favorite puppy I would not have hesitated to keep and show her.  BUT, what I will probably do is place her locally in a good pet home, and keep the rights to show her (at my expense).  Time to check with the people on my list and see if any of them are interested.  Are you?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Digs

Pups got new housing arrangements last night when I took the whelping box apart, enlarged the pen and added a crate for sleeping.  Holly no longer spends the night with them, so there's no need to have room for her to lay down, and when/if she feeds them, they have to eat standing up anyway.  More room for toys now, and the pen is easier to keep clean.  Now I need to come up with more "furniture" for the pen, things to keep the pups occupied during the day.

Holly was away from the pups all day yesterday and I did not take her down to see them until 10:00 PM.  They nursed her dry, and by this morning she was still pretty empty.  Maybe one or two more late evening visits, and then we're done.  Once Holly got tired of the pups, that was it.  She kept them clean and well fed when they needed it, but has turned the job over to me.  She's obviously not the earth-mother type like Josie who would have nursed her pups until they were as big as she was.

Pups are changing so quickly and starting to develop their own personalities.  Vittoria is the quietest, although she's brave and friendly, just a quieter dog.  Folgers is the most "peopley" and always wants to sit on your lap and be held.  He's a little whiny because of that, so we'll work to make him more independent.  He's very brave, just wants to be with you.  Gevalia is the most adventurous, and is already trying the stairs.  Although she looks cuddly, she really the explorer.  Sanka is the most mischievous and the most into toys, closely followed by Maxwell.  Sanka is already an alligator.  Britt and Melitta are right in the middle, with Britt being the busier of the two, and Melitta being more cuddly.  Melitta and Britt already know their names, but poor Maxwell thinks he's Little Argus!

Fern is camping at Heather's for a few days, so it's pretty quiet without her.  She's a busy dog, always playing with her toys, tugging with Josie or harassing her poor grandfather Argus.  It will be easier to have the pups upstairs though, and I'll probably introduce them to Josie and Watson tonight (Argus has already been down to visit them).  Josie likes babies, but Watson will sit in his chair and pull his feet up to be sure they don't touch his toes.  He was wonderful with pups when he was young, but is pretty bored with the whole idea now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Past

Hope your Christmas was as good as ours was!  Gifts at home, then we picked up mom and traveled to my sister's for Christmas dinner.  My sister and her husband, my nephew and his girlfriend, my daughter and her partner, mom, Ron & me, and four dogs - Kris's charming Rat Terrier and her big mellow Dane/Lab cross, Jess's Meribel and our Fern.  Good thing Kris has a big house!

Fern's first Christmas, and she thought that unwrapping gifts was such fun!  Looked like a little kid on Christmas morning.  The dogs all got gifts to unwrap, although Holly had to do hers in her crate as she's a bit into "resource guarding" and gets a little protective about "her things".  She doesn't snap, but does growl, which I don't care for.  People can take anything from her, but she guards her space from the other dogs when she eats or plays with toys.  We raise our own dogs to "share", so I don't want Fern picking up bad habits.  This is something that is easily trained around.

Pups were pretty bored when we finally got home last night.  Only Fern got to go along to my sister's for Christmas Day, and the others all stayed home.  Holly stayed with the pups as she still has some milk left, but not much.  They are pretty much getting their nourishment from a bowl now.  Goats milk, cottage cheese, eggs, ground turkey and chicken, and kefir so far, plus a chicken neck each once a day.  This morning they will get some sweet potato added to their breakfast, and perhaps some beef for dinner.  They've also had well softened kibble twice.  Everyone is eating well, although Vittoria and Melitta get a separate bowl as they do not eat as fast as the other sharks!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Puppies Of Course

What a good weekend!  Lot's of fun with the pups, a good obedience class with Fern who seems to be developing a brain, a trip to the dog park with my daughter Jess, and Dals Argus, Fern, and Meribel, and a long phone call from my brother in Costa Rica.  Got lots done, and had fun too.

Pups are doing fabulously well.  Jess agreed that Melitta should stay, and perhaps Maxwell too.  Pups are still changing, but I am getting a feel on who should go to which home.  A couple of them are "tentatively promised" but we'll have to wait and see how this plays out.

What I am probably looking for now is a local co-owner - someone who wants to add a gorgeous pet to their home but is willing to let me show her.   We'll see how this plays out.

Friend Sue came over on Saturday to take Josie for a run and to play with pups, so they had way too much fun this weekend and are NOT happy to be shut in their pen.  They'll be most annoyed to find that the next two days will not include any visitors.  If the pups were just a week older I'd take them along to my sister's on Christmas, but instead they will be stuck in their pen, with only their mother for company.  Fern however, will go along to play with her doggy "cousins".

Am very very pleased with this litter.  They are absolutely lovely, with beautiful spotting and gorgeous faces.  Some show great promise as potential show dogs too, and all the temperaments are absolutely outstanding.  No shrinking violets or wall flowers in this group!

Raising a litter correctly is a lot of work, and takes an enormous amount of time, not to mention a sizeable cash outlay.  Sometimes things fall into place, sometimes they don't.  So far this litter pleases me immensely, which is a good thing as the next 3 - 5 weeks are the most work, the messiest, the loudest (pups have discovered their voices), and the most expensive.  So glad to have wonderful homes waiting.

Merry Christmas to all!