Friday, September 19, 2014

Weaning Begins

I always chuckle when I read an article on weaning puppies that "explains" how to teach a puppy to lap from a pan.  Teach?  Dalmatians seem to be born knowing what a food pan is for and I've never had a pup who did not immediately begin to eat whatever tasty treat was in the pan.  Some of them do a bit of sneezing when they stick their little noses in too deep but they all chow down from the first meal.
Some breeders wean on cow's milk and baby cereal, but we prefer goat's milk (which is more like the milk they get from mom) and no carbs at first.  We do goat milk the first day, goat milk with egg yolk the second and third days, and then start adding ground turkey.  The meal is mostly milk and very liquid at first, until I know that the pups have started drinking water too. 
We make weaning a gradual process, adding different raw foods as we go along, but always including lots of eggs.  Pups get a variety of meats, and raw meaty bones as well, plus cooked or pureed veggies, and yogurt.  Because not all of my puppy buyers will be feeding a raw diet, the pups also get some meals of well soaked kibble with goat milk.  Although there are many good foods on the market, out preference continues to be Pro Plan Select Turkey & Barley.  We start off with just one meal a day, gradually working up to four meals.  Although Fern will spend less and less time with the puppies, she'll still be with them at night until they are at least 6 weeks old. There is no better food for pups than their mother's milk.
The cute little buy pictured below is Baxter.  For all the Dals with too many spots, there are some with too few - like Baxter.  He's a very handsome pup with a gorgeous face, nice structure, a charming personality, and very distinct markings.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Four Weeks Tomorrow

Tomorrow the pups will be 4 weeks old and are ready for the next phase of socialization.  During the 3-4 week period they explored their limited environment, the whelping box and the puppy pen.  Lots of toys to investigate, tunnels to go through, low boxes to climb on.  They started leaving the whelping box to explore the pen, and with that comes the instinct to "keep the nest clean".  Most peeing is done outside the box now, in a litter box or on the newspapers.  Because the litter tracks, I'm not sure I will continue with that, but the pups often use the box when they pee which keeps the paper drier, so we'll see.  They're quite mobile now and really
into exploring their surrounding, and all of them are comfortable being held and snuggled.  Mira and Baxter were the least good about being held, but Mira is now one of the most social.  Summerset will get the extra handling for the next few days. 
At four weeks their horizons will expand to include exploring outside the pen, and being carried upstairs to experience the sights and sounds of the household.  I'll let Max go into their pen to walk around and sniff them too - Fern makes him lay outside the pen to watch Puppy TV.  AND it's time for more socialization with people outside the family.  Heather and girls will be over this evening, and Laurie is arriving to spend the weekend.  We'll have a few other groups in too.  It's time to play Pass the Puppies - everyone sits on the floor and takes turn snuggling each puppy, and I'll be watching to see how each puppy reacts.  Any puppy that seems at all uncomfortable gets singled out for extra handling.
Pretty Peabody

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Enjoying Puppies

Such a luxury, to have the time to really enjoy a litter of puppies.  Pups are always fun but when I was working there wasn't as much time to enjoy them as I wished.  Now that I'm retired I can spend as much time with them as I want!  They aren't very demanding yet, and they don't stay awake very long, so much of the time is spent just admiring them as they sleep.  Once the adults have been out and fed (mama Fern eats in the kitchen with the others) I'm free to go downstairs and enjoy my puppies.  Sitting in the pen, I watch them interact with one another and explore their surroundings.  It's not long before they run out of energy and fall asleep - on my legs.  All eight managed to squeeze on today.

Fern has plenty of milk, and all the pups are chunky and robust, but tonight we'll start weaning.  It's a gradual process here, and Fern will still be nursing them if she wishes when the pups are 6 or 7 weeks.  There's really nothing better for pups than mother's milk, but as their teeth get bigger and sharper Fern on going to get real tired of nursing pups!

Argh, the html is playing tricks on me.  I normally love this blog site, but every now and again the coding does not work and I can't place the pictures and the text where I want them.  Until tomorrow.