Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seven Weeks Old - Already?

Seven weeks old already.  Where did time go? One more week and the pups will begin to depart for their new homes.  Several will be picked up next weekend, but two others will stay at bit longer as they will be flying to their new homes.
It's been a fun litter for the most part.  Other than a week's worth of loose stools, they have been totally healthy.  Three stool checks never identified the cause of the problem, so we treated it as Giardia, with added probiotics.  Seems to have worked - knock on wood.
BAER testing went as expected, although this group would not win any prizes for good manners in the car - it was a long, loud trip to Rochester.  The pups were brave and friendly when they arrived, enjoyed being held and admired, and didn't object excessively to the electrodes or ear plugs.  One more thing taken care of.  The upcoming week will bring vaccinations and physical exams, and hopefully I can get together with Jessica to do puppy pictures.  We normally do formal shots somewhere between 6 and 7 weeks, but things just didn't work out for that, and some of the pups are still changing quickly.
Handsome liver Feeney appears to be the best pup at this age.  He's wonderfully sound, handsomely spotted, has a nice outline, and a wonderful disposition.  He's going as an Agility and Obedience prospect, and will be shown in the breed ring of course.  Really like this boy, but I don't need to keep him and he will have an excellent home.
Black girls Mira and Dallas please me for different reasons, and I haven't decided which one to keep, so I'll run them both on for a few more weeks.  There's a spot reserved for me in a puppy class that begins on November 6th, so I probably need to decide by then!
The other pups have excellent pet homes waiting for them.  Unfortunately I did not have enough pups for all the wonderful homes that were hoping for a pup.
Fern was an excellent mother but when the pups were 5 1/2 weeks she'd had enough and decided to wean them. Enough, she declared. Their sharp little teeth probably had a lot to do with that decision.  Fern had plenty of milk and held her weight perfectly.  Her trim girlish figure is coming back quickly, and she's already started growing a brand new coat.  Pups are eating well and growing rapidly.
Not too many years ago we let our pups go to new homes at 7 weeks, as the current thinking at that time said the pups were ready to face the world.  I found that little Dal pups did extremely well being placed at 7 weeks, and never questioned that theory.  The current thinking is that 8 weeks is better, so now we keep the pups until at least 8 weeks.  In some breeds, the extra week probably makes a difference, allowing the pups to be larger, stronger and more confident.  I'm quite sure this group is ready to start their new lives at 7 weeks, but I'll enjoy having them for another week.  It also allows me to put off the first vaccination for an extra week, until the pups' immune systems are better able to develop the immunity that will protect them from Parvovirus and Distemper.
Tomorrow they start wearing collars, get their nails cut yet again, and take another trip in the car.  Hopefully this trip won't be as loud as the first one was.  They'll be visiting friends, exploring a new environment, and meeting friendly Labradors.  They had lots of socializing in groups, pairs and individually, but it will be up to their new owners to continue the work I've put into these pups, so they can "be all that they can be".
I should be in Kansas doing dog shows this weekend, but because we had not totally solved the problem with loose stools, I decided to stay home.  That means I've missed the last two Specialty weekends, once with new pups, and then with poopy pups.  Only four show weekends for me this year, but that means I saved some money and didn't put as many miles on my car as usual.  Hopefully things will work out better next year.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Less Than Fun

If I had to do it over again I would stick with the litter box this time, but I gave up on using one for this litter because tracked litter drives me nuts.  Said I would rather deal with wet papers.  Hah!  So even though a number of pups were using the box pretty consistently, and would have done better had I stuck with it, the litter box idea was discarded again.   And now I am stuck with tons of wet stinky paper.  Argh!
The pups had such fun outdoors last weekend, but I neglected to fence off the area under the birdbath as I normally do.  When Ron cleans the birdbath, he dumps the water into the Hosta bed even though I have asked him not to.  Easier that way and a hotbed for Giardia it would appear.  I totally forgot about that since we have not had Giardia in pups for a long time.  The pups have been wormed (just a precautionary worming as my pups never check out positive for worms) and had been treated with Baycox at five weeks, so I knew there was no risk of Coccidia.  But Giardia.  Oh yeah.  Stools started getting soft on Friday, so I took in a stool sample knowing that it's sometimes hard to get an actual diagnosis the first time.  As expected, the results came back on Saturday as Negative.  Yeah, right.  Something was going on, but what?  Probably Giardia, but I hate to treat without knowing for sure.  On the other hand, poopy pups are not very appealing!  This morning I started treating for Giardia.  Will do another stool sample first thing Monday morning and see if we can get any better answers.
Pups are fine, they feel great, eat like it's their last meal, and have lots of energy.  And they are bored!  They have been confined to their pen unless I know they have all pooped, and then I follow them around with paper towels - well not quite, but they do have to stay in the basement.  Because they have been outside, in the family and up in the bedrooms, they know there's lots more to the world than the basement, and they are protesting.
We were supposed to go to a Puppy Party today, but we're missing it because I didn't want to take a chance on infecting the other litter - and because they are just too messy!  So instead I go down and play with them every hour, pick up any messy papers, and explain to them that their confinement is temporary.  They're not buying it!