QQ Litter Diary
whelped 3/27/19
2 bicolor males; 4 bicolor females; 2 black females

Miss Orange went to Utah for Search & Rescue; Mr. Blue went to Durango, CO for Search & Rescue, agility and to do therapy dog work with veterans; Mr. Purple went to Minnesota for agility, nosework and obedience competition; and Miss White went to Denver for possible competition and therapy dog work.  Miss Green went to Colorado as a pet.  Miss Red went to eastern Wyoming where my friend, Laurie, will train her as a service dog.  She will eventually be available for that as I do get calls for service dogs.  See her training log, updated weekly.  Miss Pink went to Colorado as a family pet and to possibly do Schutzhund.  Miss Yellow went to Idaho Falls for all kinds of competition – obedience, agility, scent work, tracking and maybe barn hunt.

background information

pedigree

See members of the QQ litter in their new homes

See the QQ litter Search & Rescue test results

See the QQ litter police/narcotics temperament test results

see more detailed information and photos of pups from 42 days of age until they leave

The most recent entry is on top.  Scroll down for earlier entries.

107 Days (7/12) I let Quip out with Spirit for an early morning play session rather than putting her in the puppy yard with her breakfast. Spirit want her breakfast as soon as she has pottied, so instead of putting it in her bowl (with the puppy there) I fed it to her by spoon. Quip got to learn to eat off a spoon, too, as I gave her her 3 cubes of raw meat that way. She thought that was pretty cool. When their play session was over, I put her bowl of kibble with her in the crate so she could finish her breakfast.

She got to go to agility class with Spirit this morning. During the summer, on alternate weeks, we have class at a friend’s agility field out in the country so this was a new experience for her. I put her in one of the front crates, which are on a stand so that the dogs can see out and also benefit from any breeze. One time she started to bark but quit when I said “Quiet!” I went over and gave her a treat and told her how good she was. She never made a peep after that, whether I was running Spirit or sitting in the shade a distance from the car.
When we finished, I let her out while we picked up equipment. Both the field’s owner (a good friend) and the instructor were impressed with how good she had been in the car and how confident and social she is. She ran around exploring and then headed back for attention then took off in another direction to explore more.

The owner has sheep and pastures them in that field occasionally. We all laughed when she came to a screeching halt and picked up a piece of ancient sheep poop. After that she was all business, searching for any more she might find in the field. They were impressed with her nose.

Quip’s new mom arrived at 3:15. We did paperwork and then she took her, saying she had gotten a dog friendly motel room and wanted to start bonding with her before they headed to Idaho Falls in the morning. I had expected to have her tonight and send her off in the morning so have an empty feeling right now. These pups really worm their way into your heart.
This finishes the diary for the QQ litter.

106 Days (7/11) It got hot really fast this morning and was miserable with high humidity, so I quit the ball sessions just before Mercy’s. I let Mercy, Cantor & Quip have a play session instead.
With the heat, I left her crated in the cool house while I did a therapy dog visit. When I returned, she had a play session with Sprit, and later, with Cantor & Mercy. They had agility class so I put her in the puppy yard before I loaded them. She was insulted but it was way too hot for her to go sit in the car.

When we returned, she had another play session with both Spirit and Mercy & Cantor, and was happy to go to bed.

105 Days (7/10) The last reference came in very positive for the person who wants to take Quip to Idaho Falls and do all kinds of competition (obedience, tracing, agility, nosework and possibly barn hunt) with her. Now we’re deciding when Marilynne will come get her.

She pulled my hose out of its coils yesterday so this morning when I put her in the back yard I gave her a fresh knuckle bone.

Quip got her 3rd distemper/parvo vaccination this afternoon. She weighed 33.0#.

Since our nosework group was training at an area with little guaranteed shade and the possibility of having to work out of sight of the vehicles so they had to be closed and locked, I didn’t take Quip tonight. I put her in the puppy yard so she could stretch and just be a dog rather than being crated in the house. She let me know when I got home that she didn’t approve.

We didn’t do any clicker work since it was 8:30 before I got home. Poor baby felt abused but stretched out next to the computer and crashed. I had to wake her up so she’d potty before she went into her crate.

104 Days (7/9) Even though they had been out all night, Mercy & Cantor were especially wild during their early morning rotation before I began ball sessions. I’ve noticed that she’s wild with them but quiet with Spirit, so she definitely picks up on surrounding energy.

I again left her crated while I did Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session and the yard poop detail. Then I put her (with her knuckle bone) out in the back yard while I did ball sessions. She hardly chewed on it at all today.

It started sprinkling during GloryToo’s ball session but seemed to be clearing up as she cooled off. But when I took Quasi out the skies again darkened and lowered and pretty soon it was seriously raining. The rain continued while he cooled off so I cancelled the rest of the ball sessions, put him up and ran out to bring Quip inside. I let Mercy & Cantor out and they had about 40 minutes to play and chew on her bone, which I had left out for the big dogs. Quip, of course, thought she should have it but Mercy said no way.

Cantor & Berakah had a vet appointment at 2, so I put Quip in the puppy yard while I was gone. She was ready for a nice nap when I got home just ahead of another thunderstorm. By the time it was their time to be out again, the big dogs had chewed on ligaments holding the two pieces of the big bone together until it came apart. Cantor isn’t very interested in fresh bones, so there was a piece for Quip as well as Mercy and they happily chewed away. Cantor took one of his old bones and stretched out beside me as I worked on the computer (still editing puppy photos).

Tonight I put down the target table and we just worked on her going a distance (12′) and returning to me for her treat when I clicked. I then worked on her touching my hand, whether I held it close or away in any direction, high or low. She thought that was great fun but it did interfere with our next project, which was having her go to touch the set of bells, which tonight I attached to a bench arm. She had a hard time noticing them and then didn’t seem interested in going to them. In fact, once she went around behind me (I had turned my chair in the other direction so that I was facing the bells and thus away from the target table), ran over, jumped on the target table and sat, waiting impatiently for her click and treat. I laughed, did so, and she ran back to the table, so I called her and moved my chair closer to the bells so that I could reach forward and touch them. That seemed to help and she went to them and touched them several times. Then she sat facing them, about halfway between me and the bells, and merely turned her head back to get her treat each time I clicked. I had to laugh again.

I then got out the round puzzle and we worked that several times, until she decided to get into a hurry and managed to get the slide cover off the curved slide and started to pack it away to chew on the wooden cover. I don’t like this puzzle nearly as well as the square one. The holes for treats are only about 1″ in diameter and she has trouble getting the treats out if they stick at all. And those little dowels – about 1″ diameter and 2″ long, are just begging to be packed off. Since she has figured it out, I’ll put it away.

Last thing tonight (after she had reflected on her clicker session for a while), she had another play session with Cantor & Mercy before all of us headed to bed.

103 Days (7/8) Quiz got to play with Spirit, then Mercy & Cantor, on their morning rotations and was stretched flat on her side n her crate when I started ball sessions. I just left her there while I did Berakah’s & Hesed’s session and the big yard poop details. I closed the big gate on the back part of that yard and it really helped keep Quip quiet while I did the other sessions. Before I went out with Spirit, I took her and her knuckle bone out to the back yard. It kept her pretty busy although she dragged it close to the gate so she could receive treats each time I headed out with a new dog. She’d let out a bark or two but no crazy fence running.

Today was cooler so she played a bit more when she got out with Mercy for the second half of Mercy’s ball session. She really played with Mercy and Cantor during Cantor’s cool off period after his ball session. Since he’s last, I give him 25 minutes before I crate him with his lunch.

She totally crashed then for a long nap. I noticed that stretched out, she just about fills the crate. If she stays much longer I’ll have to put her in a larger one.

She got to go to nosework training tonight and again was very good. She didn’t get to come out and visit with everyone afterwards as a huge thunderstorm rolled in, making us cut short our training. I had to detour on the way home to get gas for my mower and it was while the hatchback was open and I was filling the gas can that the heavens opened with a roar. Her crate is in the back so she got to watch the deluge and all the people racing back to their cars through it. Then she got to ride home with the thunder and lightning surrounding us and water all over the road from the deluge. It slacked off as we got home long enough for me to unload her, potty her, crate her and go back to unload Berakah & Hesed, whose night it had been to train. Then the heavens opened again with all kinds of noise and hard rain. At least the house was closed up for the AC so it was peaceful inside.

Storm over, I turned off the AC and opened up the house. Ah, what joy. No fireworks tonight either so hopefully life will now get back to normal. I much prefer fresh air to AC.

Tonight we worked on touching the batch of bells at all levels and distances from her. Then I introduced her to the other puzzle. Wood also, this one is round instead of square. It has 3 slides hiding treats, one of which has a curved path, and other holes into which you put a peg over the treat. She much preferred working the slides and even figured out the curved one quickly. The pegs she’d knock out after she worked the slides, obviously thinking they were no fun.

It was Mercy’s and Cantor’s night to be out all night so she didn’t get an evening play session with them. I pottied her just before I let them out of their crates.

102 Days (7/7) The fresh knuckle bone only diverted Quip for about 30 minutes this morning, then she started chasing along the fence. She could do that because the back yard, since I closed back the puppy yard to its normal size yesterday, stretches the length of the puppy yard, so even though she was 30′ away from the action, she still thought it fun to race along the fence and bark. I may have to shut the backyard gate to close off the back half of the yard before playtime each morning to keep her from chasing.

By the time Mercy, and then Quip, had playtime, it was hot. Quip was content to hang out by my chair and try to convince Mercy to have me throw her ball so she could chase her. Mercy, meanwhile, had had her 10 minute private ball session and was more content to tease Quip or go back for another dip in the pool. She only had me throw the ball 3 times while Quip was out to chase her.  Quip was quite glad to come in and rest in her crate in the air conditioning while I finished the last 2 ball sessions.

She got her afternoon playtime with her parents. I have to laugh at her. Cantor has to always be carrying something – usually an old, chewed down knuckle bone – in his mouth or he barks and gets into trouble. She’s the same way, especially when she’s happy, grabbing a bone and proudly carrying it – but with one difference: while I frequently have to gather the bones Cantor carries outside and drops and bring them into the house so there’s always one ready for him, Quip grabs one when she goes outside and carries it inside. Hurrah!

I put her in the puppy yard while I went to Mass tonight. She was very glad to come back into the air conditioning when I got home. I fed the big dogs (she was insulted I didn’t feed her!) and then brought her out for her clicker session. We first worked on the target table. I clicked/treated when she got up on it and stayed, when she sat and when she offered a down. Then I clicked and held the treat in my hand (rather than throwing it to her), so that she had to come off the table and to me to get it. After doing that a few times, I began clicking and holding the treat so each time she got on the table she had to come back to me for her reward. I gradually pushed the table away until she was going away from me about 10′ to get on the table and returning for her treat.

Next we did the puzzle. It’s so fascinating to see them start farther ahead on a project after a day or two to think about it since the last session. She was much more methodical and seems to have figured out that if she stays in one position, she can easily get the treats form all 3 slides on that edge. She’s still struggling to either change position – or what she was trying tonight, – to move the puzzle around – so that she’s lined up to easily get the slides on the other side to open.

Then I put down the big tub and we worked on her putting her front feet on it. We also got her to put her back feet on it and stand there. Never did get all four feet on it but that’s a very small area so we may not get that.

Lastly, I introduced a set of jingle bells on a wire that can be hung on a doorknob. I held them and clicked/treated when she touched them with her nose. I then moved my hand to different positions – higher, lover, farther away on each side – and clicked/treated when she’d touch them. She was a little confused when I held them low and wanted to touch my hand that held them and the clicker, but eventually realized the reward was for touching the bells. That eventually can be used to teach the dog to ring a bell on a door when it needs to go outside to potty. Another day we’ll work on her touching my hand wherever I hold it; we use that in beginning agility to teach them to follow our directions.
I put her in her crate for 30 minutes to reflect on what she learned, then let her out with her parents for evening playtime. Later she got to be out with Spirit for 30 minutes, then I took her out to potty and put her to bed.

101 Days (7/6) We finally had a day with no rain, so Quip had a busy day. We did extra time during her playtime with Mercy in the morning, she got to be with Spirit on all of Spirit’s rotations, and she got to help mow as I hurriedly got that done before the expected evening thunderstorm (no rain last night so everything finally dried out enough to mow the TALL Grass). 

The last couple of times she’s been in the back yard during ball sessions, she decided it was great fun to pull the garden hose all over the yard. I really don’t want it ruined, so this morning, when I put her in there, I gave her a beef knucklebone fresh out of the freezer. It kept her happy until Mercy had her ball session and she came out for hers. I then picked the bone up and put it in the fridge for tomorrow since she goes in her crate after she and Mercy have cooled off. It definitely kept her away from the hose.

After I mowed, I closed the big gate to the puppy yard that had opened it to a much larger area.  With only one puppy now, and that one spending most of her time in the house, she no longer needs the extra room.  I had another very tired puppy so we didn’t do any clicker training tonight.

100 Days (7/5) Quip again slept all night. Such a good girl.

She got to go to agility class and was so good in her crate that the instructor totally forgot she was there and didn’t go close so she could give her treats for being quiet while I ran Spirit. She is quite the charmer and everyone remarked what a cool pup she is!

People who are getting one of the RR pups stopped by on their way through town and Quip got to meet the two little girls. When they left, she had lunch and then got to come out for an hour with her parents. She was quite ready for a nap afterwards.

She got her first dose of Iverhart today – the heartworm preventative as well as wormer.

This afternoon she got to be out during Spirit’s hour out of the crate. Spirit tolerates her but doesn’t play with her so Quip got some good experience being peaceful with another dog.  

She had time for another good nap while I rotated other dogs, and then it was time to go do nosework. She, of course, isn’t yet doing any nosework but she got to go while our group worked our dogs and got lots of visits from people. She was super good in her crate, never made a peep, just watched and visited. When we finished training, I let her out and everyone visited with her and had her sit to receive treats and petting. She also got to hang out with one of the other dogs, a lab/pit mix who is very gentle with pups.

When we got home, she had supper and then had 30 minutes out with Cantor & Mercy, and later 30 minutes out with Spirit. During Spirit’s time the day’s events caught up with her. She collapsed on the dog bed next to my computer and never moved. She was ready for bed!

99 Days (7/4) Quip slept all night in her crate! I was so proud of her. I got up at 5, crated her parents, put her out in the puppy yard, let Berakah & Hesed out, and went back to bed for an hour to try to catch up on some of the sleep I lost from the fireworks. She was nice and quiet. I then brought her in and fed her breakfast. She was quiet in her crate while I rotated all the dogs. Mercy & Cantor were the last one to rotate; I let her out with them and then put her in the puppy yard while I did Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session and the big yard poop detail. Then I put her in the back yard while I did the other ball sessions.

She was super good, waiting quietly at the gate for her treats each time I brought another big dog out. I did Mercy’s ten-minute ball session, then let her out to play with toys and/or chase Mercy for another ten minutes; then they hung out together while I did poop detail in the puppy yard. She came in with Mercy and cooled off with her; then both went in their crates while I did the last two ball sessions. While Cantor (the last one to play) cooled off, she and Mercy came out. I then fed everyone, let her out to potty, and began the afternoon rotations which are an hour long. I let her out with Spirit, who wasn’t extremely excited about that but Quip greeted her and then stretched out on a dog bed and continued her nap while Spirit helped me make dog training treats.

Quip was obviously very happy to not be a “big” dog and was quite good. I didn’t even have to watch to be sure she didn’t eat a dog bed. She’s lie quietly and chew on a bone or stretch out for a nap. I had planned to take her for a socializing walk but the firecracker idiots began shooting things off about 5 p.m. Quasi, for some reason, is bothered this year. As he’s aging he may be losing his hearing so that the noise comes as a surprise. Anyway, I decided to cancel her walk and her clicker training in order to keep an eye on him. I turned on the AC, put music on, and kept an eye on everyone. No one else was bothered, even Quip.

She now goes willingly into her crate when I open the door and is content to be in it when it’s not her turn out.

98 Days (7/3) People were coming today to get one of the QQ’s so we raced through ball sessions, hoping to get all of them done before they arrived around noon. We almost made it – I only had Cantor left to do. But the QQ’s got their playtime with Mercy (after Mercy ad her 10 minute ball session) so they were happy. Then they got to visit with Zak and his son, Beowulf, for quite a while. In fact, they had worn themselves out and crashed before we finally decided the best fit for his family was Quayle (Miss Pink). We did the paperwork and got them on the road just at 2 p.m.

I put Quip (Miss Yellow) in the puppy house with her lunch while I showered, as I had promise to take her to visit the Alzheimer’s Unit today since tomorrow, our usual visit day, is a holiday. I haven’t been taking the puppies the last couple of weeks because they’re just to big to hold for the residents to pet them, but I thought a short visit would help Quip get used to being an “only” and tire her out as well.

She did great, though not too many people got to pet her as she was too busy running around. I had run out of treats and hadn’t time to bake more, so I had bought a package of training treats to use with them last night. I took what was left to the nursing home. We had a lot of fun with them as they resemble little wheels and would roll all over the place. I’d roll one towards one of the residents or to Joy, the staff person. They would go in a straight line for a bit and then suddenly change direction and roll a different way. She’d gallop after them and some of the residents would lean over to try to catch the treats first, eliciting a lot of laughs from everyone. After about 30 minutes she began to tire so I ended the visit while she was still having fun.

I had planned also to take her to training tonight but the only other person who could train wanted to go early, at 4 (we usually go at 6). It was cool – in fact quite cool with winds from thunderstorms moving in – so we could train early. We didn’t get home from the nursing home until about 3:50 so I put her in the puppy yard, loaded her parents, whose turn it was to train tonight, and left her to rest.

When I got home, I brought her in and let her hang out with her parents and me for a bit, then crated her. I had taken down the second puppy crate and was able to put her crate alongside Mercy’s so she’d have company. She promptly crashed and slept while Lively and Lovely had about 45 minutes to hang out with me. Then it was time to feed the big dogs, and I fed Quip, too, so that she’d have time to digest, potty before bedtime and hopefully sleep all night. She ate well. I took her out the front door to potty, a new experience but the easiest way to take her out during the night if need be, then put her in her crate while I rotated dogs. I decided she’d had enough activity today plus adjusting to being by herself, so I didn’t do a clicker session with her.
Just before bedtime I let her out with Mercy, put both out the front door, and began working on this diary and that for the RR litter. She had plenty of time to potty, stretch, hang out – in fact she went to sleep at my feet – before bedtime. The thunderstorm moved out in time to let the fireworks enthusiasts “play,” so I turned on the air conditioning to deaden the sound. I usually don’t sleep deeply until I can turn it off and open up the windows sometime after midnight. Since this is Quip’s first night inside, I’ll have Mercy & Cantor out so that they can help me take her outside in the dark when she wakes up.

97 Days (7/2) I was late beginning ball sessions since I spent time opening up the entire whelping room for the RR litter. It was already getting hot. I have a therapy dog visit at 1:30 so I was already concerned that I might not get everyone’s ball sessions done before I had to go, so I decided to do ball sessions first for those who didn’t get one yesterday due to the storm. Of course I cannot get away without doing Berakah & Hesed’s first with the accompanying poop detail around the yards, but after that I did Mercy’s private ball session for 10 minutes, and then another 10 minutes with the pups out to play with their toys (and chase Mercy). Instead of then putting the pups in the back yard while I did the other ball sessions, I brought them in, let them cool off with Mercy for a few minutes and then crated them. I’m sure I’ll have to crate them tonight due to the fireworks, so this gave them another experience of being quiet as dogs went past their crates. I had turned on the air conditioning after Berakah’s and Hesed’s playtime, so they also got to enjoy the cool and didn’t hear any of the outside activity. They did fantastic. Of course, every time I took a new dog out I gave them a treat to reinforce their being quiet, and they were very proud of themselves. When I finished ball sessions, I fed the big dogs and then took them out to potty, then put their lunch in the puppy house.

They had their hour session inside, with their parents, this afternoon. They sure do like the air conditioning! Each found an old knuckle bone and happily chewed on them here in my little office rather than racing around. I took them out twice, each after 20 minutes, then the last time put them in the puppy yard.

Tonight I used the target table, puzzle and a new larger tub that was 17″ in diameter. Quayle (Miss Pink) got to come in first. We again worked on her going away from me to get on the table. Once up, she started offering a sit, so I really rewarded that. Eventually I began working on her coming to me for her reward rather than getting it on the table. She thought I was crazy, expecting her to get up and down, but she did it quite a few times. I then put down the puzzle and she really had fun with it the first time. She has the idea of searching for the 6 treats and even seemed a little systematic tonight. Interestingly, she tired of the “game” during the second round, so I picked it up.

I then put down the new tub and at first clicked/treated when she looked at it. Eventually she would put 2 feet in it, for which I really rewarded, but she never offered to get inside it. When she quit offering behaviors and lay down beside it, looking like she was going to take a nap, I ended the session and exchanged pups.

Tonight Quip (Miss Yellow) started to race ahead of me down the hallway but stopped, pivoted back and waited to walk alongside me. I had forgotten to pick up the tub in my efforts to get Quayle to leave the living room, and she noticed it right off. She quickly investigated, stepped in and soon was entirely in and sitting, tough her little but flopped over one side. At least it didn’t tilt over like the cardboard box had. I really rewarded, then held a treat in my outstretched hand so that she had to get out to come get it. I then waited to see if she’d go back and sure enough, she did, ending up getting totally in the tub another 3 or 4 times. At that point I picked it up and she immediately headed to the target table and climbed up (no jumping up tonight). She got her click/treat for getting up and then sat, so she got another click/treat. She immediately got down to come to my hand that held a treat, getting another click as she reached for it. She immediately turned, got up, offered a sit and came down for a treat. She repeated that rapidly several times and then, after the sit, offered a down and expectantly looked at me to be sure I noticed. I clicked/treated several times.

When I quit, she got off the table and came back to me for a treat, then immediately turned and repeated the whole string of behaviors. In fact, she showed signs of not letting me try anything else tonight. I didn’t even have time to load treats in the puzzle so I could put it down for her. Finally, after she’d gotten up and offered both the sit and down probably 4 times, I got the puzzle loaded and put it on the floor. She immediately got off the table and started trying to get those treats. I quietly got up and put the target table away so that she’d focus on the puzzle. She left it, however, and followed over to where I had leaned the table against the wall. I’m sure if she had been able, she would have combed onto it. She then followed me back to the puzzle and played with it. She’s beginning to figure out that 2 feet on the puzzle means she can’t move the slide she’s working on. She was better at using only one paw and her nose and much quicker at actually getting the treats. We did 3 rounds and then I ended the session. I had to call and shake the bag of treats to get her to leave the living room but at least she had no more “toys” to sit on and wait for treats. I put her back in the puppy yard and gave them 30 minutes to reflect before I took out their supper.

I had everything set up so I could bring them in tonight during the fireworks display, but only a few were set off and were over before I could get out for the girls. I’m very glad we had a series of thunderstorms move through tonight – they seemed to have considerably dampened the patriots. Hurrah! All of us were able to get to bed at a decent hour (instead of after midnight when fireworks cease around here). We had lots of thunder, lightning and rain throughout the night but those natural sounds wouldn’t disturb the pups and, sure enough, I didn’t hear a bark all night.

96 Days (7/1) I got to thinking about the holiday – my absolutely least favorite of all because of neighbors around me who spend the week of the 4th shooting off tremendous, high powered fireworks all around me because we’re just outside of the city limits and all their friends come to “play.” It seems they all choose different nights so we suffer from all the boom, boom, boom, until midnight the whole week. I don’t want the QQ’s to have to endure that outside, so this morning I dug out two crates that would fit them and rearranged the living room so I could put them there.

I had decided that this morning I’d have mercy on Mercy and begin giving her ten minutes of ball play without her daughters so she could retrieve in peace and then let the pups out for another ten minutes. However, just as it was her turn, a big thunderstorm came with all kinds of thunder and lightning. I ran out and let the pups into the house since the back yard doesn’t have that much shelter for them (nothing like the puppy house/yard). While it rained, I let Cantor out, too and the family had some quality time in the house. When the storm seemed over – the sun was out – I decided to try to continue ball sessions. I put Cantor and the two pups in their crates and took just Mercy out. We got about 5 minutes of ball in before another storm moved in with thunder and rain, so I gave up. I left the pups in their crates while Mercy cooled off and then while I let Lovely out. She wasn’t too happy that we didn’t go out for her ball session, but it was still thundering. I let her “partner” (Lively) out, too, for about a 40 minutes, until it was time to fix my and the dogs’ lunches. I then put the QQ’s into their puppy house with theirs.

Meanwhile, the pups had some lessons in “Thou shalt not bark in thy crates when other dogs walk by,” complete with the vinegar spray bottle (1:3 vinegar/water ratio) when they decided to ignore me. It took a few sprays with “NO! Be quiet!” before they connected that with their lessons in the backyard and I was able to catch them being quiet and reward them frequently.

Quip (Miss Yellow) got to go to training tonight and, as usual, was great in her crate. When we finished, she got to come out and hang out with us and visit with the other people as we walked all over the big storage yard (Crafto Metalworking services all kinds of mining and other heavy duty companies and is a GREAT place to train; every time we go there we find new configurations of all kinds of pipes, cables, huge metal pieces, vehicles and so on). She had all kind sof things to investigate. Since the yard is not fenced and there are also bunnies, so I had her drag a long line so I could step on it if she stumbled across one and wanted to give chase. A couple of times she decided to carry the long line; once she brought it to me. She was SO cute! Quayle (Miss Pink) got to have the lesson in being left alone in the puppy yard for two hours.

Due to getting home at 8 from training, we didn’t do any clicker sessions. They did get a thirty-minute session in the house with their parents before I put them to bed with their supper.
I was afraid I was going to have to bring them inside for the night as people started setting off fireworks. I was in the middle of a thirty-minute rotation so decided to wait until I crated those dogs for the night before bringing the pups in. Thankfully, nothing huge and scary was set off and by the time I could bring in the pups, the fireworks had ceased. I imagine, though, I’ll have to bring them in tomorrow night as people gear up for the 4th.

95 Days (6/30) The pups enjoyed morning playtime with Mercy and continued playing while I did poop detail in the puppy yard.

It was hot and humid so they enjoyed this afternoon’s hour in the air conditioned house with Cantor & Mercy.

Tonight the target table greeted them when they came in for their individual sessions. The target table, one of Dave Kroyer’s tools, is a 2′ x 4′ x 6″ table covered with indoor/outdoor carpet that we use with our beginning nosework and obedience training. For nosework, it is used to teach the pups to work away from us and to come back for reward. That translates later to searching independently and also coming away from the hides to be rewarded (rather than us reward at the hide and possibly contaminate it with dropped treats). For obedience, we use it to train the dogs to go out and also to obey obedience commands (sit, down, stand, come) at a distance.

After we worked the target table, we did the puzzle again, and then returned to work again on the target table.

Quip (Miss Yellow) volunteered to be first, jumped over the bottom puppy yard gate, rushed up the steps, through the doggie door and into the living room ahead of me, leapt on the table and was sitting on it waiting by the time I got into the room. I laughed, clicked and rewarded her. She offered that behavior quickly several times, each time being clicked and rewarded. Then she decided she was done and just wanted to lie at my feet. I waited, hoping she’d again offer some behaviors, but when she didn’t I walked to the table and then around it, clicking and treating when she put her head, then feet on it. Soon she was bouncing up on it.

We then did three goes at the puzzle. I had to laugh at her because she’s her own worst enemy. She push one of the slides with her nose but just as the treat began to come into view she’d knock it back with her foot. This happened over and over again. She also wanted to work only one way. Three on one side would therefore open pretty easily, but she’d be pushing the wrong way on the three slides on the other side of the puzzle. When she began to get frustrated, I tapped on the slide over a treat so she’d work on it rather than fight one that was empty. She eventually got all of them but she never really figured out that slow and methodical works better than hot and heavy. She just likes to do things FAST.

We worked on the target box for a short time, with me doing multiple clicks/treats each time she got up; then I’d move away and click/treat when she got off the box and came to me. We repeated that set of maneuvers three times, then I said her time was up and headed to the kitchen. She started to follow me then whipped around and headed back. When I went back, she was sitting on the target table and I swear she was grinning. I of course clicked and treated with verbal praise (trying not to laugh). She wasn’t going to leave; the only way I could get her to follow me was to get the treat bag and shake it as I called her. I finally got her into the puppy yard but it was work getting her to stay in long enough to get Quayle out.

Quayle (Miss Pink) came into the house with me so that we got to the target table at the same time. She immediately went up to it and investigated it but was slow to offer to get up on it. When she did, she climbed up rather than jumped onto it. I had to keep walking around the box to get her to try to get up, but eventually she figured out that tonight the treats came when she was on the box.

We then did three rounds of the puzzle. She was more methodical than Quayle and mainly used her nose. Without her foot undoing what her nose accomplished, she managed to get most of the treats much more easily than Quip had done. It’s so fascinating to see the different approaches. Tomorrow night they may be the exact opposite in their approaches.

We finished with more table work, with her more willing to get up on it but never jumping on it as Quip had done. When it was time to quit, I grabbed the treat bag and shook it rather than expecting her to follow me. She came willingly and I managed to get her back into the puppy yard more easily than her sister.

I left them about an hour before I took out their supper, so they’d reflect on what we had done.

94 Days (6/29) They’ve outgrown their collars so I ordered new ones. Before they got them dirty or chewed on them as they wrestled or played tug, I took photos so I could update their page on my website. Today, though no rain is forecast, we have low, dark clouds, so I took the girls out for photos first thing, in case it was raining by the time Mercy’s playtime came around. Cloudy weather, with no shadows, is better for photography anyway, especially with these very dark girls.

By their playtime, the sun was in and out of the clouds – very difficult photography. I did manage to get some decent shots.

They again came inside for Mercy’s and Cantor’s afternoon rotation. These are becoming really, really relaxing, peaceful times as they just enjoy hanging out in the air conditioning with their parents and me or gently wrestling with each other. I had to chuckle at tough-guy Cantor. He would walk up to one of the pups, holding his bone as always, and gently push it towards her, obviously inviting her to take it. She’d respond by trying to take one edge and tug. Sometimes he’d even let her have it and off she’d go with her treasure, sometimes bringing it and showing it to me, just like her dad does, other time settling down to chew. Then he’d often go find another bone and come lie down by me to chew on it. Other time he’d engage in a mock wrestling battle with one of the pups. He often invites them to chew on and crawl over him. It’s amazing to see him so gentle. Mercy, on the other hand, hardly ever checks in. She’s glad to let dad handle the babysitting for a change.

I had planned to do a clicker session with each girl tonight but I got busy editing the photos I took this morning and then my energy just left in a whoosh. Instead, I took them their supper and went to bed earlier than usual.

93 Days (6/28) Yesterday I caught a stomach bug so today was pretty boring for all the dogs, no ball sessions or any other excitement. The pups, however, thoroughly enjoyed being in the house in the air conditioning this afternoon with Cantor & Mercy. Yesterday was the first time it had been hot enough to turn on the AC but by the time I brought the pups in when the worst of the tummy upset was over, it was cooling off enough that I’d turned off the AC. The pups were so happy they didn’t get into anything but either rested, quietly played with Cantor or chewed on a bone. They weren’t thrilled when I had to put them out in order to rotate some other big dogs out of their crates.

Tonight the group trained but I was still feeling too weak to go, so neither pup got to go have an adventure.

I did do their individual training sessions. I started with a dog puzzle, a flat wooden square that has 6 holes to put treats, each having a door over it that must be slid open to get the treat. Three are along one side of the box and three more on the opposing side. The slide on one moves to the middle and pushes against the slide on the opposite side so it’s easy to get them pinned closed if you don’t change sides. I had a couple of pieces of roast beef so I used bits of that. There was enough beef that each pup could search 4 times for six treats each time. I cracked each sliding top just a bit t give them a little traction in the beginning since they tend to get on top of things and of course can’t move the slide with their body or even a foot holding it down. I then put the tub down and saw how easily they would get their front feet on it. That done, we ended with the cardboard box, seeing how quickly they would get in it and sit. As before, I used the clicker and my homemade turkey treats for those two exercises.

Quip (Miss Yellow) got to come in first. She of course smelled the beef but had a hard time figuring out how to get to it. She usually had a foot on the slide, so I had to help her a bit by opening it enough that she could get her nose close enough to the edge to push it open. She was very excited, tail wagging madly, all over the board with no method to her madness. She’d get a couple of treats and look to me for help, so I’d have to point to one that she had missed. On the last set she finally calmed down and began using a little method to her search.

Quayle (Miss Pink) started off much more methodical and actually moved to the other side of the puzzle as she searched. She used her nose/head rather than her feet and found many more than Quip without my help.

Both girls were reluctant to put their feet on the tub, mainly I think because they want to look at me rather than turn away. That’s not a bad thing – eye contact is fantastic – but I’d like them to learn to freely offer behaviors until the clicker tells them that behavior was the one I wanted. I eventually held a treat on the other side of the tub, at which both girls immediately put their feet up on the tub and stayed there while I clicked and treated several times, Neither got off the tub until I lured them off so they’d try again. Quip would get on the tub if I held a treat, but Quayle, after a couple of times, would get up without my having a treat but merely holding my hand past the tub. Quayle was funny because at the beginning, while she was still concentrating on giving me eye contact, she fell over the tub and accidentally put her feet on the tub and stayed there as she recovered her balance – and of course I clicked, treated and gave enthusiastic voice praise. It didn’t seem to connect, though, because I still had to lure on later attempts.

Both girls remembered the cardboard box and quickly got in; I did only one click/treat when they looked at it, one when they got a foot or two in it, then clicked and treated repeatedly when they got in and, eventually, sat. Neither girl wanted to get out of the box when we were done. They were so cute sitting there and trying to peer around the corner as I walked into the kitchen. I had to come back and show them the treat in my hand that I give when I put them in the puppy yard. I put Quip in the yard and helped Quayle over the bottom gate but Quip slithered over before I could close the gate and headed back into the house. I had to pursue her and then carry her out to the puppy yard. She’s too heavy for that!

When Quayle was done, I lured her with the treat and managed to get her into the yard without Quip escaping. I left them for 10 minutes so they’d ponder their training session. Then I let Cantor & Mercy out for their evening rotation and let the pups out, too. The last couple of days I’m noticing a new maturity in the pups: sure, they race around a bit with their parents, but more and more they come seeking attention, sitting quietly by my side to get some loving, then lying down nearby just hanging out with me. They really are sweet pups.

When the session was over, I put them, with their supper, in the puppy house and left them for the night.

92 Days (6/27) The mosquitoes have come out in full force so I got some Advantix to put on the pups. It repels mosquitoes and biting flies, which is what I fight here (as well as ticks and fleas, which aren’t a problem).

The day warmed up quickly after a warm night and with a forecast of 91 degrees. The girls didn’t do much barking at the gate as I took big dogs out for ball sessions so they got lots of treats. By the time it was Mercy’s and their turn to play, they were showing they weren’t used to the heat. They only chased her a couple of times and spent the rest of the session either hanging out in the shade by my chair or proudly bringing me toys to look at. They chased Mercy a few times as I did poop detail and threw her ball out of the puppy yard into the play area but then stretched out under my chair.

Tonight, when I brought each girl individually, a small rubber horse feed tub (11″ diameter, 3″ high), upside down, greeted them. My goal was to get them to put both feet on it. I began by clicking each time they looked at it. Neither showed any interest in the tub until I began placing the treat on it after I clicked then they seemed to get th idea. Not much desire to offer behaviors tonight from either. They seemed reluctant to do anything more, so I ended up holding a treat out so that the logical way to it was over the tub, then clicking as they got one, followed by the second foot on it. I continued to click and treat as long as they stood on it. Then I put it away and threw the ball for them to relax their mind before proceeding to the grooming table. A few clicks to reinforce that it was a nice place, then I trimmed their nails with the clippers (not the grinder). After that, another session with the tub ended the session.

When I went out to get my first volunteer, Quayle (Miss Pink) “fell” over the gate in her haste to get to me, so I started with her. Of the two, she was more reluctant to interact with the little tub. She’d look at it, get one click and treat, then run over to visit with one of the dogs in their crate, then back at me to sit and give me attention but totally ignore the tub. After doing that 4 times, she lay down near the tub and looked at me, then acted like she was just going to take a nap. I got the ball out and we played ball for a while until it rolled into the bedroom by Lively’s crate and she barked. I got it and put it up, then lifted Quayle onto the table, clicking and treating to remind her that it was a good place to be even though it was off the ground. Then I trimmed nails, each time clicking and treating after I did a nail. She was amazingly good about it, not happy but only squirming a little. When we finished, I offered another ball session but she wasn’t interested so we did another session with the tub and finally I was able to lure her to put her feet on the tub. I clicked and treated as long as she stayed on it. When she got down and just sat and looked at me, I held out a treat near the tub and she got right up. We repeated this 4 times and called it a night.

Quip (Miss Yellow), on the other hand, showed immediate interest in the tub when I brought her in. She only diverted to visit the dogs crated in the living room (Spirit, Hesed & Mercy) once. She also willingly put her feet on the tub when I held a treat close to it. I again clicked and treated the entire time her feet remained on the tub. We did probably 5 of those maneuvers before I offered the ball. Tonight, unusually, she wasn’t as interested in the ball as Quayle had been. She only retrieved a few times before just watching it roll. I proceeded to the grooming table and ultimately to trimming her nails. Unlike Quayle (and Querida yesterday), she wasn’t going to let me do her nails, so we had a little lesson in accepting restraint. I had to really hold onto while I did one front foot and half the other, then all of a sudden she relaxed and only whined as I did the last of that front foot and both hind feet, of course clicking and treating and praising “Good toe!” each time. Done with that, we had another sort clicker/tub session. I put her out in the puppy yard and left both of them alone to reflect on their lesson.

Later, after I rotated the other dogs, I let Mercy and Cantor out and let the pups join them for 30 minutes putting them out with their supper and before heading for bed.

91 Days (6/26) People from Colorado arrived about 10:30, sooner than expected, to pick up Querida (Miss Green). The clicker work last night paid off when I trimmed her nails as she lay on the grooming table. She made no fuss at all, liking that much better than being held by someone as I did her nails.  

By the time they left, about noon, the temperature had risen enough that I did not go back to ball sessions. The pups and Mercy hadn’t had their ball time but they got to visit with Querida’s new family so I counted that as morning fun time.

Quayle (Miss Pink) got to go to nosework training last night. The girls have really been good, staying quietly in their crates around all the activity of dogs coming and going as we train. I make sure I gave her a treat each time I got one of my dogs out and when I put them back into the car, and when we finished she got to come out and visit with everyone as we picked up the hides and cones. Quip (Miss Yellow) was VERY glad to see us when we got home. That was her first time alone in the puppy yard.

90 Days (6/25) When I came out with Quasi for his ball session, my mind was busy and I forgot to grab a handful of treats. I was brought back to the present by a little “Hello?” and looked up to see all three pups lined up at the gate. As soon as they made eye contact with me, all three began wagging their tails as if reminding me of my responsibilities. I quickly reversed, dove into the house, grabbed the treats and came back out to reward them for being quiet. Their play session with Mercy was next. After that, they were content to snooze in the shade and didn’t even come to the gate when I went out with Lovely and then Cantor.

This afternoon I let them out when Cantor and Mercy had their hour-long session to play and visit. They raced around and played with their parents for a while, and somebody grabbed the fireplace brush again. I didn’t see who; just heard the clatter as the handle hit the floor and jumped up to rescue it. After the first 20 minutes I took them out to potty, then we came back in. They then were content to stretch out by my chair as I worked on the computer. I let them sleep until time to put Mercy & Cantor up and fix the big dogs’ supper, then put them out in the puppy yard for an hour before doing their individual clicker training sessions.

I had brought the grooming table out of the whelping room this afternoon, so before I brought a puppy in tonight I set it up and put the Dremel grinder on the edge.
Quayle (Miss Pink) was my first volunteer. She immediately interacted with the box, but for a while gave me eye contact, then looked into the box, then eye contact, so quickly that it was hard to time my click for when she had her attention on the box. She’s very fast in offering behaviors in a stream; the only one of the three who does that. It didn’t take long for her to get two feet, then three feet, then with a rush her whole body into the box. She also sat, at which I began clicking and handing her treats as fast as I could – these pups fill the box when they’re in it so there’s no way to toss the treat into the box then. She wiggled so much that she turned the box on its side and spilled out, but she soon got back in. At the end, I had to lure her out of the box with a thrown treat so we could move on to the grooming table.

I put the box away, lifted her onto the grooming table and began clicking and putting treats on the table. Once she was comfortable being up high, I turned on the grinder and left it sitting on edge of the table, where it vibrated and made a lot of noise. She was leery of it and backed away but I supported her so she didn’t fall off, the whole time clicking and putting a treat on the table in front of her. As she relaxed, I put the treats closer to the grinder until she would take them from a couple of inches away. I then turned off the grinder and continued to click and treat a little bit before praising her and lifting her onto the floor; then I took her out to the puppy yard to think over what she had experienced.

Querida (Miss Green) was my next volunteer. As soon as I put the box on the floor, she began climbing in, taking maybe 30 seconds to get totally in and sitting down facing me. I clicked and handed her treats for a couple of minutes, then lured her out with a thrown treat. As soon as she ate that treat, she rushed back to the box and soon was sitting in it. After a lot of clicks and handed treats, I lured her out again and picked up the box while she was searching for the thrown treat.

I then picked her up and put her on the grooming table. Of the three, she was most bothered by the height. It took more clicks/treats than Quayle needed to relax on the table. When I turned on the grinder, she didn’t like it at all. She tried to ooze away from it and it was all I could do to block her body with mine so she didn’t fall off. She wanted to face away from the grinder as far away as she could get. She kept turning her head to watch the grinder, making little noises to show her displeasure, so suspicious that it took her about a minute to begin to eat the treats I placed on the table as I clicked. She finally started eating them but interspersed close watching of the grinder between accepting each treat. Eventually she consented to turn so she was facing the grinder and then it took time before she would reach forward for a treat. Eventually she began taking them warily as I placed them relatively close to the grinder. Finally she even reached out her nose and touched the grinder, for which I really clicked/treated and praised. I then turned it off and continued to click and treat until she quit complaining and, eventually, relaxed, though she kept an eye on the grinder in case it would come on again. I then lifted her down and took her out to the puppy yard.

Quip (Miss Yellow) immediately interacted with the box but she, like Quayle, wanted to watch me. She soon remembered that treats came when she did something with the box and began putting her front feet in it, then getting out and running over to visit with Hesed (in her crate), then back to me, then finally back to the box. It didn’t take too long before she got 3 feet in and then all four. Then she, too, sat facing me, wiggling all over. She wagged so hard she turned the box over on its side and fell out. It’s very hard not to laugh when they do things like that, but I continued to keep my mouth shut and just use the clicker as a reinforcer for good choices. She quickly got back in and sat and this time held still enough that the box stayed put and I was able to click and hand her treats for a good time.

I lured her out of the box with a thrown treat, praised her, then picked her up and put her on the grooming table. She was pretty blasé about being up high; in fact I had to watch her as she wanted to bounce around. After she began calmly picking up the treats as I clicked and placed them on the table, I turned on the grinder. The noise and vibration didn’t bother her and she ate treats placed close to the grinder. After a bit I turned off the grinder and continued to click/treat for another minute or so before putting her down and then taking her out to the puppy yard.
I waited about an hour to take out their supper as I wanted them to have plenty of time to think about what we’d done.

89 Days (6/24) They’re getting really good at being quiet in the back yard as I do the big dog ball sessions. The only time thy bark now is when I bring a new dog out. They’ll race to the gate to the back yard, which is close to where we come out of the house, and put up a terrible racket. Today I began working on that. If they screamed like banshees, I told them “Yuck! Bad puppies.” If they were quiet, I went over with a handful of the Royal Canin and threw it over the gate. They love the search game and would wildly sniff all over in the grass to try to get the food before one of the others did. It’s a great diversion from barking – if you’re eating, you can’t make noise. By the time I went out with the third dog, they were beginning to figure out the new game and would come racing to the gate and sit, watching closely as I approached for my hand to come out and deliver treats. As I approach I’m saying in a very pleased voice, “Good Quiet! What good girls. Good Quiet!”

During playtime, Mercy keeps playing keep-away with the ball (avoiding the pups who try to get it out of her mouth) and doesn’t want to get very close to me to drop it. Invariably she’ll drop it and, before I can reach for it, a pup has it. Usually it’s Quayle (Miss Pink), and most of the time she brings it, if not TO me, close enough that I can capture it. Mercy has decided that the best time to give me a ball is while I’m doing poop detail in the puppy yard (with the pups blocked out of course). I’ll throw it over the fence into the ball area and she flies around, jumps the bottom of the puppy gate, races out to the yard and searches for it, all the while with three pups in hot pursuit.

Quip (Miss Yellow) got to go to nosework training tonight. She was really good! I had planned to get out the grooming table and clicker train the pups with it tonight, since they’re now too heavy to hold while doing toenails. I also want to start using the Dremel grinder instead of nail clippers. Of course I’ll have to get someone to come help me, but I thought I’d at least acclimate them to sitting on the table and hearing the grinder whine. However, when I went to get it out of the back room, I realized it was in the whelping room holding the clean and sack of soiled newspapers for the RR litter. I didn’t have the energy to move everything around – I’ll do it tomorrow and work the pups on this new experience tomorrow night since we don’t have training.

88 Days (6/23) The pups thought the newly mowed area was fantastic. The first time Mercy raced after her ball, all three took off after her, Querida (Miss Green) in the back because she’s a little portly. They chased her all the way out and they didn’t come back as usual. I couldn’t see them due to the spruce trees, but Mercy came back without them. They obviously found something fascinating in the “new” area. This went on for quite a while until they tired, at which point each grabbed a toy and plopped down close to my chair in the shade. At one point they were in a line, all curled the same way and all heads pointing the same way as they watched Mercy jump into the sheep pool. When she came back to us, they jumped up to greet her and chased her once more before collapsing. Today the toy of choice was the latex squeaky, the toy they’d been totally ignoring for several days. Querida grabbed it and settled down with it, to be soon disturbed by Quayle (Miss Pink) who stole it from her. About that time, Mercy’s session ended and I picked up the toys, but 2 were missing. Someone had obviously packed them off while chasing Mercy and then got distracted sniffing and dropped it. I didn’t see them when I did the ball area poop detail after throwing Lovely’s ball, but hopefully they’ll soon show up.

I brought each pup in separately tonight for some clicker work. First we worked on not jumping on me but sitting quietly. Then I presented them with an open cardboard box that was just large enough for them to fit inside. At first I clicked when they looked at the box, then clicked when they put their head in, then clicked as they put feet in, each time tossing the treat in the box. My goal was to see if I could get the pup to decide to get entirely into the box and stay there.

Quip (Miss Yellow) was my first volunteer. She raced ahead of me into the living room, obviously looking for the pool. Not seeing it, she raced back to me as I headed to a chair and sat down. She only offered t climb up on my lap once before remembering the previous lesson and sitting expectantly, waiting for the click and treat. To get her to look away from me and notice the box, I had to move it around a bit. She took a while to associate the click with the box and to notice the treat was in the box. Instead, she wanted to continue sitting facing me and giving me eye contact. Once she realized this was a new game, she had fun trying to figure it out, tail wagging wildly the entire time. She took a while before she got her whole body in the box but, once she did, she sat and gazed expectantly at me. I clicked and treated a lot for that. Then, when I quit and verbally praised her to end that experience, she jumped out and came to sit in front of me. She never did engage with the box again so we ended the session, with me praising her all the way out to the puppy yard, giving her a couple of treats before putting her inside.

Querida (Miss Green) was my next volunteer. She, too, galloped ahead of me to the living room and returned to me when the pool wasn’t there. She was immediately interested in the box and began putting her head and a foot inside. She thought the treat going into the pool was neat and would search intensely for it. Whatever part of her body she had inside it – for a while it was her two front feet, stayed in the pool but her head swung around to ask me why more treats weren’t coming. It didn’t take a long time before her whole body was in the box. She had trouble maneuvering so she could sit but did it and looked proudly at me. Again I jackpotted (multiple clicks/treats) her for that. I finally had to lure her out of the box with my voice and a treat, and no sooner had she sat in front of me and received the treat, then she turned back to interacting with the box and soon was back in it. By that time I had used all my treats so I headed to the kitchen to cut up a few more. She came with me, then turned and raced and got into the box. I hurried into the living room, clicked and treated several times, then went back to the kitchen. She waited in the box. As soon as I cut more treats I again rewarded her in the box and finally lured her out. She sat and gave me eye contact for a couple of clicks and treats and then clambered back into the box. I thought it was high time to end the session but she didn’t, so it took me a bit to lure her out of the box and down the hallway. She, too, got some treats just before I put her in the puppy yard.

Quayle (Miss Pink) immediately noticed the box and swatted it with a front foot so that it turned over onto her. Undeterred, she let me put it back on the floor and pushed it with her nose. Of the three, she took the longest to notice the treats were going into the box, instead giving me eye contact and watching my hand, expecting it to come forward with her treat. She jumped into the box, getting her whole body into it much quicker than the other two, but it looked like an accident as she didn’t again offer the behavior even though I jackpotted her until she jumped out. She moved much faster, offered behaviors faster, but didn’t seem to be thinking/learning that the click happened when she got part of her body into the box. Her actions seemed more random than those of the other two, perhaps because she was bouncing around and offering them more quickly. It was quite a while before she totally got into the box again, at which time I jackpotted and praised and ended the session, heading down the hallway to put her up, too.

It was fascinating seeing the difference in approaches between the three sisters.

87 Days (6/22) Finally, a day without rain, though dark clouds threatened all morning. We got all the ball sessions done. Hurrah! The pups are more and more seeing Mercy’s ball session as a time to interact with me. Even though putting them in the back yard during everyone else’s ball sessions sees them quiet and relaxed rather than barking and running the fence, they still are calmer during their and Mercy’s play session. They’ll chase her occasionally but usually grab a toy and contentedly hang out around my chair.

By late afternoon things had dried out enough that I was able to mow the back ball area. This is earlier than usual but the grass was beginning to go to seed and it was so high, some clumps of grass up to 3′ high, that I was worried the dogs would get seeds in their ears. It will be interesting tomorrow to see what the pups think of the new open spaces.

They got an indoor time with their parents last night but no training as the mowing put me late doing rotations before bed. Tonight I did twenty-minute sessions since they seem to understand to go out to potty, and of course they go out a lot more on their own with Mercy & Cantor heading out frequently. After the initial noisy “growling” and putting puppies in their place – mom is really rough with them right now – they settled down to play quietly with Cantor, who lies flat on his side and invites them to some individual mouthing/singing time. It’s so cool to see him being so gentle and obviously enjoying the interactions. Mercy is very happy to let him have them and usually heads outside or hangs out by the doggie door on the rug there where the pups don’t notice her. We went out for potty time after the first twenty-minute session and the whole crew raced around like crazy, though they didn’t go far enough out for the pups to notice the newly-mowed area. After their second twenty-minute session, they were quite ready for me to fix their supper and put them out.

86 Days (6/21) I had agility class this morning so no ball sessions. Last night I asked the instructor if I could bring one of the pups to hang out in a crate while we trained and she said sure. I have 2 dogs in classes Thursday night and only one on Friday morning, so I had a free crate. I loaded Quip (Miss Yellow) and headed to class. She had a great time meeting everyone before we began training. And she was fantastic in the crate! When the first dog ran, an aussie that barks the entire time, she sat up straight, ears perked, and listened. She couldn’t see the dog except when it left its crate and then returned after its runs, but the noise sure got her attention. I praised her and gave her treats occasionally to let her know that was what I wanted. She was even quiet when I ran Spirit. The instructor stood by the crate and reinforced her being quiet with praise and treats and she was VERY proud of herself. When we finished, she got to visit with everyone again. She was very good at taking treats and usually even sat to be petted and fed. I couldn’t be happier.

This afternoon a friend stopped by on her way through town to play with the pups. They had a great time. They also showed their differences. Querida (Miss Green) spent the whole time visiting with Lynn. They had a great time showing Lynn their pool searches. Quip (Miss Yellow) visited and soon began looking for something to do, settling on attacking and trying to drag one of the dog beds around. (For evening playtimes I always put the beds up; I had left the beds down since I’d be supervising them.) Quayle (Miss Pink) visited with Lynn and me quite a while longer than Quip did but then began looking for something to do, ending up attacking the elevated dog bed. She bounced on it and then began scratching and biting at it. These elevated beds from K9 Ballistics are pretty much indestructible and she never managed to actually bite at the material, but she sure tried – and talked to it as she did so. We got a good laugh out of her.

After three separate rainstorms today, the clouds moved out and left us with a decent evening for training, so several of us gathered for nose work. Quayle (Miss Pink) got to go tonight. She was very good, staying quiet in her crate during training, then enjoying visiting with all of us as we picked up the hides and cones. My training friends went to the car and visited with her, giving her treats, when they weren’t working their dogs so she didn’t feel left out. 

Since they’d had so many treats today, I didn’t do a training or play session with them tonight.

85 Days (6/20) I let them out during Mercy & Cantor’s first-thing-this-morning rotation. Their parents are always wild after being crated all night so the pups got some good exercise chasing them and then playing with them Once they were satisfied, all five settled down and would come to visit me as I (as usual) worked on the computer editing puppy photos. The pups really want loving but I have to be careful how much attention I give them as they’re already quite bonded to me. I don’t want them to be so bonded that they don’t adjust easily to their new homes. It’s a real balancing act.

I put them out in the puppy yard when Mercy’s and Cantor’s thirty minutes was over. I did Berakah’s and Hesed’s ball session and the poop detail in all the big yards as usual, but before I brought Spirit out for her ball session, I put the pups in the back yard – treats thrown into the back yard for a search and a tug toy make the transition easy and fun for the pups. They have already figured out it’s no use running the fence and barking, so now they just bark at the gate as I bring each big dog out, then go back to playing or, as the morning progresses, lounging under the big shade tree.

They had a little more energy when it was their turn to be out with Mercy, which she wishes they didn’t so she can chase her ball in peace. Quip (Miss Yellow) and Quayle (Miss Pink) followed her out and back a lot more than they have lately. Querida (Miss Green) even chased her a couple of times. Querida has figured out that, with the others chasing Mercy, she has all the toys to herself. She was funny today, collecting the toys one by one and taking them to her favorite place in the shade against the fence where my chair usually is. Today is chilly and windy so I was still sitting in the sun, so I got to watch her antics. She ended up with all five of the soft toys in her pile, only leaving the latex toy. Most of the squeakers in the soft toys have now died, but the latex toy has a great, loud squeaker but I can’t get them to like it. They’ll come running when I make it squeak but none of them will pick it up and chew on it to make it squeak. So interesting.

Today was crazy. After my therapy dog visit, I had to go pick up the copies of the 3-4 months mailing and get them in the mail. I got home with just enough time to give the two small RR pups their afternoon special nursing session, then it was time for agility class. After class I had to get groceries as I was nearly out of everything – can’t run out of Tide for washing puppy rugs! It was after 8 p.m. when I got home and I just fed dogs, rotated out those who would be crated all night, and went to bed. Poor QQ’s, two nights in a row without their special time. I’ll try to make it up tomorrow.

84 Days (6/19) All three pups were such monsters during Spirit’s ball session, barking fiercely at the fence, that, before I brought Lively out, I moved the pups to the back yard, on the other (south) side of the puppy yard. They were not pleased and barked for a bit, but soon gave up since they couldn’t chase alongside the big dogs.
I had intended to take Quale (Miss Pink) with me when our nosework group trained at 6 p.m. tonight, but about 5 p.m. we had the first of a whole series of violent thunderstorms move in. In fact, I never even got to bring the pups inside, because every time I started to set up to bring them in individually for another clicker session, the heavens opened again. I finally gave up. Poor pups; I’d hear them playing during the brief breaks between downpours but I couldn’t make it outside to bring one in before the next storm dumped.

83 Days (6/18) We had a fun playtime this morning. These pups get more affectionate by the day.

Tonight I brought each in individually. First we had a “get down” lesson. This is the jumpingest bunch of pups, so competitive that it’s very hard to work on this when they’re together. So we started off working on sitting quietly for attention, with me rewarding their efforts to control themselves with pieces of beef roll, which they love. When they calmed down, I introduced the clicker.

These pups have fantastic food drive so they thought that was pretty cool. The clicker is what we call a secondary reinforcer, the noise meaning “That was the right choice and a reward is coming.” You first click and treat repeatedly so the pup associates the click with reward. Then you begin coupling it with behaviors a pup offers, such as a sit (or for this bunch, not jumping on me). If you wish, as training progresses you can change the reward to something other than food, such as a toy. The beauty of the clicker is that it’s totally different from anything the pup knows and it instantly lets the pup know it’s done right. After some clicker work, we played retrieve in the house with a tennis ball. Then we did a few more click and treats, and I put that pup out and brought in another. Miss Yellow retrieved the ball the most, followed by Miss Pink. Miss Green retrieved a few times but much preferred to sit by me and get petted.

82 Days (6/17) We managed to get all the ball sessions done just before it rained. Hurrah!! I took new toys for the pups during their and Mercy’s session, but they were still more interested in either hanging out with me for some loving or chasing their mother. They are very cute, tough, because they’ll grab a toy (such nice full bites all three have!) and proudly bring it to me, offering it to me before settling down nearby to make it squeak 0 or play tug when another grabs them. They still much prefer the soft toys to the latex toys.

Having gotten the daily rain out of the way, the skies cleared and gave us a great evening for training dogs. Our nosework group met and I took Miss Green along with the two big dogs I was going to train. She had a lesson in sitting quietly in the crate while all of us trained (5 dogs total), doing two searches for each dog. Then she got to come out to visit with the three other trainers – including two guys which was fantastic because my pups haven’t seen many young, active men. She got to follow us around while we picked up the scent hides and distractions and thoroughly enjoyed herself. I had decided

I’ve been thinking, since these three have stayed so long (an unusual occurrence as most are sold before birth) that I should pick out call names for them, but I’ve been so busy with both litters that I just haven’t sat down and thought about names. It was a little embarrassing tonight when my friends asked Miss Green’s name and I had to go through the whole story of calling them by their collar colors because no one ever keeps the names I give them here. That inspired me, tonight while they were having their playtime, to get out my list of suggested “Q” names for their registered names and decide on call names.

I chose “Querida” for Miss Green because she has become such a sweet, loving pup, wanting to please and very proud when she learns something (such as don’t jump on me, which the other two struggle with). For Miss Yellow, I chose “Quip” because she’s always talking. Then I struggled with a name for Miss Pink that would sound totally different from the other two so it would be easy for me to remember the different names. I finally ended up choosing “Quayle.” (I really wanted to call her “Quick” as she’s such a bouncy, happy girl, but that’s too close to Quip.) Now to start learning to call them these names!

It was after 8 before I got home from training, so after giving Querida a chance to rest a bit – and potty – after her adventure, I brought them in for their playtime. I let Cantor and Mercy out, too, and all of them had a great time playing. I’d hear squeaks every so often and double-check Cantor wasn’t being too rough, but it’s more their mother teaching them manners – which she’s doing quite enthusiastically right now – than him running over them. We just did 30 minutes tonight since it was late and I had all the other dogs to rotate before bedtime and the special nursing session for Lovely’s two small males. When the timer went off after the second fifteen-minute period, I fixed their supper and put them out to eat and go to bed.

81 Days (6/16) The pups are so busy chasing the big dogs during ball sessions that, by the time they come out with Mercy, they don’t chase her much. She’s quite relieved as the three, big as they are now, do tend to keep her from concentrating on her ball. We lucked out and finished their ball session just as it began to rain. I even finished their yard’s poop detail before it began pouring. Amazing!

We ended up having 3 big rains during the day but we lucked out that they were dry for this evening’s playtime inside. They were monsters tonight, getting into everything, grabbing things and running off with them – a sign that I need to do something different. Tomorrow somehow I’ll find time for individual sessions and, hopefully, a socializing walk for at least one (although we have another high rain forecast for Monday).

80 Days (6/15) The pups had a pretty normal day – out for play with toys and their mom during Mercy’s morning ball session, then an evening indoor playtime with the search pool and toys provided. I need to start doing some individual work with each one. I tried to get the two girls who worked with the LL litter pups to come work with these three, but they have jobs this summer and no time. It’s better to have other people working with them since they’re already bonded enough with me and that seems to help them transition better into their new homes, but since that’s impossible I guess I’ll have to start their training. I’m trying to figure out how to fit those sessions into my day – it may have to wait until the RR litter passes the critical first week and I no longer have to do special nursing sessions for the two very small pups. The days are definitely racing past now with two sets of pups plus ball sessions and nosework training on the big dogs, not to mention therapy dog visits.

79 Days (6/14) This morning’s agility class was cancelled due to the instructor being called out of town. Since we had a very warm night and hardly any dew, and we have 50% chance of rain today, I decided to mow. I did Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session and picked up poop in the yards, which are what most need mowing. Next I let Mercy & Cantor and the puppies out and did poop detail in the puppy yard before starting the riding mower. With the expanded puppy yard blocking access to the front and back yards, I must mow that who batch at the same time. It took nearly two hours so the pups had plenty of time to play and race around. For a while they chased their parents, the once they tired they headed to their lounge area. That surprised me since I thought they’d go inside my house, but they were very good little girls. They came out to greet me once I turned off the mower. I got the treat jar and gave them a bunch of treats to eat as I closed them in their yard.

Since they had parent time this morning, tonight they got playtime by themselves and enjoyed the search pool and toys. They are so cute as they keep bringing me the toys and showing them to me. They get that from their dad and I love it as they wiggle their way to me with their treasures, show them to me and then collapse at my feet to play with them.

78 Days (6/13) I was throwing the ball for Lively, with all 3 pups lined up at the fence watching, when a plane went overhead, pretty low and quite noisy. We’re near the airport but seldom do the planes take off and head east, over my place. I had to laugh as all tree pups stopped what they were doing, looked up and followed the plane until it was out of sight. Synchronized movement. So funny!

I keep forgetting to note that for the last week or so I’ve been seeing a big change in Miss Green. Before, she was quite independent. Since the first four pups left, she has been much more interested in hanging out with me and visiting – and making sure I notice how good she’s being. I noticed it more after Miss Red left, so I’m thinking she’s one who doesn’t like crowds and shows more of herself when there’s less competition. She’s definitely enjoying the smaller bunch as it offers more opportunities to hang out with me by herself.

Miss Pink got to go to visit the Alzheimer’s Unit this afternoon. She had a great time playing and visiting and did great walking on leash. One of the residents who really likes the dog visits had had a bad fall and been transferred to the therapy wing. We trooped to her room and Miss Pink willingly got on her bed and loved on her for quite a while. The woman was thrilled that we hadn’t forgotten her and said the visit made her day. We then walked back down the hallway to get out the door closest to where I was parked, visiting more people on our way. By that time she’d been in the nursing home for 45 minutes and was still going strong. Good girl!

I brought all of them in for over an hour tonight. They really have the potty sessions down pat, potting as soon as we get outside and then waiting for me to head back into the house. Towards the end of the last session, I heard noise in the living room and looked up to see a couple of pup around the elevated dog bed, so I decided they must be trying to drag it around. It’s indestructible so I ignored it. A few minutes later here came Miss Pink proudly dragging the brush from my set of fire irons, holding it by the brush bristles with the end bouncing along behind her and the other two pups, Cantor and Mercy in hot pursuit. By the time I got up and gave chase, she was down the hallway. She even managed to get it through the doggie door and was heading down the steps when I got to her. She was VERY proud of herself! Thankfully, the timer went off about that time so I was able to grab the treat jar and put them outside before she could cook u any more mischief.

77 Days (6/12) I just got done cleaning the whelping room and settling the new family by 6 a.m., so I fed the pups before taking a nap after my all-nighter.

This afternoon when I brought them in for their play session, I wormed them. During their first 15 minutes inside, they were pretty wild, playing with Cantor, but after our first potty session all three stretched out at my feet as I tried to catch up on this diary as well as work on the RR litter diary. I didn’t set the timer but just let them nap.

I was working on the birth account for the RR litter diary and had to get up to get the notes about her morning/evening temperatures during the countdown to whelping, which were in the bedroom. That, of course, got Cantor and Mercy bouncing around and woke the pups so they’d need to potty. I took them out the door into the front yard and had to laugh because the change in routine made them forget to potty. They had to wander around and sniff quite a while before all three managed to pee so we could come back inside. They immediately stretched out and again went to sleep.

I lost all track of time as I worked on getting the RR diary on the website and changing all the pages connected to it to reflect the fact that the pups had arrived. I was just finishing when I noticed the pups were getting into things. I had left them inside too long. One had grabbed my package of mailing envelopes; another had grabbed my package of regular envelopes and was shaking it so envelopes flew everywhere. They hadn’t made a peep, the little monsters. I rescued my office materials, grabbed the treat jar to get their attention and marched them out to the puppy yard, scattering treats inside the gate so they were happy to go inside and search for treats. They’d had over 2 hours inside, which made up for yesterday.

76 Days (6/11) Woke up to rain today but it cleared off so we got to do ball sessions. We weren’t quite done when my friend, Laurie, who now lives in Sundance WY, came to pick up Miss Red. She’s going to train her as a service dog so we’ll have one ready (or nearly ready) when people contact me wanting one of my dogs for a service dog. Over the last few years Laurie has trained two dogs for herself as service dogs and got really interested in training them. She took Jamboree (JJ litter, sister to Mercy so aunt to this litter) to train but fell in love with her and, when we had someone interested in Jamboree, decided she couldn’t let her go. Both of us are really excited about the incredible gift a service dog can offer to a person with a disability so we’re hoping this will work into a regular project – I’ll provide the dog and she provides the training, and in the process we bless someone’s life. Until she moved, Laurie worked with our local shelter, testing and training dogs to become service dogs for veterans, so she’s now had even more experience than she did 3.5 years ago when she stated Jamboree. Jamboree recently has added a new job to her repertoire: she is the first court advocacy dog in Wyoming, supporting children in abuse situations and training to accompany them when they must testify in court. I’m VERY proud of Jamboree & Laurie and was tickled when she said she would like to start working with one of the QQ litter. Laurie has started a training log for Miss Red (whom her husband named Quizz) and will send it to me weekly so I can put it on the website.

The QQ litter had an appointment at the vet’s this afternoon for their second distemper/parvo vaccination and to be weighed so I could worm them again for roundworms. I was able to arrange for Laurie to stop on her way out of town to get her shot. We went ahead and weighed her here so I could worm her. She weighed 19#.

I then took the other three pups for their shots. Each got to ride individually in a crate – they’re now too big to put two per crate so that was a new experience. They also went inside individually, on leash. All three did fantastic and were VERY proud of themselves as well as totally enjoyed all the fuss made over them. Miss Green weighed 29.6#, Miss Pink weighed 21.6# and Miss Yellow weighed 23.0#.

I had planned to worm them tonight when they came inside for their play session, but Lovely went into labor at 5 p.m. so they didn’t get to come in.

75 Days (6/10) Poor puppies felt abused today. They got their play session with Mercy this morning, but our nosework group trained tonight and it was too late when I got home to give them an indoor session. I had planned to take one pup with me to training, but yesterday morning a semi hauled away all the used cars from Fremont Toyota, which is where we had planned to work. We managed to find a different used car lot but it was small and on the busiest street in town, so I couldn’t take a pup. Hopefully the next time we work, I’ll be able to socialize one of the girls.

74 Days (6/9) 34 degrees this morning, rather nippy but at least it didn’t freeze. Luckily I haven’t even started doing any flower or tomato plantings. They left quite a bit of their supper last night. Of course I didn’t find that out until I took out their breakfast of 5 cups kibble plus 5 cubes of raw meat, but for lunch I’ll only offer 4 cups.

The sun was shining brightly and had it up to 50 degrees by 8:15 when I headed out with Berakah & Hesed for their ball session and big-yards poop detail. I turned off the furnace as I went out. By the time I came in, it was 55 and I took off the sweatshirt over my t-shirt. During Spirit’s ball session I had my chair in the sun (to the disgust of the pups who think I should sit by them), but at the end I moved my chair to the fence since it was now up to 60. The pups were not pleased when a brisk wind forced me to move back out into the sunshine.

I drained and refilled the sheep tank in the ball area, and while I was at it put a kiddie pool beside it and filled that, too. When the pups came out to play while Mercy had her ball session, they noticed it and went to it to investigate. After they’d run a lot and were hot, I lifted each one into the pool and splashed the water a bit to try to get them to play in it. None took up my invitation, though they didn’t seem to be too worried about being in it. When I did poop detail in their yard, I also dumped and refilled their kiddie pool and five-gallon water bucket.

We had another hilarious session tonight with Mercy, Cantor and the pups. The pups thoroughly enjoy interacting with Cantor as he’s not trying to teach them manners – like their mother is doing. They played and chased until they were exhausted and, by the end of the hour-long session, were sprawled at my feet. When the last timer went off they were quite happy to go to their yard. They crashed, even though it was still light outside. At bedtime, when I took out their supper, they devoured it.

73 Days (6/8) Very cool this morning after all the rain (and 90% chance today). The pups finished all 5 cups of tier kibble last night, so I again mixed 5 cups kibble with the 5 meat cubes for their breakfast. They cleaned that up.

I managed to get Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session, and poop detail in the big yards, done before it began raining. Spirit got her ball session in, too, but by the end the rain was increasing. I wanted to get the puppies’ yard picked up, and change the puppy house, so I brought Mercy out next. I didn’t throw her ball, just let the pups out and did their house and yard. By that time it was so chilly that I turned their heater back on and put down a second fleece pad so all could stretch out in comfort. Then I brought the very wet puppies inside for 45 minutes. I got out three frozen knuckle bones, mainly for the big dogs who were facing their second day in a row with no play. The puppies thought they were fantastic and chewed happily two to a bone (Mercy had the third), though they did leave them to go out for potty breaks. Miss Yellow had a hard time leaving hers. These are BIG bones, and I could hear it thudding on the floor as she tried to bring it outside with her. She finally gave up and came outside to join us just long enough to potty before rushing back inside. The others followed and again headed for bones.

The second time we went out to potty all four came willingly. By the third time the timer went off, they were tired out and willingly headed to their yard for a nap.

I brought them in again tonight, but this time Cantor as well as Mercy joined them. They immediately rushed him and totally ignored all his “growls.” They have him pegged for a big softy. After a chance to potty (and chase Mercy & Cantor as they raced around the back yard), we came inside. By this time, all the big bones had been separated into two pieces so there were plenty of bones for everyone. Miss Pink and Miss Green each grabbed a bone and settled down, while Miss Yellow and Miss Red stretched out beside my chair as I sat at the computer (editing another batch of puppy visit photos) and asked for tummy rubs. Cantor had let the pups take his bone and contentedly stretched out in the hallway where he could watch me. Every so often a pup would get up and climb over him for a bit before resuming what they had been doing.

When the timer went off, Cantor jumped up and started barking (his usual response) and Miss Yellow raced to bark with him. Then all headed outside in pursuit of their parents, who by that time were a couple of hundred yards away at a flat out gallop. Three went way out and then chased them as they galloped back, but Miss Green sat at my feet, watching them and preferring to get some loving. After Mercy & Cantor made a circle around us and headed way out again, the same three chased – Miss Red going the farthest – and Miss Green watched them. We trooped back inside for another 15 minutes. This time the pups soaked up more loving rather than chewing. By the time the timer rang the third time, they were sound asleep at my feet. Mercy was busy chewing on a bone, so only Cantor jumped up and raced out the doggie door. The pups followed more sedately, almost asleep on their feet, and quite happily headed for their yard, only waiting for me to throw some treats through the gate for them to go after.

At bedtime, I fed them and checked that the puppy house was comfortably warm since it could get down to 34 tonight or even frost.

72 Days (6/7) I decided to try 5 cups kibble with breakfast to be sure they’re getting enough food. They didn’t finish breakfast, so for lunch I gave them 4 cups. They again didn’t finish all of it, so 4 cups per meal must be just right for the daytime meals. We had a cool front move in last night so today is supposed to be in the 70’s (a great change from yesterday’s 88!) but with chances of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. I had agility class this morning and then lunch with friends, so we did no ball sessions this morning

I brought them inside this afternoon for time with me and with Mercy, since they didn’t have their time with her this morning. Just as I brought them in we had a terrific thunderstorm open up over us. I propped open the front door in the living room so they could go out to potty under the roof overhang. They went out, following Mercy. They were fascinated by the rain pouring out of the drain spout. We did three fifteen-minute sessions – thankfully it quit raining for the two potty sessions. After I put them out we had another big storm move through. The pups yelled at the gate wanting back inside until they got damp enough they decided I wasn’t coming out for them. They took shelter and peace descended.

When I brought them in tonight, I also let Cantor and Mercy out. It was interesting, since they had visited regularly through the fence, that Cantor was really nervous around them and they, him. We started off outside until everyone relaxed, then came inside. Of course, they continued the puppy jumping up to his face. which bothered him. He sounded like he was growling but I eventually figured out it was more muttering. They soon figured him out and began trying to play with him. Miss Yellow, naturally, would run up to him and bark. Miss Pink did, too. Pretty soon they were talking back and forth – very funny! I was impressed with how gentle he was trying to be with them. He never ran over one, which had been my worry. By the end of the fifteen-minute period, he was play bowing to them and even lying down to mouth gently with them. Mercy, meanwhile, was hiding in the living room chewing on an old bone in peace.

Of course when the timer went up, he jumped up and bounced around, Mercy joined him, and they did their usual flat-out run out the door and way out in the ball area. The pups followed at a dead run. I followed more slowly because I was laughing too hard to move fast. By the time I got out the gate, the parents were racing back while the pups still were trying to catch them. Amazingly, Cantor screeched to a halt when they got near and didn’t run over anyone. I was quite impressed.

They quietly mingled as a group for a few minutes while I gave the pups a chance to potty, then we all came inside. I threw some Royal Canin pieces in the living room and the whole bunch – parents & pups – raced around grabbing them. Then Cantor came and lay down in the little office and invited the pups to climb on him and continue playing mouth games – this time with no noise at all (not even from Miss Yellow). By that time the pups were tired and were content to lie around my chair except every so often one would go back and play with Cantor. When no one visited with him for a bit, he’d come close to my chair and lay down on his back, inviting them to come play. He again was amazingly gentle.

When the timer went off, he and Mercy barreled out the doggie door and out to the ball area. The pups, instead of following, turned right when they got off the deck and headed to the back yard, which is where we usually go to potty during these times. Mercy & Cantor came roaring to join us and quieted when they reached the pup, though they were still play-growling at each other and Cantor was herding Mercy around. It didn’t bother the pups at all. As soon as a couple had pottied they raced to join the others chasing their parents, having a great time. The other too soon split off and pottied before rejoining the chase. I headed to the house and the mob raced ahead of me and waited impatiently for me to throw more kibble on the floor. The pups had obviously seen through all Cantor’s bluster and were quite comfortable pestering both parents.

By the time the timer went off for the third time, the pups were pretty quiet. Their parents of course stampeded out for another mad dash way out in the ball area, but the pups noticed when I picked up their bowl of food which I had prepared before bringing them in. They were quite pleased to head to the puppy yard and into the puppy house for refreshment after all their activity. By that time it was nearly dark, so I only heard one comment that someone wanted back inside. I had laughed so hard I was definitely ready for a break, too.

71 Days (6/6) It warmed up very fast this morning and the pups spent more time resting in the shade than playing – or chasing big dogs as we did ball sessions. They really liked that, due to the heat, I had my chair in the shade by their fence during all the ball sessions and generally lay close so they could visit with me. They didn’t play a lot during Mercy’s ball session or while I cleaned the puppy yard.

All four pups who left had fecals that were clear of coccidia at their “Healthy Puppy” checks, but I didn’t want to assume the problem was over. I managed to get fecal samples from Miss Red & Miss Green today. I dropped them off at the vet’s on the way to Sheridan Manor. My vet called just as I arrived at the agility arena tonight and said both were clear. I’m very pleased. Hopefully, since the weather has dried out, we won’t have any more coccidia show up.

I was surprised when Miss Yellow bounced into the Alzheimer’s Unit and announced she was ready to play. She was full of energy and wagging her tail madly, so everyone laughed and that really energized her. She, like Miss Red on Tuesday, carried her leash as we walked from the car to the building but dropped it as soon as she saw people. She bounced around the room greeting people, showing them her toy and letting them pet her. She had fun retrieving the toys and also played tug with Joy’s keys on a lanyard. She also figured out how to take treats from people’s hands. She had totally refused to even look for a treat as I tried to use them when we got out of the car and she discovered she was leashed. Since today was our day to visit the entire building, after about 25 minutes I attempted to carry her around so everyone could pet her before I left the unit. She’s getting too heavy for that! And she wiggled too much (“Let me down.”) so I only managed to carry her to two people.

We went out to potty and then returned to walk down one big hallway of the nursing home. She threw a couple of bucking fits against the lead that brought chuckles from people. All of a sudden it was like a light went on and suddenly she gave to the lead and came up for a treat. From then on she kept track of me and came for a treat every time the lead tightened (usually when she saw a person). We visited with people in the front lobby and then in several rooms whose residents always want to see my dogs. By that time she’d been there for 45 minutes so I ended the visit by heading down the main hallway, which doesn’t have rooms but instead has the cafeteria and offices so there were few distractions. We were able to move rapidly (with her continuing to check in with me and accept treats and praise) to the outside door and to the car. She did super well but was definitely ready to get home and find a spot of cool shade and damp ground.

I brought them in tonight for playtime. Miss Yellow didn’t bark at the big dogs in their crates once! It was a little later than usual as I had had agility class, so we only did 30 minutes before I put them out with their supper. They were quite excited to find their search pool and toys when they thundered inside. In this heat they’re quite content with three meals a day — early morning and late evening when it’s cool; lunch around 1 p.m. – so for each meal I’m giving them 4 cups of kibble mixed with 5 cubes of meat.

70 Days (6/5) No rain last night and sunshine this morning, but big cumulus clouds were moving in fast, so I started mowing as soon as the dew dried off. That meant no ball sessions.
When it was Lively’s & Lovely’s turn to “help” with the mowing, I let the pups out, too. They greeted their great-grandmother and aunt, followed us a little ways, but the split off to go run and play while I headed to the agility field. One time while I was mowing they came to check in, so I got off the mower and gave them lots of praise. Then they moved off. They were having a great time bounding through the tall grass in the back part of the ball area. I leave that unmowed, letting the native wildflowers bloom and go to seed, until just before the 4th of July, when all the idiot neighbors set off way too many big firecrackers. Besides the noise, worrying about a fire keeps me awake, so I mow that area then.

After about 45 minutes, we took a break and I let the pups come into the house with the big dogs while they cooled off and I rested my feet. Lovely always hangs onto her ball until I crate her, and got crabby with the pups, so after she nailed two pups who got too close to her ‘treasure”, I put her up and just left them with Lively for the rest of the cooling off period so the would end on a happy note.

I had planned to let them out when Mercy & Cantor helped mow, but by then I was mowing between the two shelter belts where I’d be out of sight of the pups. I thought about doing Mercy’s regular ball session instead, but the clouds were building fast and quite dark, even dropping a few sprinkles, so I decided to continue mowing in an attempt to finish the first-time mowing of all the lush areas.

Since the pups didn’t get to spend time today with their mother, when I brought them in tonight I let Mercy out with them. They were quite unhappy when they raced into the living room to find no search pool, so I tossed a bunch of the Royal Canin kibble pieces on the floor. They had to compete with Mercy to get them but thought it was fun, so after both potty sessions I did the same.

Miss Yellow decided to bark at Spirit so, when she didn’t quit when I said “Quiet!”, I got up and got the squirt bottle from the bedroom. Just as I came into the living room, she raced up to Spirit’s crate and started barking, and I nailed her good from only 3′ away. Was she ever surprised – and insulted. I went back to the computer and sat down, praising her for being quiet, and she came in to get her praise close up. She didn’t try to bark again tonight. In fact, after our 2nd potty trip, I was again editing visit photo when I heard a little chirp. I looked around and she was sitting there, waiting for me to notice her being good. She got lots and lots of praise. Her great-great-great-great-grandmother, the original Glory, did that a lot. She had an impish sense of humor and was always pulling something. When she decided to be good, she made sure I noticed that she was. I remember one time several of us were practicing a group sit stay as we got ready to compete in obedience. She was in the middle of the line and sat like a rock for maybe 30 seconds (the novice sit stay is 1 minute long), Then she looked at the dog on her left, and the one on her right, came to me and turned around to watch them, saying without words but very obviously, “Those dogs are doing really well on their stays.” I responded, “But you’re supposed to be there doing one, too,” to which she did everything but point a paw to her chest and ask with bemusement, “Me? A dog? Do a stay?” I find it fascinating when personality traits from generations ago show up in my pups.

After 45 minutes, I put them out with their late supper. They were fading fast and offered no complaints about ending the day.

69 Days (6/4) Rain continued off and on all night but at least it wasn’t as dramatic as last evening’s. It cooled things off nicely, though, and remained pleasant throughout the ball sessions. I got three done before I moved my chair into the shade, back to the puppy yard fence. Miss Yellow and Miss Pink were funny They didn’t approve of me out in the sun and spent most of the time sitting staring at me, though occasionally they chased along the fence as the big dog took off for a ball. The other two hung out in the middle of the yard, under the tree and close to their pool. When I moved the chair into the shade, all four greeted me enthusiastically, pretty much saying that now I was where I belonged, where I could visit with them through the fence. Miss Yellow & Miss Pink continued to periodically chase the big dogs, while Miss Red & Miss Green concentrated on visiting with me.

Miss Red got to go to the nursing home today for a leash lesson. Her initial response to the leash was to hold it in her mouth all the way into the nursing home. I always park a ways from the door to give the pups plenty of chance to potty before we enter, but she was too busy prancing along with the leash in her mouth to bother to potty. I mentally crossed my fingers, glad she’d pottied well before I loaded her in the car. Once we entered Westview, she totally forgot the leash as she happily greeted everyone, residents and staff members.

Westview doesn’t have an enclosed Alzheimer’s Unit, so I start in the activity room and then walk the hallways, visiting rooms, until the pup gets tired. They had gathered quite a few residents in the activity room and Miss Red happily played for them for a good 15 minutes, retrieving and playing tug with the toys I brought. She would only retrieve with me but did play tug with several people. I’d roll the ball towards a resident and she’d let them pet her before she returned it to me. Then she let me carry her around from resident to resident and sat in several laps. Once we made the circuit of the room, we trooped outside for a potty break (what a good girl!).

As we reentered the building, she got to meet the maintenance man’s old, very shaggy, red mini aussie. The look on her face when she saw it was hilarious, as she wasn’t quite sure what all that hair was. Once she realized it was actually a dog, she visited happily. Then we walked the hallways and entered a few rooms to visit for another 20 minutes. Then she became restless so we headed to the car.

She still had an adventure in store before she got home: we headed to the recycling bins. Now that the weather is pleasant, I’m trying to catch up on my recycling – all those boxes that the dog food is shipped in had piled up when it was too rainy and I needed all four crates in the car to carry pups on visits. I have to take the back two crates out to have room to load boxes. She got to watch as I unloaded them – and other people parked on either side of me and busily unloaded their recyclables. Her little head was twisting every which way as she observed all the activity. She was quite ready for a nap when we finally got home.

We finally had a nice evening so our nosework group met to train. We had a great time, but it was late when I got home so the pups had no playtime in the house. They were not happy! I apologized, fed them and promised more attention tomorrow.

68 Days (6/3) Warm night and very warm day, up in the 80’s. The pups did better, so they must be getting acclimated. Miss Yellow and Miss Pink stationed themselves behind my chair in the shade beginning with Spirit’s ball session and again Miss Yellow tried to bark to make the big dog move. With the heat though, their chases along the fence became less and less enthusiastic. We lucked out for their play session, though, when a set of clouds moved in and dropped the temperature considerably. They played a lot more than yesterday.

The clouds rolled out by the time it was Lovely’s turn and the pups were quieter, content to try to grab her tail through the fence (unsuccessfully) as she sat by me. When Cantor came out, they were definitely quiet and just visited with him through the fence.

After Mercy’s ball session, when I did poop detail in the puppy yard, I emptied their pool and put it under a tree about midway in the main puppy yard, so it’s close to the obstacle course and new area. They spend a lot of time in that back area so it will help keep them hydrated in this heat. I moved their five-gallon bucket from close to the transition area, where it gets a lot of sun, to the shady north side of the puppy house, where I had had the pool.

When I brought them in tonight, Miss Yellow was a pest, barking at the big dogs in their crates. I recently moved Spirit into one of the living room crates as she was getting too wild jumping out of her previous crate onto my bed and then onto the floor. Miss Yellow noticed immediately that Spirit had replaced Lovely and has been teasing her; she pretty much ignores Hesed in the adjoining crate since Hesed has always been there. Tonight she was really obnoxious, barking and barking at Spirit, so I got out the vinegar spray bottle (1:4 vinegar/water mixture). It was beside my bed as I mainly use it when one of the crated dogs barks at one of the lose dogs as they come onto the bed to cuddle with me. I was able to use it right away as Miss Yellow decided to bark at Lively, whose crate was right there. The look on her face when I sprayed her body was hilarious, then she sniffed and sniffed. She decided to go bark at GloryToo, whose crate is on the other side of the bed, so I sprayed her again. That time she connected the spray with my command “QUIET!” and quit barking, so I praised her (“Good Quiet”). I got her again as she raced to bark at Spirit and she disgustedly turned away, jumped into the search pool and looked for any treats they had left earlier.

I came back to the computer. Sure enough, she decided to bark like an idiot at Spirit, so I sprayed her from the computer room. It barely reaches but I got close enough to make an impression. When she quit I again praised, (Good Quiet) and she came to me for more praise.

In their second fifteen-minute period in the house, they got an experience of real thunder (as opposed to the thunder on the noise CD’s I played for them weeks ago). A big thunderstorm moved in with all kinds of noise. Three of them were lounging in the computer room with me, but suddenly I knew who and where the fourth one was – Miss Yellow began barking at Lively. I quickly grabbed the spray bottle and quietly raced towards the bedroom and managed to spray her (and yell “QUIET”) while she was in there.

Then the heavens opened and a deluge with a lot of small hail stones descended. The four pups came into the computer room and looked at me, wondering what that new noise – all that hail on the metal roof over my mobile home made a lot of noise. Naturally, the timer went off during the hail, so we waited to have our second potty trip outside. As soon as it quit raining, we trooped outside to potty. Thankfully the hail was barely formed and didn’t survive to the ground. The girls looked up at the sky as thunder continued but calmly continued on and pottied.

We then came back inside. Miss Yellow tried one more barking session. I stood up and called “QUIET!!” and she quit, came to me and got tons of praise. I didn’t even have to grab the spray bottle. Lesson accomplished tonight; we’ll see if she remembers tomorrow.

When the timer went off, all four pups were fast asleep in the computer room; they never even flinched at the noise. As I was close to finishing editing one of the nursing home visits, I just let them sleep and continued to work. They were so happy being house dogs! They’d been in well over an hour when I finished my job and moved. I quickly fixed their late supper and put it out with them.

67 Days (6/2) We didn’t get the thunderstorms last night. Hurrah. It stayed warm and started warming up very fast this morning, so I was glad I mowed yesterday. The pups didn’t play as much as usual, preferring the shade. Miss Red & Miss Green were nowhere in sight as I exercised the big dogs. Miss Yellow loves to chase them along the fence and bark (high-pitched play bark) as the race for their balls, and was doing that this morning though less enthusiastically or noisily. She has Miss Pink running, too, though Miss Pink doesn’t bark.

By the time I brought Mercy out for ball time, it was 80 degrees (11 a.m.). Big cumulus clouds were rolling in and the humidity was high enough that all of us were drooping. They half-heartedly tried to get Mercy to let them nurse but it’s obvious she’s nearly dry. Three followed her out after her ball and spent a while wandering around in the tall grass, but Miss Green said now way and plopped down under my chair to hum as she chewed on a toy. The others joined her after a bit.

When I cleaned the puppy house I noticed they hadn’t finished their breakfast. With the heat, I doubted they’d eat much at lunch, so I only mixed 2 cups of kibble in with the raw. I waited to feed them until I finished all the ball sessions so that they weren’t racing along the fence after eating.

If we move straight into summer from winter, I’ll get up earlier so as to start ball sessions earlier.

During Cantor’s ball time, Miss Yellow & Miss Pink were once more on duty at the fence. Cantor likes to do two or three ball throws then plot down in the shade close to my chair to catch his breath. He refused to jump into the pool to cool off like most of the others. Well, that drives Miss Yellow crazy since he lies with his back against her fence. She’ll bark at him with her nose pressed against the fence as close to his back as she can get, trying to get him to get up and MOVE. She’s thrilled when he finally gets up, brings me the ball and races off.
Friends Marlene & Deborah came at 1:30 to play with the pups. They laughed and laughed at the pool search, and even videotaped it. I guess I’m going to have to get a BIG pool since there’s not much room for anything other than the four pups in the current one. The pups thoroughly enjoyed the visit; I think they’re having withdrawal since we finished their visits. They helped me trim toenails, and was that a battle. It took both of them to hold the pups still enough for me to do their nails, the little monsters.

I brought them in again tonight for 45 minutes. It was beginning to get dark and, finally to cool off, and they acted like they were about ready to crash. I had to use the Royal Canin dog food in the pool search because I’m nearly out of homemade treats and don’t have the ground turkey or molasses to make another batch. Chewy didn’t send my 2 rolls of Natural Balance Beef roll this week so, between training big dogs and puppies, I’m running short. I guess the beef roll has been discontinued, which is so disappointing.

After their second potty trip e, they came in for the pool search and then, as if someone had flipped a switch, they suddenly were full of life and took off racing outside to play – they must have just noticed how nicely it had cooled off. I worked on editing visit photos until the timer went off, then took out their supper, called them in from their ramblings in the ball area, and put them to bed.

66 Days (6/1) We woke up to sunshine through clouds, and it took forever to warm up and start drying things out. More rain was forecast, so instead of ball sessions we did “carry-your-ball-while-mom-mows.” Berakah & Hesed had their regular ball session so I could get poop all picked up. It still wasn’t drying up much, so Spirit had her ball session. By the time it was time for Lively’s session, the grass in the open was drying nicely, so I let Lovely out with her, gave them both balls, and fired up the mower. I couldn’t yet mow the yards because of all the shade there, so I started with the agility field. The pups had a great time following me along the fence line in the new area, which abuts the agility field. They’d race around the big gate to get to whichever section was closest to me as I mowed.

After 40 minutes, I was about half done (slow going with tall, thick grass), so I headed to the house to switch “teams.” As I left the field, the riding mower began acting anemic, like it was going to die. I slowly nursed it to the front where I keep it out of the weather. Nothing seemed amiss, so I thought I’d let it cool off in case it was too hot, though it didn’t seem so. I switched “teams,” letting GloryToo and Quasi out, and unhappily fired up my self-propelled mower and headed to the back yard.

After another 40 minutes, I was half done there. I put GloryToo and Quasi up and got Mercy out. I let the pups out and did poop detail in their yard, then decided to check the riding mower. It was still unhappy (Give me living things any day. I understand them. And of course the darned thing has to die on a weekend.), so I reluctantly refilled the little mower with gas and headed to the puppy yard. The pups were quite interested in the “new” mower, which makes a different sound. They also thought it was great fun to attack some low-hanging branches that I decided to cut off to make it easier to mow with the little mower. As I drug them out to the ball area (to be drug later to the brush pile), I had puppies attached, either lying on the branches or tugging fiercely. By this time the day was getting hot, so I really didn’t appreciate their “help.”

They followed me – Miss Yellow was especially persistent in trying to get as close to me as possible – as I mowed for a while and then took off racing around, grabbing tufts of grass clippings for keep-away games. Even though the yards had been mowed previously, all the rain had caused a lot of heavy growth and the mower kept getting clogged so I’d have to stop and clean out the grass. Ugh. It took 2 hours to get their yard done.

The pups thought the two hours of activity was just fine but towards the end were fading fast. In fact, when I headed towards the last patch, which happened to be close to the puppy house, all four were stretched out flat in the shade, fast asleep. Miss Red was so deeply asleep that I stopped the mower within a foot of her and called her several times to wake her up so she’d move! Did I ever get a dirty look before she gathered herself up and moved out of the way.

I had planned to have Cantor out with Mercy and the pups when I mowed but left him crated since the little mower needs so much more attention than the riding one – and I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on him. He likes the pups but is such a freight train I wanted, at least the first time, to keep a close eye so the pups didn’t get scared. Poor guy, he had to wait forever for his time out of the crate. In fact, I fed the dogs lunch, showered, and then let him and Mercy out while I tried to take a nap – or at least get off my poor, aching feet for an hour or so. I promised him he’d get extra ball time tomorrow.

I had planned to finish mowing the regular yards tomorrow but, as clouds began moving in, decided I’d better do it tonight. I gave my feet another hour of rest and worked at the computer, editing puppy photos. Then I finished the mowing (another hour, ugh).

After that, I brought the pups in for playtime. They had recuperated much better than I. In fact, I just had enough energy to sit on the floor in the living room and give them a chance for cuddle time. The monsters forgot all the work we’ve been doing on “don’t jump on me” and “don’t jump up with teeth” when I set on the floor, so we worked on that until they were able to quit competing for my attention and approach nicely for loving. We only did 30 minutes tonight, then I put them out and headed for bed.

65 Days (5/31) Today started out nicely warm and dry. When I got home from agility class I mowed a little before I had to come inside to be by the phone to hear when the truck arrived with my frozen dog food. I planned, as soon as I picked it up and got it safely in the freezer, to mow the yards, but as I waited, a thunderstorm moved in and got everything wet again. It never got warm enough to dry out enough to mow so I continued editing puppy photos.

This afternoon I let the girls in for their playtime and pool search. They wanted to visit more than play, bringing toys to me as I worked at the computer (editing puppy photos) and just asking for snuggle time. Each time I took them out to potty they went right away. They were being so sweet and good that I ended up extending their time inside to 90 minutes so they had enough visiting time.

They continue to clean up four meals of 3 cups kibble mixed with 5 cubes of raw meat. This in addition to the treats they get in the pool searches. I think they’re another growth spurt!

64 Days (5/30) It got pretty nippy during the night with no clouds to hold in the heat, but it warmed up fast this morning. I had hoped I could mow the puppy yard and back & front yards today but the ground is so wet still that it squelches and water comes up when I walk on it. Mowing would tear up the ground and make ruts. We have 40% chance of rain tomorrow but maybe I’ll luck out and it won’t rain until later.

The pups were out early and I watched them playing as I did ball sessions. They have a new wrinkle on their keep away game: now the pup with the toy often races around the big drive-through gate. If it’s lucky, its pursuer won’t make the turn so they can race up and down the gate before meeting at the end and racing off elsewhere. They also have decided it’s great fun, when they head back to the puppy house, to see who can get to the metal mesh steps and race up onto the roof over the transition/lounge areas. I couldn’t see who did it, but one skipped the first step and leapt onto the second so she could get up first.

When it was Mercy’s turn, I brought the camera out and took photos while the puppies played. I forgot to set my timer so I have no idea how long we were out there, but it was definitely over 15 minutes. We headed up to the house and then the pups played while I did poop detail in the puppy yard, but they were winding down fast and were quite ready to go into their yard when I called them.

I was supposed to visit the entire Sheridan Manor today and planned to take two pups – one to spend 30 minutes in the Alzheimer’s Unit and another to visit the rest of the nursing home, but just as I was heading outside to load the pups, they texted me that a big function was going on in the main area, so I just took one pup and visited the Unit only. They requested Miss Green, so off we went. The other three were not happy to be left, but she seemed quite pleased and showed no hesitation in following me around the house to the car, not even heading for parts unknown as she has done in the past. These pups are really getting good at going potty on command, and she obliged happily. She rode quietly alone in the crate in the car and took to the leash with no problems. I like to leash train my pups by doing individual visits to the nursing home because it seems logical to them to give to the leash and to walk with me. I took some of my homemade turkey treats for reward and she also got her first lesson in taking treats from the hand. She picked that up right away, too.
We had no trouble walking from the car into the nursing home, even maneuvering the doors gracefully – sometimes pups can’t figure out the glass doors and how to go around when they can see straight ahead, but she was a champ. She even waited for me to punch the code to open the door into the unit and then pranced down the hallway to the room where everyone was gathered. I then took off her leash and put down the two toys I had brought, squeaky tug toy and a ball. She immediately headed to visit the people who were bending forward, hands outreached, laughing and smiling. She was wiggling all over, totally unconcerned at being by herself. Such a good girl! She got to practice taking treats from many of the residents, and we also practiced have them call her to them. They had a little trouble calling loudly enough and in a high enough pitched voice to mimic me, but they had fun learning and she obliged every time she realized someone was calling her. We stayed for 35 minutes before I decided that was enough. I wanted her to still have enough energy to understand her leash lesson back to the car. She did great, rode home quietly and happily followed me around the house to the puppy yard without taking off for parts unknown. She did great! She was also ready for a nap, as it felt pretty warm by then and all of us were dragging in the unexpected heat.

I, too, took a nap, having been up late typing up the police/narcotics test results to get them on the website. I had agility class tonight and didn’t have time to bring the pups inside for a play time before that. Afterwards I had to make a trip to the grocery store and by the time I got home was too bushed for a pupy playtime; it took until nearly 11 to rotate out the big dogs for their before-bed cuddle sessions. I promised the pups they’d get lots of attention tomorrow as all that’s on my schedule is agility class in the morning. Then, hopefully, we’ll mow and they can be out the whole time I’m doing the puppy yard and back & front yards since their enlarged area is the only way to get the big mower to those yards. All this depends, of course, on the 40% chance of rain not materializing during the day…

The girls told me yesterday that they weren’t quite ready for only 3 meals per day, so I gave them four. Today they cleaned up every meal with enthusiasm, so I’ll continue doing the four for another week. With the heat, I don’t want to leave food out in the puppy house so it’s probably just as well.

63 Days (5/29) Sunshine and a forecast of no rain for 2 days greeted us this morning!!!!!! It’s still very wet and I still have a little water running. It meanders through the puppy yard on its way downhill, naturally entering close to the transition area and heading along the fence line before turning more northeasterly to leave the yard. The girls were dry when I took out their breakfast, comfortably reclining on the fleece pad. By the time I let them out to join Mercy in her ball session, they were wet down their underline from splashing back and forth through the water, but still dry on top. Mercy let them nurse a little before giving me her ball and I was able to observe that they try her forward teats and spit them out, heading for the back ones – so Mercy is definitely drying up. As soon as they drained her they grabbed toys. Only Miss Pink chased after Mercy very much this morning. All the girls were very cute as they grabbed a toy and carried it proudly to bring to me, enjoying showing me their treasure – or at least before a sister came from behind and grabbed it. Then the tug battle was on.

When Mercy’s playtime was over I headed to the house but the pups stayed and played a little before following. I changed the papers in the puppy house because they had muddy footprints all over them. I had changed them and the fleece pad last night once the rain quit, but with all that standing/flowing water they still brought a lot of moisture into the puppy house. It was sure better than it has been, though. I think the pups – or some of them at least – headed into my house while I cleaned but they didn’t stay long because I could see them in the ball area as I started poop detail in the puppy yard. I found more poop in the front part of the new area than I did in the original puppy yard. I even found one poop way in the far end of the back part of the new area, so they’re definitely enjoying the extra room.

They hadn’t finished their breakfast so, when I finished the puppy yard, I closed the gate and lifted them into the puppy house so they’d remember they still had food available.

I fully intended to bring them in for playtime tonight but the sunshine and 70 degree temps dried out the ball area enough (it’s better drained than the yards), so I mowed until late. They raced along the fence and played the whole times I was mowing so I don’t think they were energetic enough to realize they’d missed time in the house.
At least the flowing water quit, so with luck the puppy yard, back and yards will be dry enough to mow tomorrow. I’d really hoped to wait until Friday but we have 40% chance of more rain then.

62 Days (5/28) It rained hard all night and continues today. We’ve had so much rain that water is standing everywhere since the ground is too saturated to absorb more, and I even have running water in places – that has never happened in the 38 years I’ve been here! No ball sessions again. Poor dogs.

The girls were in the puppy house, nice and dry, when I took out their breakfast. At 9 or so, I was just getting ready to bring the pups in for a playtime when friends David & Bella got into town and stopped by to visit. The pups were thrilled to have new people to play with. I put down the search pool and toys and they had a busy hour, punctuated by potty breaks. Unfortunately they were all wet by that time and, even though I toweled them off, were pretty damp, so none of us sat on the floor to cuddle. They still had a great time. When they began to collapse, I called them and shook the treat jar and all four came willingly. Poor girls, they were searching in standing water for the treats but it didn’t bother them at all.

The rain stopped about noon, though we only had fitful, occasional sunshine and things didn’t dry out any. I brought the pups in again about 4 for a good hour, with their mother. They’ve scarcely nursed today so I think Mercy is drying up. They had a great time chasing her all over. I had gotten out some knuckle bones for my very bored big dogs and the pups really enjoyed chewing on them – two pups per bone with lots of growling and tug battles. Mercy took another one and tried to hide so that she could chew in peace, but each time I took the pups out for a potty session (they are getting really good about pottying on command – possibly because the sooner they all pee the sooner they can come back inside out of the wet) the pups would search for her and soon the chase was on. They made no protest when their time was up and followed me out to the puppy house. Of course it helped that I was carrying their early supper!

I fed them again just at bedtime. Today I reduced the meat per meal to 5 cubes. Since they’ll be 9 weeks old tomorrow – and we’re supposed to have nice weather for a few days so they’ll be less stressed – I’ll gradually move them to three meals rather than 4.

61 Days (5/27) It began raining hard during the night and we woke up to a wet, wet world. It had just dried out enough by yesterday afternoon that I hoped to mow today but no such luck. I’m amazed that the two nice days coincided with people coming to get their puppies – we didn’t have to deal with wet puppies in vehicles!

They were dry when I took out their breakfast, but by 8 when I let them out of the yard to nurse Mercy and visit with me in the house, they were quite wet. No ball sessions in this deluge, so I brought them in twice during the day with Mercy, an hour each time. I propped open the door out of the living room so Mercy could teach them to go in and out that way. If three leave and I have only one for a while, she’ll move inside and that’s the door I’ll take her out to potty if she awakes in her crate during the nap.

The pups glommed onto Mercy and then followed her out to the play yard so I quietly came back inside to work on the computer. Miss Green came hurtling down the hallway all alone and screeched to a halt in the living room when she found no pool. Then she came skidding around the corner to excitedly greet me and threw herself down for some loving. Soon Mercy came in, followed by the others, and all greeted me. When Mercy showed signs of leading them out the doggie door, I got up and called her to come out the front door, which she did, followed by her satellites. I watched until she began leading them around the front of the house. Soon Miss Pink came in through the doggie door and spent some time with me. Miss Yellow joined her and the two had a great time wrestling. They really enjoy getting inside out of the wet.

Eventually the entire wild bunch came in and had a great time for 30 minutes, during which I got Mercy to take them out the front door twice more so that they knew that maneuver. It’s quite chilly so I was wearing an extra fleece sweater. They had so much fun grabbing the edges to play tug that I had to zip it up. I’ve started shaking the jar of Royal Canine dog food (I use that for big dog treats in the house) as I call them to go out to the puppy yard, then scattering some on the ground (or floor of the puppy house depending on where I put them in). They think it’s a fun game and all but Miss Green eagerly followed me outside. I had to go back into the house and pick her up before she could hide under something. As I carried her, I shook the jar of treats to create an association so hopefully she’ll look forward to going out after a play session. As soon as I put them outside, I thankfully closed the front door. I’m really trying not to turn on the furnace again.

I brought them in about 3:30 for another hour with their mother and for playtime in the house. I noticed they had eaten all their lunch, so they’re becoming used to the change in their lives. We trooped outside twice for potty breaks but I also had the front door open and encouraged Mercy to take them out that way a couple of times. This time they spent more time visiting with me and enjoyed stretching out on the (washable) dog bed by the computer (all the other beds are put up before they come in as only the covers are washable, not the linings). I don’t worry so much now about them peeing on the beds but rather chewing on the edges. All four followed me out as I called them and shook the treat jar. Hurrah!

I was busy typing up the temperament test results so I can get them on the website and, by the time I thought of bringing the pups in for a third time, it was late. It was still raining and water was standing everywhere. The pups were in the puppy house, relaxing in the warmth, and were dry so I didn’t bring them out. I just fed them their late supper (they had eaten all their early supper) and went to bed.

60 Days (5/26) Miss White’s new parents were the first to arrive to pick her up, at about 6:45 this morning. She is now “Ranger.” They haven’t decided yet on her registered name.

I always have the mother dogs go out with us and watch their pups being loaded into the cars. That way they don’t look for them. This being Mercy’s first litter, she wasn’t too sure what we were doing and was trying to get people to throw something for her, but eventually she noticed them putting the pup into the car. We no sooner got back into the house when Miss Orange’s new dad arrived for her. Miss Orange doesn’t have a call name yet, but her registered name is “Celhaus Quest for Glory.”

Mr. Purple’s new family arrived as we were walking around the house towards the car, getting her to potty before she begins her LONG drive to her new home. This time Mercy paid more attention to her daughter leaving. We repeated the process with “Cash” and he left for the long drive to Minnesota. His registered name is ” Celhaus Quiggley.”

We then had a break until Mr. Blue’s new family arrived for him at 8:30.  He is now “Olaf.” His registered name is “Celhaus Quasi Prince Olaf.”

After Olaf left, I began ball sessions. It’s again quite warm and there wasn’t a lot of activity in the puppy yard until Lively’s turn. The four girls wandered around a bit towards the obstacle course and then headed back towards the puppy house. Then Miss Yellow ambled out all by herself and headed for the new area, where she sniffed around for a while and then had fun chasing a robin that was searching for worms. That seemed to exhaust her energy so she ambled back into the main puppy yard and lay down in the shade.

I fixed half the usual ration for their lunch and fed them about 11:30. Now I only need to use one big puppy bowl, which is still large enough that all four pups can eat and not be pushed off by another.

When it was Mercy’s turn for her ball session, they came out but not as wildly as usual. After Mercy allowed them to nurse – Miss Green is now large enough that she can lie down and still nurse as Mercy stands, which is funny to watch – the pups weren’t interested in chasing her as usual but grabbed toys and plopped down under my chair, which was again in the shade.

When Mercy’s time was up, it was quite easy to gather to toys as none had been carried off. The pups watched me head towards the house but preferred to stay in the shade under my chair. By the time they caught up, I was already in the puppy yard. Miss Red continued to lie under my chair and watched while the others wandered along the fence line, also watching but not making a lot of fuss.

Although I haven’t seen any pups in it other than what I have recorded in this diary, I found 7 poops in the first part of the new area. I found none in the second half, through the second big gate, though some of the tall grass was mashed down which makes me think they’ve explored there, too.

I didn’t clean the puppy house in case any of the left-behind pups is mourning the loss of a special friend. I noticed they hadn’t eaten much lunch so I lifted them into the puppy house when I finished poop detail. All four sniffed at the bowl and headed for the doggie door, so the next time I headed past the puppy house I picked up the food and brougt it inside to stay cool. It’s always hard when some pups leave to figure out how much the rest will eat per meal with less competition for food and the stress from all the excitement yesterday and this morning.

I offered lunch again to them at 4:15 and they finally ate it.

I brought them in for their evening playtime and noticed a lot less energy in the group and no wrestling matches. They are obviously enjoying the lessened need for competition. I saw a totally new side to Miss Pink; she was the one who consistently hung out with me and solicited attention. Before, she was too busy agitating the others to chill out. They had their three fifteen-minute play sessions separated by potty breaks and pool searches. Each time we did a potty break I’d only have 2 pups in the house; the other two would come running from the ball area when they heard us come down the steps. All four would come in afterwards for the pool search but then Miss Yellow & Miss Green would head back outside, while Miss Red & Miss Pink were content to stay inside.

When the timer went off after their third sessions, I mixed up their supper and put it – and the pups – in the puppy house for the night.

59 Days (5/25) Sunshine, oh, sunshine, and clear blue skies this morning; what an amazing sight! The pups seemed to be celebrating, too, as I could hear them playing as I fixed their breakfast.

After all the big dogs had their morning rotation out of crates for breakfast, play and loving, I took Mercy out to nurse and play with them as I cleaned the puppy house and did puppy poop detail. I closed the doggie door so they had to stay outside and had some complaining pups gathered on the deck for a while, but soon they were off and running. I found the missing green collar, much the worse for wear but still usable, in plain sight. It sure made me wonder where they had hidden it yesterday.

Thursday I had tried to open up an additional area of the puppy yard but was unable to get the drive-through gate open. I hadn’t needed to open that gate last year so the heavy grass had it well tied down. Using the poop shovel as a lever, I managed to finally maneuver the gate over the heavy clumps of grass and get it open this morning. This nearly doubles the puppies’ play area. It will be interesting to see how soon they discover the opening since the grass is about 1′ high already, taller than they are. They may end up following Mercy into the new area when I put her in to nurse them.

Well, again they proved me wrong. They didn’t do much for quite a while; I’d notice them contentedly stretched out in the sun. I did the big dogs’ ball sessions differently today, starting with Berakah & Hesed as usual, then doing Cantors and then Lovely’s ball sessions since I ran out of time Thursday and they missed out. After Lovely’s ball session I fed the puppies lunch. They came yawning and stretching into the puppy house when I called them. As soon as they had eaten, they headed out to play, still much less energetically than usual. We just aren’t used to warm weather.

They didn’t notice Spirit and I doing her ball session for quite a while, but when they finally did they woke up and started clamoring for attention. Soon they began to play. Miss Yellow immediately noticed the partially open gate, went right through it and thoroughly explored the new area. That new part has another drive-through gate dividing it into two rectangles and she maneuvered confidently around the gates, checked out nearly the entire area, and sauntered back into the puppy yard. What a girl!!!

Several pups had headed to the obstacle course and started running up the ramps. Soon they were flying over the swinging bridge. Mr. Blue was the first to head down the slide, soon followed by Miss Orange. A few minutes later Mr. Purple and Miss Green slid down. Then, interestingly, Mr. Purple put his nose to the ground and began tracking Miss Yellow’s path to and through the big gate into the new area. He didn’t go far, however, because Miss Pink went racing by on her way to the obstacle course and he gave chase.

Shortly after that I saw Miss Yellow go down the slide, and Miss Green, again. Then Spirit’s ball session was over and I headed to the house. Lively was next to play and, since the day was getting warm, I moved my chair into the shade by the fence. The puppies happily came to visit with me in between their play activities and I saw Mr. Blue and Miss Orange racing across the swinging bridge and down the slide. What they do is follow along the fence as the big dog races after the ball, and then follow her back as she returns with it – except that often they’ll detour to go over the obstacle course rather than just run on the ground. They are obviously having a ball!

They continued to play during GloryToo’s and Quasi’s ball times, though the heat began having its effect. Our first set of puppy people arrived while I was throwing the ball for Quasi and enjoyed going into the puppy yard to play with the pups until I finished. Then we brought Mercy and the toys out and let the pups play while she had her ball session. We had just picked up the toys and brought in pups into the house when the other people arrived. After Mercy and the pups had greeted everyone, I crated Mercy and put down the search pool with treats so everyone could enjoy the pups’ antics. Then, while the pups crashed, we decided for sure who got which pup: Miss Orange goes to Utah for Search & Rescue, Mr. Blue goes to Durango, CO for Search & Rescue and to do therapy dog work with veterans, Mr. Purple goes to Minnesota for agility, nosework and obedience competition, while Miss White goes to Denver for possible competition and therapy dog work.

We did the paperwork and then put the pups in the puppy yard so everyone could visit with Mercy and Cantor. They then asked to go play with the pups in the puppy yard for a while so out we trooped. Mercy went in with everyone and they got a big kick out of her nursing the pups standing up. She then convinced people to throw a toy for her and everyone got a kick out of the pups – Miss Red chased after Mercy while the other seven chased after Cantor who was running up and down the fence, outside the puppy yard. After a lot of laughs, we left the puppies to rest. I fed them their early super shortly afterwards, just after 5 p.m. and their late supper at about 9:30. Both times they really thought they should come back into the house and play some more.

The four pups leave for their new homes early in the morning. Miss Red & Miss Yellow are available for Search & Rescue or other including homes, while Miss Pink & Miss Green could work or be pets. Both those girls tend to be more independent and pushy than the others and are quite the characters.

58 Days (5/24) It rained a bunch during the night so everything was very wet this morning, though we didn’t actually get any rain during the day.

This morning when I took Mercy out to let the pups nurse, I went into the yard, too, hoping to get more poop samples. Although I stayed out there for 20 minutes, throwing the Jolly ball for mercy so they’d run and play, and then left with her and stood outside the yard hoping after their exercise some would poop, not a single one cooperated. During that time I searched the yard for a missing collar – Miss Green’s, naturally. I never could find it. Perhaps it will show up eventually but meanwhile I have to dig out another one for her to wear, just in case someone else loses a collar, too.

The vet called early this afternoon and said both fecals were negative. Hurrah!!!

At 3 p.m. we headed to our last visit, another Puppy Playtime at the Children’s Library. Peggy, Suz and her two daughters, Charlene and Linda helped and we needed it. The library lawn where we usually potty them had been sprayed for weeds so I had to park a ways away where there was a safe patch of grass. I needed all my help plus the four library staff members because the pups took off to explore and headed towards anyone walking within sight. We only saw 2 pups piddle before we gave up and grabbed the pups to carry them to the library. We had enough people that each only had to carry one pup, which was good because they were very squirmy and ready to play.  

We had a huge crowd this time. The pups played hard for nearly an hour before they crashed.

I then headed to the vet’s to weigh them so I can dose them one last time for roundworms. No wonder we’ve been huffing and puffing as we carried pups into and out of their visits: they are huge! Miss Green again is largest at 18.4#, followed by Mr. Blue at 18.2#. Next were Miss Orange at 16.8# and Miss Yellow at 16.4#. Miss Pink and Miss White weighed 15.3#, followed by Mr. Purple at 15.0# and Miss Red at 13.0#.

It was 5 p.m. by the time we got home so, after Mercy led them into the puppy yard and let them nurse, I fed them their early supper.

About 7:30 I brought them in for playtime. As they finished the first pool search, I wormed them (Pyrantel for roundworms). At the fifteen-minute mark we headed outside for a potty break, then back in for another pool search and playtime. After the third play session, I put them up for the night.

I fed them their last meal at bedtime. Tomorrow is a big day – four of them meet their new families and then leave with them Sunday morning. It’s supposed to be a nice day, too, no rain for a change.

57 Days (5/23) Sun greeted us when we woke but soon more clouds moved in. Amazingly, we didn’t get any rain all day and every so often the sun showed for a few minutes. I was finally able to catch up on poop detail in the puppy yard and the whole place. And the newspapers and fleece pad in the puppy house stayed dry for a change.

I got a kick out of watching the pups as I threw the ball for the big dogs. They’d run to the far end of the puppy yard, race up the big ramp, tear across the swinging bridge – with it swinging wildly from side to side long after they passed, across the horizontal landing and down the slide. Then they’d go back and do it again. It was obvious that they, too, were enjoying a day without rain.

I kept watching the puppy yard as I threw the ball for the big dogs and did poop detail, trying to catch more of them pooping so as to have more samples to be tested, but was only able to catch Miss Red. I really, really wanted a sample from Mr. Purple, who was the only one who had many coccidia in his stool last week.

I’m having trouble telling who is who in photographs or from a distance, so I exchanged their small collars for regular ones that will show up despite all their fuzzy coats. I added the new collars as I lifted them out for Mercy’s ball session, and then removed the little collars as the came to me to visit in between chasing after Mercy as she pursued her ball. That way they had time to get used to the new feel around their necks before we visited the nursing home.

Since it was still so wet after the night’s rain, I didn’t do the puppy cleaning first thing but waited until after Mercy’s ball session. The pups thoroughly enjoyed over an hour of being out of the puppy yard and raced everywhere, including inside the house. I finally got them into the puppy yard and headed into the house to get Lovely out for her ball session and noticed the clock. It was after 1 p.m. and we had to be at the Alzheimer’s Unit at 2. Yikes! I went into overdrive to get the big dogs fed, me cleaned up and then puppies loaded. We got there with five minutes to spare but it was obvious that the pups hadn’t rested enough from their wild playtime.

At least they weren’t wild monsters like they were yesterday and pretty quickly settled down and didn’t have to be intercepted as they tried to race down the hallway after any of the staff members who left the office. They soon allowed my helpers (Peggy, Charlene and Pam) to place them in people’s laps to visit. The residents were amazed at how much they’ve grown since their visit two weeks ago. Even though they were somewhat tired, they still lasted just over an hour, giving incredible joy to this group who so look forward to my dog visits every Thursday.

I had agility class tonight so I didn’t bring them in for a playtime. I fed them before I left and again at bedtime. They’re cleaning up every morsel so tomorrow I’ll begin giving them 5 cups of kibble at every meal, not just breakfast and late supper.

56 Days (5/22) We woke up to a mostly white world but at least didn’t get up to the 4” of snow that was forecast. Supposed to get more today, but at least the roads were good enough for me to do the last Reading Dog visit of the school year at Tongue River Elementary. That meant, though, no ball sessions again. By the time I got home, it was raining steadily so I didn’t try to do the ball sessions then. The pups were disappointed. I fed them and then left them to try to stay as dry as possible. At least the snow was nearly all gone.

Linda came at 4 to help me trim nails. I put down the pool with treats and told her to be sure she wasn’t in their path before I went out to get the pups. I again walked along the fence and encouraged them to potty before I opened the gate.

We let them race around for a while until they calmed down before beginning the nail trimming. After we did four pups, I put more treats in the pool for another search. When they finished we captured Miss Green before she jumped out and headed off. The others are much better about hanging around to socialize so we had no trouble getting everyone done. Then we trooped out for a potty session. Miss Orange obliged with a poop sample so then we walked them all around for about 15 minutes (in the drizzle of course) in an attempts to get a couple more samples to test for coccidia and be sure we got rid of all of it. No one cooperated so we came back in. Linda left and I went out the front door with her – accompanied by 5 pups. I walked her to her car and then got the mail and paper. Those pups followed me all the way through the shelter belt to the west fence and then back. They were quite proud of themselves. We then came in and I let them play some more. I put some of the liver treats I use for therapy dog visits – Charlee Bear treats – in the pool. They don’t like them as well as the beef roll but they’d already had a bunch of that. I gave them 15 minutes to play and visit – Miss Yellow, Miss Red and Miss White curled up at my feet for a snuggle – and then let Mercy out.

She immediately led them outside so I followed, poop bags in hand. At least the rain had dropped to just a faint mist. I gave her a ball but for quite a while she led them on a merry chase. It’s so funny to see her trotting or loping along with eight black bodies hurtling after her, this way and that, uphill and down, back and forth. Eventually she stopped and let them nurse, then off she went again, this time occasionally bringing me the ball to throw. I kept hoping all that exercise would inspire pooping but, though we were out for over 30 minutes, no one did.

Then we headed to the back yard and I filled all the bird feeders, hoping just hanging around would inspire some of them to poop. No luck, though, so I put them into the puppy house. I only had 7, but when I went into the house to fix their early supper, Mr. Purple greeted us then followed me out when I took the food. They’d had a long play session, over 90 minutes, so they were ready for a nap.

I fed them a big meal at bedtime and they fell upon it like they hadn’t eaten for a month. They must be in a huge growth spurt at the moment.

55 Days (5/21) I let Mercy in with the pups first thing this morning, for about 30 minutes, then took her out and gave the pups their breakfast.

Since it was raining this morning, in an effort to keep the pups contented to hang out in the sheltered areas to stay dry for their visit to Westview at 1:30, I didn’t do ball sessions with the big dogs.

To keep the big dogs from being disappointed (do we ever get to play ball again?), I got out the last of my knuckle bones.

My strategy worked, helped by the fact that the rain quit about mid-morning. I had dry puppies for the visit! I had several large towels in the car just in case, but even the grass at Westview was dry.

When it was time to load pups and head to the nursing home, I again closed the doggie door. Boy, was I ever glad I did! All eight lunged out of the gate and raced up either the steps or the ramp. They were not pleased when they met a solid barrier and let me know it. They kept trying to get in even as I called and walked towards the gate into the big yard. I had to go all the way back to the bottom of the deck steps before anyone even noticed me. Eventually they decided to follow and came flying down the steps – a couple rolling down pretty ungracefully. The rest of the loading chore went pretty smoothly though I think Miss Green ate a couple of bricks overnight. Gosh, was she heavy! She’s the one who will turn and go the other way so I tried to capture her before she realized we were heading to the car. I had a handful but at least I didn’t have to chase her all over. The others followed willingly and a couple even tried to climb into the car as I lifted their siblings into a crate. They were quiet on the drive, obviously having the whole routine down pat.

Charlene and Linda met me at the nursing home, and the two activities people came out to help keep the pups from heading to the far country as we tried to potty them. Miss Green tried to lead the escape but I warned them to keep a close eye on her and she thankfully didn’t make it to the parking lot. We eventually got them corralled and carried them into the nursing home.

They were again wild and played over an hour, with lots of tug battles, keep-away chases and dominance wrestling. It took quite a while before any would consent to being held so the residents could pet them, but eventually they did and a couple – Miss Yellow, Mr. Blue & Mr. Purple if I remember right – even quietly lay in resident’s laps towards the end of the visit. The residents definitely noticed the difference in the pups from their visit two weeks ago and enjoyed the wild bunch. Usually the visits are done during their fifth and sixth weeks because they get so wild after that, but we couldn’t do any visits last week due to the nosework seminar and trial.

We managed to get home just before the rain began again.

I got smart tonight. Before I opened the gate, I walked up and down along the fence line and got them moving enough to potty in the puppy yard. Once let out, they made a beeline for the doggie door and the search pool, but at least I didn’t have to worry about them pottying the first few minutes in the house. It was beginning to snow so it wasn’t pleasant being outside but it was worth it not having to try to get them to slow down enough to potty before entering the house. I didn’t put out toys, either. Tonight I put the knuckle bones next to the pool and the pups willingly began chewing and playing keep away with them and didn’t miss the toys.

When the fifteen-minute timer went off, we trooped outside for potty break. I wandered around a little but didn’t need to do much as most of the pups took off racing around, chasing snowflakes I guess. Only Miss Yellow and Mr. Blue hung out with me for the entire break. When we headed inside, Miss Red came racing to join us so those three got to the pool first. The others caught up quickly and all were in the house by the time I finished scattering treats among the bottles that hadn’t been thrown out during the first search. I had more pups asking for loving during the second and third periods. I divvied up the beef roll treats so that I had some to put in the pool after both potty sessions. By the time the timer went off the third time, the pups were pretty calm and didn’t protest when I said it was time to go to the puppy house.

I fed them again just as I went to bed. They are REALLY growing now. Miss Green is huge and the others aren’t far behind. We were huffing and puffing as we carried two pups apiece into and from Westview today. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Miss Green was throwing a fit and thrashing around on both trips so I took her, gave her a good shake and admonition to behave, and carried her and the camera while the other person carried one pup and the toy bag (usually I carry both bags and helpers carry pups). For their morning and late evening meals I mix 5 cups of kibble with the 12 cubes of raw meat diet, while with the lunch and afternoon meals I mix 4.

54 Days (5/20) We were scheduled to visit Daybreak, a senior daycare facility, at 10 this morning. I let Mercy in with the pups for about 20 minutes first thing this morning, then let her out and fed the pups.

Before I went out to let them out of the puppy yard and head to the car, I closed the doggie door to keep them from heading into the house. That helped a lot. Mr. Blue sure got a funny look on his face when he tried to escape me and head into the house! He gave a bark and then raced down the steps to join the rest of us. I had trouble getting them around to the front because they were really wild, leaping up to try to grab my arms or else tugging on my pant legs. I eventually got all loaded and headed to Daybreak. They have the car ride down pat now and no one made any noise at all.

We had new help today: Pam and Brenda and her teenaged daughter, Gracie, joined Linnet and Charlene. Daybreak has an open “living room” with comfortable chairs and couches arranged in a big circle where they gather the elders. I need that many helpers so they can position themselves in the gaps between the furniture to contain the puppies there and keep them from running to investigate all the other areas or to follow people. After the pups play for a while, some of my helpers keep the pups within the circle while others carry them around, holding them for people to pet, sometimes putting them in a person’s lap. They were definitely kept busy!

One of the seniors really got into playing with the pups by barking and mock-growling at them. They thought him weird but definitely interesting. He walked around among them a lot and talked to them, laughing a lot. Miss Pink thought she could smell something really interesting under one of the recliner chairs and was bound and determined to get to it. We ended up having to tilt the chair back to get her out from under it, “helped” by Mr. Blue & Miss Red who got into the spirit of the thing and did their best to get under there, too. We couldn’t see what was so interesting but it sure gave everyone lots of laughs.

Charlene dropped her keys while changing positions and Miss Red grabbed them and took off, beginning a prolonged series of keep away battles. I know Mr. Purple and Miss Yellow were active participants; I’ll have to look at the photos to see who else got involved, but it was quite a while before Charlene could capture her keys.

These guys played and played and played, with lots of three-way tug battles and quite a few chases and wrestling matches. They never did sit much in people’s laps. They were still going, though more slowly, about 70 minutes later when we began packing up so that the elders could have their lunch.

Before I unloaded them at home, I again closed the doggie door. I also let Mercy out to greet them and let them nurse. They followed her right into the puppy yard, never even thinking of breaking off to go into the house so all went smoothly. Hurrah! After they spent about 15 minutes with her, I fed them a big lunch since it was later than usual.

When I opened the gate for them to come inside tonight, no one would stop to potty. Instead they raced u the ramp and into the house for their pool treats. When they finished searching, I called them and out we went for the neglected potty session. One of them had grabbed a tug toy and took off to the ball area with the others in hot pursuit. Only the two boys came back inside with me and they hung around visiting until the timer went off. Mr. Purple is the SWEETEST pup! He sure loves attention.

When we went out for the second potty session, the girls came flying around the corner and joined us (without the toy, naturally). All came in for the search for the second batch of treats, and then most stayed in the house and played with the toys or visited with me. Mr. Purple and Miss Red found spots right at my feet and Miss Yellow stretched out close by with a toy, while Miss Pink wandered around looking for things to get into.

When the timer went off again, we trooped outside to potty and I seized the chance to look for the toy I saw them carrying out into the big yard. I couldn’t find it anywhere, though I did find a different one someone had carried into the puppy yard. Maybe I’ll luck out and one of the big dogs will bring it to me before it’s destroyed, or perhaps I’ll find it in the morning, though we’re supposed to have snow tonight.

Before the timer went off the third time, pups were beginning to crash and had quit running all over. Mr. Purple and Miss Yellow were asleep at my feet while I could hear little hums from a contented pup in the living room and bottles being shoved in a search for any treats that had been left. I was debating going to see who the persistent searcher was when the noise suddenly ceased and Miss Orange came to find me.

When the timer rang, I fixed their late supper. Mr. Blue had been stretched flat out by the kitchen sink but he sure woke up when I began mixing their kibble and meat. And suddenly the rest of the pups came boiling in through the doggie door to watch. I had quite the escort as I carried out the food and put them to bed. Imagine my surprise when I got to the ground and saw the missing tug toy there at the puppy house door! Good puppies!!!

53 Days (5/19) I fed the pups a double meal this morning before leaving for the nosework trial. I noticed that they had drub the bowl of kibble from the puppy house into the transition area, so that’s the end of leaving dry kibble for them in case they get hungry between meals. A couple of days ago they had dumped the two-gallon water bucket that was in the puppy house, so they lost that, too. What a mess I had to clean up! They have a big five-gallon water bucket just outside the transition area and are big enough to put their front feet on the rim and drink, plus they have the kiddie pool full of water.

I got home from the trial at 3 and fed them another double meal.

When I got home from Mass, I brought them in to play. I first put them out of the puppy yard with Mercy while I cleaned the puppy house. Then I brought all inside and carted Mercy. What a wild bunch! They were leaping up and biting at my hands and pant legs as I put beef roll treats in the pool and lifted it down to the floor. All eight leapt madly into it and bottles went flying all over the living room. It didn’t take long for them to find every morsel and then they began racing u and down the hallway. They were so wild I decided not to sit down for a love in as I had planned, but instead went to the computer to work on an inquiry from a SAR person about Miss Orange. It took a while before any pups even began coming in to say hello, but the first ones were (naturally) Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow and Miss Red. Miss Orange brought me one of the bottles from the food search pool – very proud of herself, wiggling her entire body and smiling as she presented it to me. She settled down at my feet and was soon joined by Miss White.

The others were too busy chewing on and playing keep away with the raw knuckle bones I gave the big dogs this morning as I left for the trial. By this evening there wasn’t much left on them but the pups thought they were fantastic.

When the fifteen-minute timer went off, we trooped outside for a potty break. Although it was dark, cold and windy, we had no rain today and the pups seemed really glad to be able to run around and play on the mostly-dry grass. They ranged all over the back yard and a couple headed out to the ball area. All came racing to me when I called and headed to the house and thundered down the hallway to the pool, barely giving me time to get there and dump in the rest of the beef roll pieces.

When the fifteen-minute timer went off again they were just beginning to settle down and ask for some loving, so I spent some time visiting quietly with each one until all were contented and began to drop off to sleep around me. They were in about 45 minutes total.

They hadn’t finished all of their double late lunch, so I just fixed them a normal meal for tonight. They followed me out willingly as I carried the bowls and were happy to be lifted into the puppy house to eat and then sleep.

52 Days (5/18) We had such a long day at the nosework trial (I had to be there at 8 a.m. trial and with barely a 30 minute break for lunch I couldn’t come home) that the pups got little attention. I let Mercy in with them first thing, then gave them a double meal for breakfast (8 cups kibble mixed with 24 cubes raw beef diet). They, of course, have a bowl of dry kibble in the puppy house for between meals. When I got home at 5, I first let Mercy in with them so they could nurse, then took them out another double meal. They cleaned up the lot. They really wanted to come in for a playtime, but I was so tired, my feet hurt so bad, and the rain was pouring down, that I told them they were out of luck. Tomorrow is a much shorter day at the trial – and the forecast is pretty decent – so they’ll get a nice playtime to make up for the boring day today. When I went to bed (early) I gave them a regular meal.

51 Days (5/17) We did the Search & Rescue test today and all the pups did well, though still not as well as I expected. We started at 9 a.m. finished shortly before 2 p.m. By that time the pups were absolutely ravenous, so I rushed them home and fed them.

I then had to shift gears to preparing for the nosework trial since I’m in charge of equipment. Between meeting with the judge for a walk trough of the trial site to figure out which rooms would be used for which competition classes and make sure he had everything he wanted, then home to hurriedly frost the cake I had made early this morning for the welcoming potluck for the judge and competitors, I had no time to study the test sheets. A quick summary, though, shows both males testing well for SAR/competition, though the testers were split over which boy was the best prospect for our person who wants a male for SAR. The reason for their disagreement is that they felt Mr. Purple was entering the fear stage (usually comes at 8-10 weeks) early. He showed some lack of confidence at the scary parts of the test but when he was in drive to search for food would go past and even over those objects (umbrella, robot that flashes, walks and sings and a remote controlled rat) as he searched for the food. They felt all he needs is an experienced handler who will be matter of fact when he shows uncertainty and he’ll soon pop out of that fear stage and be fantastic.

I forgot to mention last night about these pups’ incredible nose drive. As I walked each one to potty before bringing it into the building for the test, it was so intent on checking out all the scents on the ground – perhaps from the previous day’s seminar, that they could hardly be bothered to potty. As soon as Suzan put each one down to begin her tests, they were nose-down checking out every inch of the five RV patio mats we put down over the arena dirt so everyone would stay relatively clean. Two of the mats were brand new, ones I bought to use for temperament testing, while three are used during puppy and adult dog training classes. All seemed to have enticing scents. The pups also needed to check out every article Suzan had put down to use in the test. Only when they had smelled everything, were they ready to play.

They showed it today, too. The mats were old hat, as was the part of the parking lot where I pottied them last night. BUT the SAR testers brought their dogs, who barked as we went past the pickup, so I carried the pups past that before putting them down and then walked around the back of the building to the entrance there, which gave a lot of new ground for them to investigate.

Once in the test area, the mats were no big deal but they definitely checked out everything on the ground. The SAR testers set up all kinds of things: an agility tunnel, a ramp up to an elevated area and a tarp over some objects to make something to test their reaction to unstable surfaces. I had gotten a huge teddy bear to use as a “strange object” and it was propped against a small tunnel. Then there were all kinds of new toys. The SAR testers work as a team and get more excited as they test than Suzan does, so the pups didn’t spend as much time distracted by their noses.

When it came time for the nose tests – searching for bits of hidden food and following jerky on a string that was dragged to create a trail – they excelled. They also used their noses on the runaway test, where one tester holds the pup while the other waves food or a toy in front of the pup to excite it to want it (with this bunch they used food) and then runs away and hides from view. Most of them put their noses down as soon as they were released and tracked the “victim.” All three testers commented on how nose drive these pups are and how all would do well in nosework and tracking, besides the ones who are great for SAR.

They also recommended three females for SAR: Miss Orange, Miss Red & Miss Yellow. They thought Miss White might just be coming into her drives and would do better if tested in a week. She showed fantastic confidence but wasn’t nearly as driven as the others. They definitely thought she’d be great for a person just getting into training as she has a desire to please and would be forgiving as the person made mistakes, especially if too slow to reward her for doing well. The rest of the pups will need someone who knows German Shepherds and how to train as they aren’t as forgiving. All the pups are very busy and have a great time doing things.

Miss Pink and Miss Green gave us lots of laughs by their exuberance but, like Mr. Purple, showed some lack of confidence on the stressful tests.
Since we have a nosework trial this weekend, I won’t have any time to type up more detailed notes from the testing until at least Monday.

50 Days (5/16) I fed them breakfast and, after all the big dogs had rotated out of their crates for potty, play & raw meat breakfast, went out to do poop detail in the puppy yard. I lifted them out of the yard and they immediately attached to Mercy to nurse. She didn’t stand long, though, instead coming into the yard and bringing me one of their little Jolly Balls to throw. I throw it over the fence into the big ball yard, and she races around and get it. The pups can’t quite yet climb into the yard over the bottom gate so they hang around (the ones who don’t go into my house) and chase Mercy as she flies over it after her ball and comes back.

I haven’t done pop detail in the puppy yard since Monday and was quite pleased to find all normal stools. I evidently lucked out and caught the first loose stools and got the coccidia knocked out before it affected them much. Excellent!

Miss Green is the only one who doesn’t have her ears up. One of Miss Red’s will occasionally tip at the top, but the rest are up totally straight.

After that bit of exercise, the pups were pretty content to just hang out and nap a bit. I didn’t see any action until I was throwing the ball for Quasi. Suddenly Miss Yellow appeared, staring at me through the fence. Then Mr. Purple showed up, Then the rest came roping out. Miss Yellow has decided it’s great fun to run along the fence and bark at Quasi as he races for his ball. She was doing that Monday, the last day we got to do ball sessions. Today the rest of them thought that looked like fun, but some decided to race up and over the obstacle course instead of along the fence. Soon they were racing back towards me as Quasi returned with the ball, Miss Yellow and a few on the ground, others on the obstacles. Suddenly I saw Mr. Blue race across the swinging bridge, up to the platform and then slide down the slide. Woo hoo! I told him that was fantastic and he tried to climb back up the slide, I guess to try it again. Shortly afterwards Miss Pink did the same thing except for a bit she couldn’t get onto the slide because Miss Green had her front feet on it as far as she could reach and was blocking her with lots of play growls and bites. She soon was diverted by another pup and turned away, at which point Miss Pink slid down the slide. Both these pups were really graceful about it too, bracing their front feet and sliding down on their butts, so I’m guessing this isn’t the first time. Son Mr. Purple navigated the swinging bridge but he turned left off the platform onto one of the ramps. Then the whole bunch began having wrestling matches on the swinging bridge, having a fantastic time. And here I was worried it had stretched too much by all the snow and they weren’t going to be able to climb up the slippery wood slats.

Mercy’s ball session was next. It’s a very changeable day weatherwise, cool with a breeze and alternating sunshine with clouds and occasional sprinkles. It was dry enough that I could get out the puppy drag as well as the toys. I was surprised that the pups never even pounced on it as I opened the gate. Instead, they went flying after Mercy who had already gone out the gate into the ball yard. She stopped at my chair and they caught up and began nursing. I sat down and waited until she was ready to play. The pups had lots of energy, really liking the cool day, and they chased Mercy WAY out into the field, nearly to the perimeter fence. Most then peeled off and began exploring the far area, but Miss Red insisted on chasing Mercy back and forth a few times. Eventually most of the pups ended back close to me and attacked the toys, having great tug sessions. Miss Orange was very proud of herself as she brought me a toy, smiling and wiggling all over. She settled down on the puppy drag to play with it. Mr. Blue and Mr. Purple came back, followed by Miss Yellow. Those four stayed closest to me. The others came back, grabbed toys and took off with them, but amazingly today they brought them all back. It started sprinkling pretty good just as we got done. I got them all herded into the puppy yard, including Miss Green who headed into the house while I was lifting others over the gate. When Mercy came up, the ones close to me began nursing, the ones in the yard began yelling – Mr. Purple and Miss Pink managed to climb over the bottom gate despite my efforts to close the top part. In the midst of all that, Miss Green stuck her head out the doggie door saw she was missing some lunch, and came barreling out the doggie door and practically flew down the steps. I kept telling Mercy to stay so I could grab pups and put them in the puppy yard. They’re getting too heavy to grab two at a time now so it took a while.

We did the police/narcotics temperament test tonight beginning at 6 p.m. The pups stay in the car, two to a crate, and I take one into the building at a time for the test. Right in the middle of it a big thunderstorm moved in. I was pleased that none of the pups paid much attention to the thunder as I pottied them before and after their test.

We had a couple of variations on the usual reaction to the different tests. On the surprise test, which involves opening an umbrella quickly as the puppy goes by, Mr. Blue barked at it. Twice. We got a good chuckle out of that. Then Miss Yellow, on the submission test, which involves placing the puppy on its back on the ground and holding it down (restraining) for a few seconds, kept stretching to try to grab a ball by her nose rather than pay attention to Suzan and give her eye contact. Another set of chuckles there!

The biggest surprise was that most of the pups had trouble with the surprise test, which my litters usually don’t. It didn’t seem to be a fear reaction but rather “I don’t have to put up with this” response as they moved a distance away from the umbrella and had to be coaxed to go investigate it. Miss Pink and Miss Yellow had the best reactions, while Miss Red and Miss Orange had the worst.

Best retrievers were Mr. Blue, Miss Red, Miss Yellow, Mr. Purple and Miss Orange. I was disappointed in the prey/perseverance test. None were really interested in chasing the tug toy or doing much tugging. The best were Mr. Blue, Miss Green and Miss Pink and they only got an “average” rating.

Otherwise they showed nice confidence and willingness to engage with the stranger. Suzan commented that Miss White doesn’t have a lot of drive but is definitely a very confident pup. All in all, I expected more driven pups from Mercy. We’ll see how they do in the morning.

I didn’t get home until 8:30 and still had to feed puppies and big dogs and do the rotations for the dogs who would spend the night crated, so I didn’t study the tester comments. I’ll write those up later, as well as the ones from the SAR test in the morning. Generally, Mr. Blue and Miss Red tested the best.

49 Days (5/15) The pups were again insulted this morning when I did no more than feed and greet them. At least tomorrow we’ll have a normal day of ball sessions so they’ll be back to their schedule.

I again went home at noon to feed them. I can already see the difference in Mr. Purple, whom I was worried about as he looked “tucked up” like he wasn’t eating. It turns out he was the only who had a lot of coccidia in his stool, which explains why I was worried about him. Already today he looks full and fat like the others.

When I got home from the seminar I put Mercy in with them until Laurie came to play with the pups, which was about an hour. I crated her, put out toys and pieces of natural Balance Beef Roll in the pool and opened the puppy yard gate. A flood of puppies refused to stop long enough for our usual potty break before heading up the ramp and to the pool. Miss Green was the most persistent all night in searching for treats, staying long after the pups had left the pool and going back several times to double-check that no treats were left.

On their second fifteen-minute session, after the potty break, Laurie and I wormed them again with the Ponazuril. They, of course, had their second “pool search” after pottying; as they contentedly came out of the pool and headed for toys Laurie would grab one and I’d give them the Ponazuril. That done, we took them outside and Laurie played with them on the grass while I cleaned the puppy house. By that time they were beginning to quiet down, so we put them in their yard in the midst of insulted protests. They really think they should be house dogs!
Just before bedtime I fed them again and left them for the night.

48 Days (5/14) The pups were insulted this morning when I didn’t take time to visit, play or let them out to roam while I cleaned the puppy house/yard. I couldn’t, as I had to leave by 8 a.m. for our nosework seminar. After they ate, I put Mercy in with them for 30 minutes. I put her in the backyard area on the south of the puppy yard so they could visit with her while I was gone.

The vet called this morning to say they had found coccidian in the last fecals I took them. I was a little surprised because I’d actually been worried about giardia due to the extreme wet conditions we’ve had the last month. The only times I’ve ever had litters sow with either parasite have been when we’ve had unusually wet weather for a period of time.

I went home at noon and fed the pups their lunch, then headed back to the seminar. By the time we finished training for the day, the vets had the meds (Ponazuril) ready for the pups, so I detoured by the clinic on the way home.

A friend who is here for the seminar, Michelle, came to play with the pups. She, like Laurie, laughed and laughed about the “pool search” and had a great time loving on and playing with the puppies. When they calmed down a little, she helped me give the doses of Ponazuril for the coccidia. They’ll get a second dose tomorrow night, which usually knocks out the coccidia. When I was the director of the Dog & Cat Shelter, we used that when any dogs or pups came in with coccidia, and it was super effective. Then I’ll take fecals in next Tuesday to be sure the pups are free.

I fed the pups when Michelle left and then again just before bedtime. All are eating super well.

47 Days (5/13) I took them breakfast first thing this morning, then after about 30 minutes put Mercy in with them for about 30 minutes.

They had their health check and first vaccinations at 9:30 this morning. I had an awful time getting them loaded in the car. I let them out of the puppy yard and headed around the house, and six split off to the left and raced up the ramp and into the house. Only Mr. Blue & Miss Red came with me, so they got to sit in the “best” crate, the one directly behind my seat. I got them loaded and then headed into the house, calling pups. They came, but didn’t want to go out the front door. I grabbed all but Miss Pink and got the door closed behind them before thee reversed. Once I loaded them, I had to go back into the house and chase down Miss Pink, who thought she should hang out inside. I was sweating by the time I got into the car and headed to the vet.

We brought them in two or three at a time. We did the exam, vaccinations and microchipped them one at a time. Then we’d return those to the car and get the next batch. I felt bad for them because, even with the windows open, they were miserable. They’re panting a lot in this heat since it’s so sudden and drastic. In a couple of days they’ll be acclimated, but right now it’s hitting them hard.

All had nice bites and passed the exam with flying colors. Mr. Blue has one testicle down while Mr. Purple has none. Miss Red weighed 9.8#. Mr. Purple weighed 10.2#.Miss White weighed 11.4# while Miss Pink weighed 11.8#. Miss Yellow was 12.6# and Miss Orange was 12.8#. Mr. Blue was 13.4# and Miss Green topped the bunch at 14.0#.

The last couple of days I’ve been seeing very loose stools so I collected samples when Mr. Blue and Miss Green pooped right in front of me, sticking them in the fridge until we headed to the vet. Those were negative so I’m imagining that it’s a combination of sudden hot weather and greatly increased water consumption plus sampling grass, flowers and who knows what else. When we got home from the vet, Miss Orange and Miss Pink pooped on the way to the puppy yard, so I collected samples and dropped them off to be checked, too. The vet called later to tell me the first two samples were negative. I dropped the second pair of fecals on the way to a meeting.

It was 11 a.m. by the time we got home and I got them into the pupy yard for a big drink and rest. Before I resumed the big dogs’ ball sessions, I put a small kiddie pool in their yard, on the north side of the puppy house where it stays shaded most of the day. It’s the same size as the one I use in the house for food searches.

The pups had about an hour to rest before it was Mercy’s turn. They came out happily and raced to make Mercy hold still so they could nurse. Then they headquartered at my chair (which I again had in the shade) to play with the toys as I put them down. Several hung out happily in the shade on the cool, damp ground, chewing on toys and wrestling, for quite a while. The others took off and went WAY off, out of sight beyond the shelterbelt. I could hear them play-growling and occasionally see a black body flash by, carrying a toy and pursued by others. They didn’t play as long as usual today and were mostly gathered close to me when Mercy’s ball time was over. I had no trouble getting them back to the puppy yard, and they collapsed in the shade. They haven’t yet found the pool.

My friend, Laurie, came to town for our nosework seminar and came to see puppies. We had a blast! She laughed and laughed at the thundering herd heading to the pool for treats. She got to visit with all of them. Miss Yellow spent a lot of time cuddling with her, while the others came and went.

She also helped hold them so I could worm them. We did three fifteen-minute sessions with potty breaks between. By the end of the third one the pups were slumbering peacefully. They still didn’t want to go outside but we managed to get them all to the puppy yard. Then we listened to them yelling at the gate for a while before peace descended. On one of the potty expeditions, Mr. Purple and Miss White pooped so I collected samples to have them checked, too. I’ll drop them off at the vet’s in the morning on the way to the nosework seminar. The vets haven’t yet called with the result on the second batch of fecals.

I heard no more from the pups for quite a while – Laurie really wore them out! I let Mercy nurse them one more time and then gave them their late supper.

46 Days (5/12) I took breakfast out first thing this morning, gave them 30 minutes or so to eat, then put Mercy in with them for 30 minutes.

We finally have a nice day. I was able to get back to our usual schedule of cleaning the puppy house and doing poop detail in the puppy yard before I began the big dogs’ ball sessions. That gives the pups two shorter times with mom rather than an hour-long session of ball and then cleaning.

The pups immediately nursed as Mercy stood by the gate and then scattered to play or follow her around. Some headed up the ramp, while Mr. Blue (ears pretty much properly up straight) sat and watched me. I cleaned the puppy house and then picked up the yard. I needed more newspapers so I headed with the now-full lawn/leaf bag and empty box to the front, where I put the bag out with the garbage and exchanged the box for a full one. Four of the pups came with me and three came back with me. Two pups joined us, I suspect from the house. I put those 5 in the puppy yard and started calling the others. I got no response so I went inside and captured Miss Orange who wasn’t going to leave the house unless forced. The last one came running around the house so I finally had all 8 in the same place so I could start ball sessions.

Not only do we have a nice day, we have a VERY warm one. The pups weren’t as wild as usual when I let them out for Mercy’s ball session, but then neither was I. We’re not used to temperatures in the 70’s. To their great pleasure, I got out the puppy drag and several – Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Miss Green & Miss Orange – let me drag them out to the play area. I took out the bucket of toys, too. I had put my chair against the north fence line of the puppy yard where there’s shade, and the pups soon brought their toys and played under and around me while I sat there. Then they’d go racing off, playing chase and exploring. The dandelions have opened overnight so one area that I mowed Friday is bright yellow, and the pups found that fascinating. They’d come back to me carrying tufts of grass and dandelion. That soon got too hot, so they spent a lot of time exploring the shelterbelt where it’s shady and damp. They made frequent trips to the pool to get a drink so I was glad I was facing it and could make sure no one stretched over the rim too far, overbalanced, and fell in. None did. I forgot to set the timer for Mercy’s ball session so we ended up being out there for at least 20 minutes. The pups were ready to come back to their yard and stretch out. This time it was Miss Orange & Mr. Purple asking for tummy rubs as they lay in the cool grass.
Miss Orange has an ear up this morning, while Miss Pink & Miss Green have both up except for tipping at the top. They’re going to have their ears up very soon!

I added a bunch of NuVet (plastic) bottles to the pool to make them search harder for the food. I didn’t sprinkle the pieces of roast beef amongst the bottles until all the pups were in the living room. They dove in and bottles went flying everywhere as they searched for the food. They thought it great fun!

After 15 minutes, I took them out to potty, then when we came back inside I put pieces of Natural Balance Beef Roll in the pool to see if that made any difference. They loved it! I use that for training for the rest of my dogs. It’s a balanced diet so I’m going to move the pups to that for their searches each evening.

When the timer went off after our second 15 minutes, all the pups were crashed. The nice weather had them playing all day. They were ready to go to bed, so I took them out. Miss Orange was the only who came out on her own feet; I had to carry the others, all of whom said clearly that they were quite comfortable in the house, thank you. And I had to search for Miss Yellow finally finding her stretched out, dead to the world, under my desk.

I gave them a late supper as I went to bed, waiting long enough that they should be hungry despite the “pool” food.

45 Days (5/11) It rained all night and into the early morning so everything is WET. The pups who were outside were on the roof of the transition area when I took out their breakfast.
They hadn’t eaten much of their supper so I probably fed them too late last night. Tonight I’ll feed them as soon as they finish their inside playtime (and perhaps have an easier time getting them to leave my house).

When I went out with Berakah and Hesed for their ball session, the pups were back up AND, to my great pleasure, several were experimenting with going down the set of metal open-mesh steps that I have going off the roof on the NE corner. That kind of step looks and feels very strange and many pups refuse to try it, but this is quite the litter for confidence. They just blast into anything new. I couldn’t see collar colors and didn’t want to distract them by going close enough to see who was trying.

By the time we finished poop detail in the big yards, most of the pups were on the platforms and ramps of the obstacle course, again staying off the soaking grass.

They happily came out with Mercy for her ball session and seemed to really enjoy that section which I mowed last night. They acted like they thought they could run faster on the short grass. I saw several grab a mouthful of grass clippings and take off, pursued by the others. Miss White tired first and came to my chair, asking me to rub her tummy. She sure enjoys tummy rubs! We enjoyed each other as Mercy came and went with her ball, until Mr. Purple pounced on top of her. Disgusted, she got off and headed to a toy. He stayed and visited for a good while. Then Miss Yellow came and insisted that I lift her into my lap. She often does that.

I had to laugh at Mr. Blue. Most pups start getting their ears up from the base. Not him. Yesterday his ears were flapped down all the way. Today his ears were totally “up” but they weren’t standing up. Instead they were out for his head like wings on a plane. He kept shaking his head and scratching at the right one which was straighter out than the left. I laughed and laughed. By late afternoon, both were up straight like a real GSD’s. Miss Red’s ears are now up. Miss White’s are beautifully up, too, but then they have been working on it for several days, just going down at the tips when she got tired. Miss Yellow’s are mostly up but tipped at the edges, making her VERY cute. 

The clouds came and went all day, giving periods of warm sunshine. It dried out enough that I mowed the rest of the yard late in the afternoon. I started with the part of the back yard which in just south of the puppy yard. The pups disappeared under cover when I mowed that section, but I went on to mow the section close ot the baby puppy yard and then on to the front yard. When I returned to the back yard and got close to the big puppy yard, all the pups came out and watched at the fence. I turned off the mower as it was time to change the pair of big dogs “helping” me, and the pups clamored for attention. They were still at the fence when I came out with new big dogs and restarted the mower to finish an area just past the back yard.

That section done, I put those dogs up and got Mercy out so I could mow the puppy yard. When I opened the big gate to the puppy yard, Mr. Purple & Miss Yellow came out. They could have cared less about the idling mower nearby. Miss Pink & Miss Orange came out, too, but were worried about the mower. When I got on the mower and engaged the blade, they went back inside and headed to the puppy house. Miss Yellow just about climbed onto the mower when I got on it; she was totally unconcerned. She and Mr. Purple followed me closely as I entered the yard and started mowing. We were joined by Mr. Blue and Miss Red. About that time, they saw Mercy outside the fence and all four took off after her. They even convinced her to stand for 30 seconds and let them nurse, then she headed towards me with her four satellites running as fast as they could. She circled twice around the puppy yard before heading out the big gate, with them following furiously. I even had to brake twice to let them go in front of me. The other four were on the transition area roof, watching.

As I mowed, I could see the four continuing to chase Mercy for all they were worth. She led them through the back yard several times. They finally tired and gave up but by that time they were at the gate by the puppy house. As I mowed, I could hear them complaining as they tried to join the others.

When I finished, I lifted them into the puppy yard to join their siblings and they raced to the water bowl. All that running and yelling really makes you thirsty.

I let them have a good nap before bringing them inside for playtime. All but Miss Red went racing ahead of me up the ramp – except a couple who didn’t wait to potty but climbed the steps and headed inside to see if the pool held pieces of roast (it did). Miss Red turned back halfway up the ramp and headed to the back yard so I let her go. By the time I got inside the beef was all gone and they were playing with toys.

I hadn’t had time to write up this diary so I decided to do that before sitting on the floor for a love in. Miss Yellow came and asked to get in my lap and Mr. Purple settled by my feet to be petted. It’s hard to type when you’re petting puppies. I was still trying to remember the day’s happenings when the timer went off, so out all of us trooped for a potty session. This time, before I headed inside, I picked up Miss Red so she’d have a chance at the second offering of roast in the pool. The others beat us inside and to the pool but they had to wait until I put her down and threw in the second batch of goodies. I’m cutting the pieces much bigger now but they still inhale them.

They’re not quite as wild tonight. During their second fifteen-minute session they brought toys into my office and settled close by to chew on them. This time it was Miss White and Miss Pink who lay at my feet and asked for loving while Miss Orange and Miss Yellow lay on the rug. They were humming happily. Mr. Purple and Miss Red came to visit too.
I could hear the others humming as they played with toys in the kitchen hallway. By that time I had caught up on my notes so I headed to the living room and sat down so they could snuggle. The timer eventually went off but we ignored it as everyone wanted to keep on cuddling. Miss Yellow, Mr. Purple and Miss Red are my most consistent cuddlers. The others all took turns, but those three kept trying to get closest to me. Miss Yellow and Mr. Purple asked for tummy rubs. Miss White was too busy trying to give leap up to give me kisses with teeth to ask for a tummy rub tonight. In fact, most were a little rough with their kisses so we worked on nice kisses with no teeth. When all were happy and began lying down, I got up, let Mercy out of her crate, and all of us raced down the hallway. I got her to lead them into the puppy yard before stopping to let them nurse. Once I was sure all 8 were in, I closed the gate and left her with them for 30 minutes. I then took out their supper, let Mercy out and told them goodnight.

44 Days (5/10) I fed the pups their breakfast and 30 minutes later put Mercy in with them. She was glad to see her pups and they were definitely glad to see her, but she was glad to leave them after 30 minutes. I had agility class this morning so we didn’t do ball sessions. I didn’t do anything with them after class because we were going to do Puppy Playtime at the Children’s Library this afternoon.

The library visit is a hoot: they invite all the young children who frequent the library to come for puppy playtime. This started when we began the Reading Dog program, where children signed up for times to read to a therapy dog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons (my German Shepherds were there on Fridays). The program was designed to help children who were struggling to learn to read by having them read to a totally-non judgmental therapy dog and thus gain confidence. Unfortunately, parents weren’t responsible about signing their kids up for reading sessions and showing up, so this fall the Reading Dog program was cancelled. Once the children’s librarian got to know me and my dogs, she asked me to bring my litters in and it’s very popular with children and their moms. The theater, where we do the puppy playdays, has a stage, a floor area and big deep steps rising up where the children sit to watch performances but when we come, where they climb up and down, followed by puppies. The steps are about 6″ high, a struggle for puppies to climb but they manage it eventually, and three feet deep. We used to only go once but the librarian really wants two visits. It’s definitely an adventure for the puppies, very different from the quiet, peaceful visits to the nursing homes and the senior daycare.

We had complaints when we did the Puppy Playdays for the last litter that we scheduled them too early, that parents couldn’t get the kids there in time after school, so this time we set the visit for 3:30. We didn’t have very many kids today, but it’s hard to tell if the time change was bad since today is the first nice day we’ve had in practically a month and people might have decided to do outdoor things instead. We go back in 2 weeks and will see if we get more kids. This is the first Puppy Playtime ever when the puppies were still playing after the last kids left. Usually the puppies crash before the children can be drug away. The adults got to play with them for a bit before we packed up.

When we got home, I had Mercy again help move them from the car to the puppy yard. I left her in with them for an hour, then brought her in and crated her. I let GloryToo & Quasi out and started mowing. I managed to get the closest part of the ball area mowed before it began raining again. The pups were playing in their yard when I started, so I called to them. They began to run to the fence to greet me and then changed their minds as they noticed the riding mower. As a group they pivoted and headed for the other side of the yard – to the lounge or transition area, I guess. I couldn’t see them until the rain forced me to put up the mower.

Tonight I substituted a regular hard plastic kiddie pool for the collapsible one. I had some more beef roast – I use it to reward Cantor for nosework finds. Since he is participating in a nosework seminar next Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a nosework trial next weekend, I have plenty on hand.

I opened the puppy yard gate and invited them out to potty and then to come into the house. Seven followed me up the ramp and, on their own, through the doggie door. I could hear them thundering down the hallway so I turned back to help Miss Pink, who was a little slow off the mark and got left behind, By the time we got inside they were all in the pool and the roast had nearly disappeared. I think she got the last bite. That larger, higher pool didn’t faze them one bit.

I turned on one of the noise CD’s but they pretty much ignore them by now.

Since it’s still raining, I decided to let Mercy out with them and let them have their evening time together in the house. She jumped into the pool to check for crumbs and then jumped out and ran down the hall, followed by a furry mass. I went out, too, to be sure all got down the ramp safely. They chased her around some and then she headed back towards the house so I went back in, laughing. For a while there was frantic movement up and down the hallway and then all settled down and Mercy would visit with two or three at a time, and others would visit with me. Miss Red found me first and cuddled at my feet as I worked on the computer. Then Mr. Purple spent some cuddle time.

I decided to use Photo Shop to edit the photos of the nursing home visits as I’m always fighting the photos being too yellow, caused by both artificial lights and light coming through the windows bouncing off walls and the shiny linoleum floors. Plus I can’t move around too much or the puppies all come to me, so I have to find a spot where I can photograph the residents playing with the pups no matter where it’s the best choice for lighting. The camera definitely struggles in those conditions. That extra editing is taking forever but I like what I’m getting. Of course, since I take about 500 photos per visit, it’s a VERY slow process.

I again set the timer for 15 minutes so I could continue to work on potty training. I don’t worry if some don’t come inside with us each time. They’ve all done it enough that they can come in if they’d like.

In the second period, it was Miss Yellow who came to cuddle. Miss Orange joined us for a while but soon left, while Miss Yellow talked me into putting her in my lap where we had a love-in compete with kisses (and an occasional bit on my nose). When Miss Pink came to visit, Miss Yellow decided to get down. Mr. Purple came, and Miss Pink left to wrestle with him, but Miss Yellow curled up on my feet for a while before being drawn into the group wrestle that had begun. Mr. Purple snuck back and took her place on my feet but she returned and settled on the other side of my feet. I saw Miss Red grab one of the washable puppy beds in a corner of my office and drag it down the hallway.

Then the timer went off and I convinced the pups to go outside again. I rescued the puppy bed on the way. I put up the cushioned beds before I bring the pups in but I usually leave these two since it’s so easy to wash them if a pup piddles – and with them right here in the office I can keep an eye out and rescue them anyway.

Mr. Blue had been outside but came in with us this time, along with several others. He was quite busy battling with all and sundry, except for Mr. Purple who again cuddled at my feet. Mercy much prefers this time to interact with the pups as they don’t all mob her. Naturally, with her out, I don’t put toys down for them nor do I sit on the floor to visit because she’d just climb in my lap.

Tomorrow, since they don’t go anywhere, we’ll do our usual toys and grandma routine – and a couple of sets of roast in the pool. Tonight I could hear them climbing back into the pool periodically, thinking there should be more food to find.

On the third round, they were beginning to wear down. Miss Yellow and Miss Red joined Mr. Purple at my feet with little groans of fatigue. A couple still raced up and down the hallway but more slowly and in shorter bursts. When the timer went off the third time they were pretty content to go to the puppy house and crash. Well, I should say half of them were. The other four wouldn’t go out with me but retreated to the living room, making carry them out two at a time. They’re getting big enough that it’s now a difficult task, but I accomplished it.

I’m trying, again, to quit soaking part of their kibble so for their late super I only used unsoaked kibble mixed with the raw meat, of which I’m now only using 15 cubes. By the time they leave they’ll be used to just kibble. If people choose to feed raw, I recommend that the raw meat diet meal be separate from kibble meals as they’re digested at different rates.

43 Days (5/9) We woke to another wet morning. I again fed the pups in the puppy house. They cleaned up the lot. They were not pleased when I changed their schedule. Since it’s so wet, I decided to wait to clean the puppy house and pick up poop until after Mercy’s ball session. I’d then have my boots on rather than get tennis shoes wet doing it early.

I fed them lunch shortly before Mercy’s ball session. Amazingly, the clouds had mostly lifted, the sun was out, and it was actually nice. I’m still feeding them in the puppy house as the blackbirds have found the puppy yard.

All the pups came barreling out when I opened the gate and didn’t even wait for me to lead them out towards the ball area. I put the toys down and they pounced on them. After Mercy chased the ball a few times, they again convinced her to stand still while they nursed; satisfied, they returned to playing. She'[s going to be in deep trouble in just a couple of days because they’re following the ball as she throws it down, and she’s not bringing it close because they’re close to me. A couple almost captured it today. She doesn’t drop the ball if I’m standing – we’ve from puppy hood done our sessions with me sitting and she is not open to a variation in her routine, so I don’t have the option, like I do when the others have ups, of walking around and being able to dart to the ball before they notice it. It will be interesting to see what happens.

The pups were so thrilled with the sunshine and not-so-soaked grass that they were exploring all over the place. Miss White even went all the way back to the puppy yard and inside it, back to the obstacle course, and then came all the way back around and joined us. Time up, I gathered toys and began calling pups. It took a while to get everyone headed back towards the puppy house. I finally got them to the general area and began changing papers while the puppies continued to play. Not a single one showed any interest in going ont the deck or into the house. Amazing what decent weather does.

Then I did poop detail in the yard, which took a while as I didn’t yesterday due to all the rain. Miss Orange decided I was taking way too long and she was ready to go in her yard for a nap. It had actually been nearly an hour so she had a point, but I finished the job while ignoring her running up and down the fence line yelling at the top of her lungs. Just before I finished, Miss White walked around the corner and joined her, though more wondering what all the fuss was about rather than making any complaint herself. All the other pups came when I called so I could lift them into the puppy yard. Miss White saw me putting her siblings in and came running, but Miss Orange was yelling so hard, especially since she saw the other pups heading into the transition/lounge areas, that she totally ignored me. I had to go around the corner of the fence and, when she still didn’t notice me, take a few steps and grab her. That surprised her, as I lifted her up, and she finally shut up and began wagging her tail. I put her in with the others, closed the top part of the gate, and peace descended as puppies got drinks and disappeared to rest.

The weather continued unsettled but gradually improved and I didn’t have to worry about wet puppies for the visit. Peggy came to help me put clean collars on the pups and then load them in the car for their visit to the Alzheimer’s Unit at Sheridan Manor. Linda, Tessa & Charlene met us there and helped with the visit. The pups played for 55 minutes before they finally crashed, to the great delight of the residents. They also showed great interest in Joys’ keys on a lanyard, carrying them around and playing tug.

When they came home, I put Mercy in with them for about an hour and then crated her. I put her in with them late in the evening for nearly two hours, then took her out and fed them supper. Tonight she’ll be away from them all night. I didn’t bring them in for a playtime tonight since I had agility class.

42 Days (5/8) When I cleaned the puppy house/yard this morning, I found the missing toys. One was VERY wet but the other two were dry.

While I was cleaning, I could see the pups having a great time running up and down the ramp to the deck landing. Since it was again raining, I was glad at least they were under the roof. Once I finished, I called the pups, seven of whom came running. Miss White sat on the deck and watched as I lifted the others into the puppy house. When I turned, thinking to pick her up, she had disappeared. I’d been wondering when they’d figure out they could go into the house at will so I headed up the steps and went inside. Sure enough, she was inside. Not only was she inside, but she (and possible others who had gone in and out, had captured my slippers and carried them around. I hadn’t even thought, when I exchanged them for the shoes I wear for quick trips outside, to put the slippers up somewhere. From now on I will. One was in the kitchen and one was by the doggie door – and that one was quite damp as if it had been carried all over by puppies. Miss White seemed extremely proud of herself.

Since they’re six weeks old today, Mercy spent most of the day away from them. They had a good nursing sessions as I cleaned the puppy house, then she was crated until I got home from doing Reading Dog at Tongue River Elementary School all morning. After both pups and big dogs had lunch, I put Mercy in with her pups for an hour or so.

Tonight I again had pieces of roast in the pool when they came in – and they had a mad race to get into the house and down the hall. I played my other noise CD tonight. Still not a lot of reaction. I did see a couple of heads tilt when the sirens and a foghorn played.

Miss Yellow brought me the ball and presented it to me, and Mr. Purple brought one of the soft toys. These were deliberate offerings and they were very proud of themselves. Cantor does that a lot – usually with the bone he always carries around. He seems to give that to his puppies. Mercy is the only one of mine who brings me any lost balls she finds outside. She also found and brought me one of the three missing toys this morning, so I’m not surprised to see the pups doing this. It is so very cute.

Twice, each time after 15 minutes of playtime in the house, I called the pups who were inside and headed out to encourage them to potty. On the second trip, all were in the house and came out the people door with me except Miss Yellow. I could hear her yelling by the door as the rest of us got down to ground level, so I started heading to the steps to help lift the flap. She beat me to it and came tumbling out on her own – and promptly decided to take the short way down the steps to me, followed by Miss White, who had headed back up the ramp as I started for the steps. Both were very proud of themselves. They’re definitely beginning to get the idea that these trips are for them to potty. I tell them “Go potty” and really praise “GOOD potty” as each one goes. They think that praise is pretty cool.

Towards the end of the third fifteen-minute session (and most nights as they tire), I began to acquire a puppy collection around my feet. Mr. Purple is always there, and usually Miss White and Miss Yellow. Miss Orange joined us, too.

When the timer went off, I called the pups and headed for the door. All started to follow me but, as I headed outside, only Mr. Blue, Miss Orange & Miss Pink came out. The others said, “No way, we’re staying in.” I put the three in the puppy yard and headed back up the steps. By the time I came out with a couple more pups, Miss Orange and Miss Pink had figured out how to climb over the bottom section of the puppy gate and were headed up the ramp to go back into the house. I hurried down to put the two in my arms in the yard and Mr. Blue climbed out. I corralled him and, thankfully, Miss Orange & Miss Pink joined me at the gate. I got them in and closed the top part of the gate as well, then headed inside for the others. I grabbed two more, leaving only Miss White, who (thank goodness!) followed us out of the house, down the ramp and to the gate. I counted to be sure I had the entire herd and headed back to the house. They stayed at the gate, yelling, so I decided to fix their supper now rather than wait. No use letting them fall asleep and then not want to eat later. I fixed less than the daytime amount and put it in one big bowl, which I placed in the puppy house. A couple of pups were already in the house but the others were still yelling at the gate, so I stepped inside and closed the door so they could follow my voice and come in. When all were happily sniffing my offering, I quietly stepped out and closed the door. I put Mercy in with them when I went to bed. More rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow so I’ll wait until the weather improves before leaving her away from them all night.

41 Days (5/7) The pups visit the other local nursing home, Westview Healthcare Center, this afternoon, so I was not happy (nor surprised) to wake up to 100% humidity and a very dark, gray day. I hope it holds off so I can take DRY puppies. Meanwhile, I fed them breakfast in the puppy house. Several were already in there and all but Mr. Purple came quickly. Once they began eating, I went in search of him. He looked like he had just thrown up a little curdled milk. They do that sometimes if they over eat, so I didn’t think much of it but picked him up and put him in the puppy house.

None of the pups showed during the first three ball sessions. When GloryToo went out, they began emerging and playing, soon going to the obstacle course and running u and down all the ramps. I had to laugh at the pups. When I said something to GloryToo, all the heads popped up and they came charging towards me. Several had been on one of the high platforms. All but Miss Red went down the ramp onto the lower level and ran down that path to the ground. Not her – she balked at trying the swinging bridge and decided instead to jump onto the tunnel. She ran along the top of the tunnel to the ramp going to the closer high platform, jumped onto it and ran to the platform, then halted as if trying to figure out what to do. Rather than turn back and go down to the lower walkway, she did the slide all by herself. It wasn’t graceful and she was making a “yikes!” noise like a kid going down a slide for the first time. She slid all the way to the ground and ran to where I was standing at the fence giving her all kinds of praise.

I counted seven and went over to check. Sure enough, Mr. Purple was missing. I checked the puppy house as GloryToo and I returned to the house, and he was in there. He wagged his tail but didn’t get up, unusual. At this age they do occasionally eat something they’re investigating. I checked him again after Quasi’s ball session and he was the same, so when I went out with Mercy, I gave him some Pepto-Bismol. He had been in the transition area with the others and didn’t want to come out when they did, so I knelt down and drew him out to give him the meds. I thought he’d just stay in the puppy yard but he surprised me by coming out with the mob and following us out to the play area. He even checked out some of the toys and had a wrestling match with Miss Yellow, but mostly he was content to hang out with me and twice asked to be held I my lap. It’s a little hard to use a ChuckIt while holding a puppy but I managed. At one point, the pups convinced Mercy to stand and let them nurse and he went over, too, and nursed a little. He came back with us and was happy when I lifted everyone into the puppy house. I then mixed up their lunch and took it out to them. He wasn’t interested, but that’s just as well. He just settled on a fleece pad. His eyes are bright, gums pink, nose cold, he peed normally – everything looks normal – so I think it’s a mild tummy upset. I’ll watch him closely.

I was prepared to leave him home with Mercy while we took the others to Westview, but when Peggy and I went out to trim their nails and then walk them to the car, he was right in the middle of the bunch and seemed fine. The pups rode great this trip. Only one voice in the back complained at all. The four that I could see in the front crates sat up most of the way and looked at the world going by. Good puppies!!!! This is a very smart bunch. They seem to figure things out after one introduction.

He seemed to really enjoy himself at the nursing home. He might not have played quite as long as the others but not by much. He and Mr. Blue again fell asleep in people’s arms. Miss Yellow was the ‘visiting” hit as she gave super eye contact and kisses to everyone who held her.

I took different toys (which I do for every visit) and they pounced on them as soon as we opened the bag. We had some very entertaining tug battles. The residents also got a big kick out of the grunting noise the latex pig made when they attacked it. I usually take something that makes weird noises on every visit except the first one, which is stressful enough. Today I took a battery operated train engine that moves on its own while playing music. We got lots of laughs out of the pups bravely following it to investigate and then jumping out of the way as it reversed and headed to them. Mr. Blue and Miss Pink were the ones most interested in it.

They played for about 30 minutes and then began settling down. Everyone got a kick out of Miss Red who resolutely kept following me as I moved around to take photos, trying to settle in my lap. She finally gave up and decided to use my foot as a pillow and was quite insulted when I transferred her to a resident’s foot. Eventually she accepted that and stayed there quite a while, to the resident’s great pleasure. About 50 minutes after we arrived, we ended the visit, packed up the toys and picked up the puppies. By then the rain was pouring down. Rather than get them all wet trying to potty them in the drenched grass, we carried them to the car. They promptly fell asleep and were fine, pottying when I unloaded them at the house. I let Mercy out to greet them and she led them around to the puppy yard and let them nurse. I left her in with them for about an hour and let her back into the house.

I fed them an hour later. They didn’t eat a lot so I left the remainder in one bowl in the puppy house.

When I brought the pups in tonight at about 6:30, they raced to the collapsible pool and dove in for the tiny pieces of beef roast. Mr. Purple seemed totally normal. While they were eating, I put a “scary sounds” desensitizing tape in the CD player. I have two of those which have sounds of fireworks, thunderstorms, crowds, vehicle noises, voices, barking dogs, yowling cats, crying babies and so on. Of course, the pups are exposed to normal household sounds, and I never worry about dropping food bowls or garbage can lids around them when I’m cleaning the puppy house, but I’ll play these CD’s often to expose them to a lot of different noises.

I didn’t see much reaction. They just grabbed toys and began running around. We’ve had a total deluge going on outside, ever since I got them home from Westview about 2:45 and it shows no sign of stopping. They were obviously glad to be able to stretch their legs.

After 15 minutes I called them to head outside to potty, which they did enthusiastically. A few have already figured out how to go out the doggie door onto the deck and down, so I only had to maneuver with the five who were in the house. I wasn’t looking forward to it and was pleasantly surprised to find only a sprinkle instead of a downpour. Mr. Purple is definitely feeling better as he soon attached to my pant legs and tugged while I waited for everyone to potty. I then headed back into the house and six pups followed me. I scattered the last of the beef pieces in the pool and those pups dove in and vacuumed them up.

I gave them another 20 minutes and then took the ones who were still in the house outside. Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow, Miss Red and Miss Yellow had curled up on my feet as I worked on the computer. The others had gone out to the puppy yard and, I found out when I started to pick up the toys, absconded with three of them. I quickly looked in the area between the deck and the puppy yard but couldn’t see the missing three. At that time the downpour recommenced so I decided just to look for the toys in the morning when I clean and do poop detail. They may be ruined by then but most are washable.

When it was time for their late supper, I checked to see if they had finished their earlier meal. All were in the puppy house but there was still a lot of food left so I just stirred it up so it wasn’t stuck to the bowl and didn’t bring them any more. When I put Mercy in with them at bedtime they still had some left so I didn’t worry that they were skipping a meal.

See more detailed information and photos of pups 28 – 41 days of age

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40 Days (5/6) It rained hard during the night and we woke to no rain but about 150% humidity. I fed the pups breakfast inside the puppy house. Several were already there so I put down the bowls, stepped inside, closed the door and called. The rest immediately left the gate and barreled through the transition area and into the house. They hardly took time to greet me before falling upon the food, so I was glad that I added an extra 1/2 cup of dry kibble. I’m now only feeding 20 cubes of raw meat so I mixed in 1 cup soaked and 1.5 cups dry kibble. Earlier I had tried to lessen the amount of soaked kibble but they left most of the dry kibble, but now I think they’re ready.

Huge snowflakes began drifting down at 7 a.m. Thankfully, by the time I went out to clean the puppy house and yard, it was neither raining nor snowing but it is sure a miserable day. The pups were in the puppy house but eagerly came outside as I opened the door, racing to nurse on Mercy. I stepped in and took out the bowls – both totally empty. I’ll raise their dry kibble to2 cups at lunch and see how they do. Someone had also nearly emptied the bowl of dry kibble I keep in the puppy house, whether Mercy or pups I don’t know.

As I was changing papers and fleece pad (damp from tracked-in moisture), I could see puppies on the deck. I never saw anyone going up to the deck but definitely could see them having races down the ramp. That’s great, as it should encourage them to begin using the obstacle course. The ramp, as well as the obstacle course, is covered with agility matting, so the pups will easily begin to explore the ramps and landings on the obstacle course since the ramp to the deck is now a fun highway.

After doing poop detail in the puppy yard, I lifted the pups into the yard. By the time I came back with a clean bucket of water for the puppy house, all were inside. I had put down two fleece pads to help keep them dry and they were stretched out enjoying them.

About 11 a.m. the clouds moved off and the sun came out. While I was throwing the ball for Spirit, the pups came out to play. I had to laugh at Miss Green & Miss Pink. They had discovered they could climb onto the kiddie trampoline. At first they lay there and looked around – it had to be much drier than the grass. Then they began wrestling. Then they jumped off and raced around and played chase. Soon they were back up on it. A couple other puppies hung around the edge of the trampoline, watching, but I saw no one else get up on it.

I was able to feed the pups their lunch outside. When I took it out, Miss White & Mr. Purple were on the roof of the transition/lounge areas, playing up there where it was dry. They stood and yelled as I put down the bowls, but as soon as I moved along the fence to the south fence line, Mr. Purple leapt onto the ram and raced down. Miss White had to think about it but then she took a huge leap and landed farther down the ramp and barreled down, running into the pups already assembled around the bowls. I had to laugh! Graceful it was not.

When I came out with Lively for her ball session, the pups were just about done eating. Soon they headed into the yard to play. This time, the whole bunch raced to the obstacle course. Almost immediately Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Blue & Mr. Purple were going up and down the ramps and onto the high platforms. Then Miss Green attempted the swinging bridge. Heavy snows this winter stretched the webbing holding the wood strips together so that the bridge is much steeper where it joins both high platforms. Miss Green slid down the first end but then hesitated to try to climb up the steep other end. Instead, she jumped onto the tunnel which parallels it and then slid to the ground. The weather has been so miserable I haven’t yet contacted my carpenter friends to see how we can fix the swinging bridge so the arc is manageable for young pups.

All the pups then raced to play around the trampoline, which is just behind the puppy house. Soon Miss Pink and Miss Red returned to the obstacle course and climbed up and down all the ramps, checking out the high platforms.

When Lively’s ball session was done and I headed to the house, I saw Miss Orange, Miss Pink & Miss Green on the trampoline bouncing around.

They didn’t finish all of their lunch so I combined it into one small bowl and put that in the puppy house for a later snack. More clouds have moved in and covered the sun, so it’s cool enough the flies aren’t out, but it will be better in there in case we get more rain. Mercy is now spending most of the day away from them; she’ll clean it up if they don’t.

When I came back out with the next dog (GloryToo), Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow & Miss Green were on the roof. They came flying down as I came down the deck steps but then went back up as I turned away to go to the big yard to throw the ball. No one was in sight when we returned to the house.

The clouds continued to roll in lower and lower and darker all throughout Quasi’s ball session. We lucked out, though, because it still wasn’t raining when Mercy came out for her play time. The pups had had a good night and came out yawning and stretching when I opened their gate and called them. I hated to use the puppy drag with everything so wet, so I brought out some weather-proof toys for the pups. Them loved them and had quite a few three-way tug battles plus several games of keep away. Miss Pink and Miss Yellow demanded to sit on my lap and cuddle in between play sessions. The pups were so busy that none chased after Mercy, though after a while they began mobbing her as she returned and dropped her ball. Several times I thought Miss Red or Mr. Blue or Miss White were going to take off with Mercy’s ball, but she managed to push them off and try again to drop it close enough that I could reach it with the ChuckIt. I was wearing hiking boots due to the wet ground and Miss Pink managed to untie one completely. At least she didn’t cut the shoelace. The downside of not using the puppy drag was that several pups enjoyed tugging madly on my pant legs as I tried to walk, so the journey to and from the puppy yard was slow. Finally we got back to the puppy yard once Mercy’s play time was up. I lifted the pups over the baby gate barring the people door so they knew where their leftover lunch was. All headed first for the water bucket, but as I closed the door I saw a couple heading for a snack.

Before I brought them in tonight I set up some new “adventures.” One is a collapsible little collapsible kiddie pool, which tonight held some tiny pieces of beef roast. I also set up the puppy adventure box. And got the camera ready.

They saw the pool first and headed towards it. I lifted them in since it was the first time and it’s a little taller than their withers. I didn’t show them the food, but let them figure it out, which most did. I let them decide when and how to exit the pool. Miss Pink was first to show interest and had almost figured out how to get in by the time the last pup got close enough for me to lift them in. Those meat pieces disappeared in a flash and several times pups went back, looking for more, and several climbed in to search for crumbs. This is the beginning of training them to use their noses AND observing who has the most desire to use them. In a day or two, once they’ve learned that goodies await them in the living room and can hardly wait to get into the house, I’ll change to a regular hard-plastic kiddie pool which makes them work harder to get to the food.

Then they began playing with the toys, all of which were new to them. I had just used up a roll of paper towels, so I also put the roll end out for them. They love simple things like that. I saw several three-way tug battles, complete with very surprised looks on the faces of the pups who originally had a toy and were walking away with it. Suddenly not one but two siblings would make a grab at a toy and the battle was on.

After about 15 minutes I took them for a potty break. Most went out the people door with me but a couple headed for the doggie door. All ran down the ramp. I had to detach a couple from my pant leg in order to urge them to potty. Once they were done, I headed back up the ramp and six came up with me. I lifted them through the doggie door and headed through the people door before they tumbled back out. The other two soon came up on their own.

In the beginning, they had shown little interest in the puppy adventure box but really interacted with it after their break. Miss Yellow and Miss Pink really got into tugging on some of the objects, especially the set of keys. Miss Yellow was bound and determined that she could move that box across the floor and darned near did it!
I took some photos of them playing and really tried to get shots of how nicely their ears are coming up. I hope a few are worth keeping; it seemed like every time I focused and pressed the shutter another pup leapt in front of the lens. It’s hard doing photos by yourself because they’re very intent on getting some cuddling in and won’t give me a little distance for photos. Miss Pink had an ear up today for the first time. Both Miss Yellow’s are up except they’re tipped at the top. I keep forgetting to note that both of Mr. Purple’s are pretty much up and Miss White’s aren’t far behind. The only one I’ve really noticed not making an effort to get his up is Mr. Blue, and they’re obviously heavy and large like his dad’s. Miss Red has one nearly totally up.

After about 40 minutes they began to crash so I called them to follow me outside. All came out with me, raced down the ramp and headed for their water bowl in the puppy yard. I detached several from my pant legs, counted them in and closed the gate. Just before bed I took out their supper – adding only 1 cup of unsoaked kibble since they had had the roast. They left a little but not much, which of course Mercy was very happy to clean up when I put her in with them for the night. I have reduced her from 4 meals to 3 as we slowly begin the weaning process.

39 Days (5/5) We just can’t seem to have two nice days in a row: it’s supposed to rain today and the next 4 days, 50% chance each day. At least it held off while the pups had their breakfast outside, and was still holding off when I went out to clean the puppy house and yard though the temperature was dropping. I turned up the heater in the puppy house. They definitely didn’t spend much time in there yesterday as I only had to pick up a couple of “yellow” newspapers. If they nap in there someone usually can’t make it out the doggie door in time. They were still nursing on Mercy when I stepped out of the house and then into the puppy yard. Just as I finished poop detail, it started to sprinkle. I picked up several puppy poops in the obstacle course section so they’re now using nearly all of this big yard. YES!!!  I also found a couple of puppy poops outside the gate into the ball area, so they were playing out there while I was cleaning their house and yard. Good puppies! Nice exploratory behavior and real confidence in new areas.

They hung out of sight in the transition/lounge area all morning, with no playing that I could see. They appeared as I finished GloryToo’s ball session, just about the time for their lunch. I fixed it and took it out and all eight rushed to mob me and then fell upon the bowls. They cleaned nearly all of it up, too.

Twenty minutes later, when I opened the gate and invited them out to “help” with Mercy’s ball session, they were ready. All came thronging out and immediately attacked my puppy drag or my pant legs. All easily went through the gate into the big area and started running after Mercy, who was already way out, by my chair, waiting for me to throw her ball. With Miss Pink riding on the gunnysacks and a couple more tugging, it took me some time to get out there. Today the pups weren’t as interested in chasing Mercy as they were yesterday, but immediately started exploring and playing.

My friend had come at 10 with the battery charger and gotten my mower started, so I had tried to mow before it rained. I only made one sweep around the edges of the huge ball area when a wheel on the mower assembly came off and I had to baby the mower back to the front. The puppies immediately noticed the “path” of mowed grass and took off in both directions following it. Mr. Purple went east on the path, then turned around and heading west, back towards my chair, before heading into the shelterbelt on the north end of the ball area. The others went WAY east and then, diverted by Mercy chasing her ball, left the “path” and headed south to intercept her before trying to catch her as she came back to me with her ball.

I should say all the puppies followed the path except Mr. Blue, who settled down on the gunny sack at my feet and hung out with me. The others would come back and visit, wrestle with each other a bit, then take off again. While they were close to me they’d grab hold of my pant leg or shoe, so we had some “no bite” lessons. They were insulted that I would press their lips against their gums as I said “no bite,” but each pup soon got the idea and enjoyed my praise “GOOD no bite” when they let go. We’ll be doing a lot of these lessons as they now grab everything that moves or attracts their attention.

I had moved the pool yesterday afternoon to its summer location in a shady spot at the edge of the shelterbelt. It’s about 40′ north of my chair, which is maybe 30′ north of the puppy yard fence. The puppies followed Mercy when she headed to the pool – which is a circular, 4′ diameter sheep tank that’s about 15″ high. Miss Orange was fascinated and put her front feet on the rim so she could better watch her mother playing with her ball in the water. Then she took a drink and thought that was pretty cool. She was quickly joined by Miss Yellow and Miss Pink, who made it “up” on the rim just before Mercy jumped out. Miss Green and Miss Red noticed them and soon were also propped up on the rim, drinking and watching the ripples. It was a little bit of a stretch for Miss Red but she didn’t let that deter her.

It began sprinkling seriously just as we finished Mercy’s session. I drug most of them back to the yard on the puppy drag and then on to the faucet, as I needed to refill their outside water bucket since yesterday’s wind had blown leaves in it. I had to really watch my step on the way back with puppies underfoot as well as on the gunnysack plus a bucket of water in one hand. I made it, gave them fresh water, and corralled them, still nice and dry. By the time I came out next, with Lovely for her ball session, the ground was definitely wet. A couple of the pups were visible under the ramp heading off the lounge area roof, but all the others were invisible.

It rained hard all afternoon but quit while I was at 5 p.m. Mass, so I was able to feed them their supper outside. I was very pleased that all the pups were dry and warm.

Later I brought the pups in to play but did it a little differently tonight. I left Mercy out of her crate so it was really easy to get them all inside. I carried Miss Orange and Miss Red up the steps and put them through the doggie door, then told Mercy to go in and to stay in the house. By the time she was inside, Miss Yellow was up the steps. I lifted her through and turned to find Mr. Purple with only one more step to climb. As I put him through the doggie door, Miss White came onto the deck. As I put her through, Miss Pink was almost up the steps so I went down a couple of steps, grabbed her and put her through. That left Mr. Blue & Miss Green who were running around playing on the ground. I had to go down and capture them. Mr. Blue didn’t notice Mercy nursing her family a few feet down the hallway and promptly came back out the doggie door, but I grabbed him, put him through then raced through the people door in time to catch him before he popped out again and push him towards his mother. Once they had a drink, they began racing up and down the hallway. I typed this entry and then quietly continued editing their nursing home photos, waiting to see if anyone would find me. For a while they were too busy chasing each other back and forth down the hallway but eventually Mr. Blue, Miss White & Miss Red stumbled across me. In fact, they nearly ran over me as they were so busy sniffing the floor that they didn’t see me. That made me chuckle despite myself and brought, Miss Green, Mr. Purple & Miss Pink in here. The others raced off again but Mr. Blue & Miss White stayed to visit and be petted until Mercy walked in my little “office” and back out, when of course they followed her.

After I listened for a while to all kinds of play growls and thundering feet in the living room and hallway, Miss Pink found me and enjoyed a quiet visit. She was soon joined by Mr. Purple but, again, Mercy distracted them and off they raced. As the pups tired, several came to lie at my feet and be petted. Miss White was first and stayed quite a while, until Mr. Purple walked all over her. He then settled to visit, joined soon by Mr. Blue. They left, to be replaced by Miss Pink. Of course all of this wasn’t all roses, as they’d grab my pant leg and tug fiercely or else chew on my shoe so we had a few “leave it” lessons interspersed by peaceful petting times.

Miss Pink, Miss White, Mr. Purple & Mr. Blue were the ones who spent the most time cuddling around my chair.

After about 45 minutes, the pups began to crash, so I put them outside, again with great help from Mercy. I crated her until after I fed them just before bedtime, then put her out with them.

38 Days (5/4) This morning I decided to do poop detail in the puppy yard before cleaning the puppy house. I lifted them out of the puppy yard and stepped in, thinking they’d wear themselves out exploring and playing. Mistake! I was attacked by puppies as I left the puppy yard and had to drag several with me around to the front of the house to dump the poop bucket. They were attached to my pant legs and pulling for all they were worth. All 8 came along, and all 8 followed me back. I eventually managed to lift my legs over the baby gate and get inside the puppy house.

By the time I changed papers and fleece pad, they were ready to go back in. I lifted them over the yard gate and then had to dodge them to change the water in their outside bowl. All that tugging had made them thirsty. As soon as they were satisfied, they headed for the transition area and crashed. I didn’t hear or see them for over an hour.

When I went out with GloryToo for her ball session, the puppies were stirring. They followed a little ways along the fence line separating the puppy yard from the ball area. Then when I came out with Quasi, Miss Yellow, Miss Pink & Mr. Blue followed all the way along the fence to the big gate just before the obstacle course. They watched me sit in the chair and were obviously trying to find out where my voice was coming from – they can’t see very well yet, especially if something isn’t moving. I began to talk to them and they got all excited and talked back. They were soon joined by Miss White and all four went o to the obstacle course, played under the horizontal landings for a bit. I could hear them conversing with each other as they explored and played. They then wandered back to the puppy house. Soon Mr. Blue came all the way back as if looking for me. When I spoke so he could locate me, he got all excited, sat and talked a lot. Eventually he wandered back to the puppy house. Then Miss Red & Mr. Purple came all the way to the end of the puppy yard and played under the obstacle course, not paying a lot of attention to me. I watched them “tasting” the leafing-out branches of the current bushes and generally getting to know their environment. They’re definitely getting a lot of exercise running back and forth.

I’ve always had some kind of obstacle course to encourage the pups to learn to use their bodies. We notice in agility that few dogs ever know where their hind legs go and we do specific exercises to teach them to be aware of both front and rear ends so they’re safe on the equipment. My original course consisted of a picnic table with a plank parallel to its surface and against it, halfway to the ground (to catch pups in case they fell off the picnic table). On both ends and the “off” side of the picnic table I created ramps, one a whole sheet of plywood so 4′ wide and very long and gradual, others half that wide and shorter, plus a couple of wooden boxes making big “steps.” Eventually all that rotted, so in the summer of 2016, friends (including a professional carpenter!) helped me construct a REAL obstacle course at the far end of the “big puppy” yard (which has more room and of course is better suited to older pups than does/is the “baby puppy” yard). The obstacle course consists of two platforms 18″ off the ground, two platforms 3′ high, a low, nearly level walkway between the two lower platforms and ramps between each high and low platform. One big (4′ wide) ramp goes off the easternmost high platform towards the far (east) edge of the “big puppy” yard, while a slide goes off the westernmost edge of the other high platform and between the two high platforms we built a swinging bridge. The ramps go off the low walkway in different directions. Everything is covered with agility matting to give traction and safety. And, to complete the adventure, I put an old agility tunnel under the high platforms and their ramps down to the lower ones. We usually have to introduce the pups to the swinging bridge and slide but they soon use them as well as all the up-and-down possibilities.

(Follow the link at the top of the page to see photos of pups in the big puppy yard AND on the obstacle course.)

After Quasi cooled off, it was Mercy’s time for a ball session. I put on the puppy drag (to trey to divert them from my pant legs) and then opened the puppy yard gate and called out the puppies. The puppy drag is a piece of rope I can fasten around my waist. Gunny sacks are attached to the rope and move enticingly as I move around, so the pups focus on biting and tugging on them. The only down side is that when pups are attached to the drag, it gets pretty heavy and makes it hard for me to move.

All 8 puppies willingly followed me out the back yard gate into the ball area. That’s unusual – usually one or more are uncertain of the new area at first. Not these guys! They either were chasing Mercy or were attached to the puppy drag or my pant legs, Miss Yellow and Miss Pink being the worst on my pants. I managed to make it all the way out to my chair where I sit to throw the ball (I have a foot condition which makes them ache so I try to stay off them as much as possible).

Miss Pink, Miss Yellow, Mr. Purple and Miss Red immediately started chasing Mercy as she chased her ball. They’d follow her WAY out and then back part ways, soon figuring out that it did no good to come all the way back to me as by the time they got there she was already heading after another ball. The others attacked the gunny sacks or each other for a bit before deciding to chase Mercy as well. Eventually Miss Red tired out and came back to hang out at my chair for a bit with Mr. Blue, who wasn’t much into the chasing game.

After several throws, Mercy wouldn’t bring the ball to me but rather headed for the pool that is still positioned close to the gate into the play area so I only have to use one hose to refill it. Soon I’ll move it under a shaded platform farther out into the play area, but I haven’t yet since it’s been cold and wet enough I haven’t gotten out the other two hoses I need to reach it in its summer position. Several times Miss Yellow chased her to the pool and then back to me for the next ball throw. That girl REALLY got some exercise. Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss White followed her one time and then took off exploring.

When Mercy’s fifteen-minute ball session was finished, I called the pups and we headed back (slowly because of puppies on my pants and the drag) and I eventually got them into the puppy yard. They really wanted to nurse on Mercy so it took some grabbing to get all eight captured.

The day turned out to be lovely, so I turned the heater way down in the puppy house. They didn’t need to spend much time in there today anyway. They ate most of all their meals so for tomorrow I only put out 22 meat cubes per meal to thaw.

I had hoped to mow – another big adventure – noisy machinery close by – for the pups – but the battery is dead on my riding mower. Instead, I spent hours editing the photos from their nursing home visit. The Alzheimer’s patients really enjoy watching the photos, so each time I take some I burn them onto CD’s and write up a commentary that can be read as they watch. One of the staff members told me last week that they enjoyed the nineteen-day-old photos so much they wanted to watch them several times. They take them into a room with a large wall-mounted TV for that. When it was time for their mid-afternoon snack (usually a BIG deal), which they have in a smaller room in the unit, the residents refused to budge. Staff members had to bring their snack to them there. They got quite a kick out of that and made sure to tell me how big a hit my weekly dog and (puppy visits) are. I’m trying to get the photos from Thursday’s visit there as soon as I can. We go just to the Alzheimer’s Unit this Thursday, so they’ll get to watch the pups playing. Last week the pups were so tired from the visit to the rest of the residents that they didn’t play much and there were some disappointed people. By the time I realized my friend couldn’t come try to charge it, I was out of energy and didn’t bring the pups in for a playtime.

Instead, I gave Mercy a cuddle time while the pups ate their late supper, then put her in with them for the night.

37 Days (5/3) We finally had a pretty decent day and the pups took full advantage of it. Every time I checked them they were either running around or else flat out crashed. I had agility class this morning so didn’t do ball sessions, but tomorrow when we have a regular day with ball sessions, I’m going to let the pups out of the puppy yard when I do Mercy’s ball session and see if anyone will follow us to the play area.

They nearly cleaned up all three daytime meals, so tomorrow I’m going to slightly decrease the meat amount while increasing the kibble. I’ve been weighing out 1/2# of raw meat cubes for each meal, but tonight I counted two batches after I weighed them. There were 30 cubes in each batch. I reduced that to 25 cubes per meal for tomorrow.

I brought the pups in to play tonight and also weighed and wormed them. All that was a difficult exercise. First it took a lot of effort to get pups into the house. As I carried a pair up the deck steps to put them through the doggie door into the house, others would be coming out. I finally got 5 inside at the same time and went inside to show them the toys and to weigh and worm them.

Eventually I got the worming accomplished based on approximate weights. The pups bounced around so much on the scale that I could only approximate the weights. Once I finished those five, I tried to sneak outside to get the others. I grabbed the two closest ones and headed up the steps, only to hear noise behind me and see Miss Yellow working her way up the steps. What a girl! She made it to the landing so I opened the people door to carry the other two inside and she came in with us. Meanwhile two or three had gone out the doggie door and headed down the ramp.
Miss Red continues to be the smallest, at 7# 6 ounces, followed by Miss Pink and Mr. Purple at 9# even. Then we have Miss White at 9# 2 ounces and Miss Yellow at 9# 12 ounces. Next is Miss Pink at `10# even, Mr. Blue at 10# 5 ounces and Miss Green at 10# 8 ounces.

Once I weighed and wormed the last three, I went to the doggie door and called the wandering ones. I gave up, though as, the ones inside of course came thundering to answer my call. I headed into the living room, with puppies attacking my feet, and sat down for our evening love-in. It didn’t take long for the ones who were outside to decide it was much more interesting to come inside. And they did it all by themselves. Soon I could count 8 puppies racing around having fun in between visits with me.

At one point they had an intense four-way tug battle going on. Miss Yellow, Miss Pink, Miss Green and Miss Red accompanied their tugging with all kinds of growls. Eventually they tired and pushed the other four away from me to get some loving. That was okay with them because they had quite a while to sit in my lap and give kisses – and to have the first “no bite” lessons, too.

Eventually all wore down and began to crash. I fixed their supper – with a pile of pups sitting around my feet with uplifted faces, saying hurry, hurry, hurry -and again put the bowls on the deck to help hold them outside as I got all eight rounded up. Seven raced down the hallway with me and streamed out the people door as I went out. With them munching, it was easy to go searching for the last on, who happened to be Miss Yellow. She was just stretching out underneath the couch and at first was not too happy when I picked her up.

She was happy to dive into the food bowls, though, and gave me a chance to get outside. I picked up the bowls and started down the ramp, calling the puppies. Seven came down and followed me to the puppy yard gate, bouncing up and down as they waited for me to lift them over to the food bowls. Miss Green, however, was doing a dance on the deck as she couldn’t make up her mind whether to go back inside through the doggie door or follow her siblings. I had to go get her, grabbing he just as she started through the doggie door. Whew! All corralled, finally. I left them to eat while GloryToo and Quasi had their cuddle session and then Mercy and Cantor had theirs. I then put Mercy in with them for the night, turned out all the lights and headed for my own bed.

36 Days (5/2) When I went out to clean the puppy house, I noticed Miss Orange had lost her collar. Yesterday it was Miss White who showed up without one. In the snow, there was no way I could search for it so I put on a very light tan collar since I don’t have an extra white collar. Thankfully, Miss Orange’s collar was in the transition area. I then looked for Miss White’s collar and finally found it in the yard, but it was chewed in two. They probably had fun playing tug with it.

They had their first car ride and nursing home visit today. Peggy came to help me load them. We were impressed at how easy this group was to get to follow us all the way around the house to the front and load into the car. Three actually pooped on the way – and no one pottied during the hour visit. Impressive!

They yelled at the top of their lungs the short (five minute) drive to Sheridan Manor. Tess and Linda met us there to help with the visit. After we pottied them, we carried them into the activity room and they immediately pounced on the toys I brought while the staff members began bringing in the residents. They had some good tug battles and also chased the tennis balls, a first. They played and played and played, greatly entertaining everyone. My three helpers helped the residents hold pups and pet them throughout the visit while I took photos. Most, especially Miss Red, were way too busy to sit in laps but both Miss Yellow and Mr. Blue fell asleep while being held and stayed in the residents’ arms for quite a while. The expressions on the faces of those two residents were priceless.

After 35 minutes in the big activity room, we moved the pups to the Alzheimer’s Unit. They were pretty conked out and mostly happy to be held. I told the residents that next week we’d only come to the unit so they’d get to see them play. Mr. Purple fell asleep on one resident’s lap. She was thrilled. After about 25 minutes we loaded up the toys and puppies and took them home. There were a few protests as I drove but not much. Mercy was quite glad to see them and helped me unload them and get them back around the house to the puppy yard, where they had a BIG drink and then collapsed.

I gave them a couple of hours and then fed them their early supper once I saw them running around and playing. Just before bedtime I fed them again.

35 Days (5/1) We woke to a white world. This is getting REALLY old. Then I realized I hadn’t soaked any kibble last night. I hurriedly put hot water over some kibble and gave it enough time to make a “gravy,” then mixed in the meat. I fed the pup in the puppy house. All came out to the gate when I appeared. I let Mercy out, put the bowls in the puppy house, stepped in and called the pups. All I got was complaints. I closed the puppy house door to help them locate me, but only Miss Orange and Mr. Purple figured out how to turn away from the gate to go through the transition area and come inside. Great job, pups! The rest continued to yell at the gate so I had to go out and lift the unhappy, damp puppies into the puppy house for their nice warm breakfast.

When I did poop detail in the big yard after Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session, trudging through 3″ of heavy, melting snow, not a pup poked its nose out to watch and none were in the lounge area. Smart pups!

They left a bunch of their breakfast, which tells me they’re not quite ready for unsoaked kibble. I mixed the leftovers with a cup of soaked kibble and more meat for their lunch and they polished that up.

My friend Linda came this afternoon to play with the puppies. When Linda and I went out to bring the puppies in, Miss Yellow was on the roof of the lounge area. She evidently had fund the way up to join Mercy, who likes to sit there and watch the world. She wasn’t too sure about going down the ramp to the ground but, when I got to the gate and encouraged her, she cautiously walked down it. I gave her lots of praise! 

I put out a different bunch of toys and they had a great time playing with them as Linda held one pup at a time so I could trim toenails. The only one to really protest was Miss Pink.

I won an Easter basket full of toys in the worker’s raffle at the agility trial. The toys are too big for the pups, but I took photos of them in the basket. We got a good laugh when the last one, Miss Pink, fell asleep in the basket and slumbered peacefully while we played with the others. She must have used up all her energy squirming and complaining while we did her nails.

I had planned to introduce them to the puppy adventure box but they crashed before I put it down. It will just have to wait until Friday. Tomorrow Lively and I spend the morning at the college doing a therapy dog visit for stress relief during finals week. In the afternoon the pups go to visit Sheridan Manor, and then at 5 p.m., I have agility class with Cantor.

The puppy adventure box consists of a pvc pipe frame from which a variety of articles are hung. Pieces of garden hose, paint brushes, metal paint cans, a set of keys, flowerpots, cups pieces of pvc pipe, paint brushes and other items move and make a variety of noises, inviting puppies to chase, grab, bite, push through and generally have fun with them. The idea is to stimulate the puppies, get their brains working, and desensitize them to moving things, things touching them all over, and various noises.

The storm finally moved out late in the afternoon and the sun came out enough to melt the snow. The pups took full advantage of the peaceful warm evening. I could see them running and playing way out in the puppy yard. When I took their early supper out, they came from all directions. A couple got hung up on the north side of the puppy house so I had to walk along the south fence far enough that they could see as well as hear me. They came flying around the east side of the puppy house to get to their food bowls, which I had been able to set down by the gate.

34 Days (4/30) Miss Red has her left ear up this morning! Miss White’s left ear continues up. None of the others are close to coming up though they are starting.

A skiff of snow greeted us this morning and it’s cold and wet, but the pups came racing out of the transition area for their breakfast. They cleaned up the lot.

I went out later to clean the puppy house, again lifting them out of the yard to nurse on Mercy and run around as I changed papers. I had to go to the front to get another box of papers and watched closely to see if any pups followed me (and Mercy who of course had to accompany me), but none did. They were fascinated by the hose as I refilled the bucket that goes inside and another one to change the water in their outside water bowl but didn’t follow me back to the puppy house with them, instead racing around and chasing each other as I walked. Besides snow and cold, we now have wind, so they were quite ready to go back inside. I lifted them into the warm puppy house but most went back outside to play. At least their yard is sheltered from the worst of the wind.

When I did poop detail after Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session, the pups all came out to watch us and followed quite a ways along the fence.

The weather deteriorated all morning, with the wind getting stronger and making it a miserable day. I fed them lunch inside the puppy house. A couple of pups were asleep inside when I opened the door and the rest came tumbling in through the doggie door so they must have been just outside it, in the transition area.

I decided to wait to pick up the puppy yard until I had all my snow clothes on, doing ball sessions. It’s too miserable to be out without snow pants, heavy coat and warm hat – which I don’t want to put on first thing in the morning. So, after Mercy had her ball session, I did poop detail in the puppy yard. Even with Mercy for them to chase around and try to convince to stand so they could nurse, I still had way too much help. I use a shovel, spatula and bucket for poop detail. The pups walked on top of the shovel, grabbed at the spatula as I lifted poop and tried to climb into the poop bucket. Only when I continued past the area they’re comfortable with did they stop, watch me, and then turn back to the puppy house, but of course they greeted me when I returned into their comfort zone. I picked up their empty bowls from the puppy house as I left their area. I sure hope the weather improves because I’m going to either have to do puppy yard poop detail when I clean the puppy house – while the pups are out of the yard, or lift them out into the back yard again when I do poop detail. They’re too busy now to be able to do it with them “helping.”

When I came back out with Lovely for her ball session, several of the pups met me at the gate and followed around the back of the puppy house into the area north of it. They can’t see well enough yet to keep us in sight but it won’t be long until they watch the ball sessions with great interest.

I put Mercy back in with them about 1:30. I took her out when I gave them their supper at 5. At about 8:00 I brought them into the house, carrying them in pairs up the steps and lifting them through the doggie door into the house. Mr. Blue was in one of the first pairs and came tumbling out the doggie door as I came up the steps with another pair. Once I got all eight in, I gave them real collars, put down some toys for them to enjoy, and took photos. They played and cuddled for over 30 minutes.   They really enjoyed the toys and carried them around, played keep away, and even had some tug battles.

When they finally crashed, I fixed their late supper. I didn’t mix in quite as much dry kibble since they left a bunch of their early supper. I only used one of my big bowls instead of one large and one small, which I’ve used the last couple of days since they got too big to easily fit around the edges of the two small bowls. The large bowls are 16″ in diameter with higher sides. They have the raised center to keep the pups from “swimming” in their food, like the smaller ones, which are 11″ in diameter and have lower sides. I put it on the deck and then called them. Six puppies came galloping down the hallway. I lifted them out the doggie door and the started working on their late super as I headed to the living room to find the other two (Miss Orange & Miss Green).

Once they were on the deck, I picked up the food bowl and headed down the ramp to ground level. Miss White led the pack and reached the ground first, followed closely by Miss Red and then Mr. Blue and Miss Pink, then by Miss Yellow and Miss Green. I headed to the puppy yard, put down the bowl and lifted those six inside to eat. I then went back for Miss Orange and Mr. Purple and was able to stand at the end of the ramp and call; they then figured out how to come down. I think there was just too much action with the other pups and they didn’t understand how to go down.

They are giving fantastic, prolonged eye contact. People keep asking me why I notice that, and the answer is simple: it’s a key to training. You can’t teach a dog much if it’s not paying attention to you. When a pup shows such nice eye contact from an early age, it’s telling me it’s going to want to work with me at whatever we’re doing and will be easy to teach to “watch me” in training situations with a lot of distractions.

33 Days (4/29) We had miserably high winds all day yesterday but thankfully it’s quiet this morning, though it’s cold – 29 – and cloudy. I let Mercy out and put down their breakfast and the pups came a’running! They were definitely hungry. I fed Mercy and then crated her while I rotated all the other dogs out for their potty/play/eat times. They pretty much finished their meal of 1 cup soaked kibble, 1 cup unsoaked kibble and 1/2# meat. Over the next few days I’ll gradually begin soaking less kibble and using more unsoaked kibble.

When I took went out to clean the puppy house two hours later, I checked to be sure it was nice and warm. Only Miss Yellow was inside, curled up on a fleece pad, but the others (except for Miss Green) all came pushing through the closed doggie door to greet me. They have that down pat! I lifted them outside and then looked for Miss Green, who came yawning out of the transition area.

I didn’t have to leave so early this morning so I didn’t close the gates to make a small (escape proof!) area while I cleaned the puppy house. No one was interested in wandering, however; all they wanted to do was nurse. Mercy now stands to let them nurse since they’re really too large to all fit if she sits or lies down.

I forgot to soak kibble before I left to do Reading Dogs all morning, so their lunch consisted of 2 cups of unsoaked kibble mixed in with the raw meat cubes. It didn’t bother them at all. For early and late suppers I only soaked 1/2 cup kibble and mixed in 1.5 cups unsoaked kibble. They cleaned up their early supper but left a little of their late supper. I had planned to bring them inside for a visit but ended up being gone most of the afternoon and just crashed. Hopefully tomorrow.

32 Days (4/28)  This morning when I fed them breakfast, I not only added the 1 cup of kibble that had soaked overnight, I included a handful of unsoaked kibble.

Before I let them out to clean the puppy house, I closed both gates – the one out into the play area through which Mr. Purple went to go to the front of the house yesterday and the one into the big part of the back yard.  That created an approximately 35′ x 45′ area between the house and front of the puppy yard for them to play yet not interfere with my cleaning.  I was nearly late to the trial yesterday after the frantic search for Mr. Purple so I took no chances on losing a pup this morning.

I have a couple of nice sturdy boxes from birdseed shipments from Birds Unlimited that I saved for the puppies.  Since they’re not wandering too far from the puppy house, I put one of the boxes by the front gate for them to investigate.  Hopefully we won’t get much rain today; they’ll survive a nice sprinkling.  I’ll put the other out once they begin using more of their yard. I’ll also then put out several of the boxes my food comes in from chewy.com.  They make a nice pyramid that the pups use to play King of the Mountain.  It doesn’t matter if the rain destroys them because I can easily replace them since I get a couple of boxes every week.  I already have a little toddler trampoline and an old beat up kiddie pool on the east side of the puppy house since rain doesn’t bother them.  Scattered around are some latex toys and small Jolly Balls, just waiting for them to become interested.  That way the pups find all of these as soon as they enlarge their play area.

I got home from the agility trial at 4 and fed them lunch: 1 cup soaked kibble mixed with 1 cup unsoaked kibble and their 3/4 cup raw meat. They cleaned up the lot.  I fed them again about 10 p.m., the same amount, and they ate nearly all of that.  Thankfully we’ll be back to our normal 4 meals tomorrow.  With that in mind, I put just over 1/2# of meat cubes out to thaw for their breakfast.

31 Days (4/27) I have to be at the agility arena at 8 a.m. this morning, so the pups had breakfast a little earlier than usual, though not quite as early as I planned since I was so tired last night I forgot to soak the kibble. I quickly set some to soak and when it was mostly softened, mixed it with their raw meat diet and took it out. They didn’t eat quite all of it, but most.

When they were done, I let Mercy out of her crate and went outside to clean the puppy house. I lifted the pups out into the main yard and they immediately began following her around as she wandered. Today is supposed to be a very nice day sandwiched between yesterday afternoon’s big rain and tomorrow’s forecast of wind and rain. The sun is already out and nicely warming things up, so I decided this was a perfect day to untie the flap of the doggie door out of the puppy house. It will take it a day or so to totally straighten out so there will be enough of an opening to encourage the pups to begin pushing their way through it.

Finished cleaning, I called the pups and headed to the side gate to put them back in their yard. I always count as I lift them in to be sure all are in the same place. I lifted 7 in and turned to find no eighth pup. Puzzled, I walked around to the front gate and looked in that area of the yard between the house and the puppy house. No pup. I called; no answering cry. Where in the world could the pup have gone? I checked and recounted the pups in the puppy yard and checked in the puppy house Several had already made their way inside. I checked collars: Mr. Purple was missing. I went into the puppy yard and checked on the other side of the puppy house and in the two Igloo dog houses at the far end of the lounge area. No puppy. I checked in the back yard, in all the dog houses and all the way to the baby puppy yard. No pup. Very puzzled, I headed around the house, carrying the lawn/leaf bag of dirty newspapers to put in the garbage as I went. As I got to the front gate, I heard a little noise. There was Mr. Purple, very glad to see us, saying “Hi, Grandma.”. He must have been on the other side of my riding mower parked next to the house. That was quite a trek, a good 100′ half circle from the puppy yard! Very surprising as these pups haven’t been much on exploring yet. I’m sure Mercy hadn’t gone that direction to where he had followed her. I picked him up, cuddled him and carried him back to the puppy yard and put him and his mother inside. It’s been a LONG time since I had a panic search for a pup, not since when Quinta, Mercy’s great-grandmother, was slightly older than these pups and went into the dog house about 25′ away from the puppy house in the baby puppy yard and promptly fell asleep. She slept through all my calls and had me wondering if an eagle had snatched her. I still remember how worried I was. Well, I sure don’t need any heart exercise today after “losing” Mr. Purple.

The good thing is that, the last time I counted pups in the puppy yard and checked collars to see who was missing, they had all been in the puppy house so the lowered flap at the doggie door hadn’t bothered them at all.

I definitely remembered to soak their kibble for the next two meals today! The pups are eating so well, I increased it to a heaping cup per meal, still soaked of course but not totally softened.

I got home from the agility trial at 6:30. When I took out their supper, Miss Red was at the gate with Mercy. The others came running either from the transition or lounging area (no one was in the puppy house). I noticed the kibble bowl in the puppy house was empty and refilled it. At least tomorrow’s agility trial is much shorter so they’ll be back to a more normal schedule. Meanwhile, they cleaned both bowls. I think they even licked every curve in the sides.

I fed them again just before I went to bed, about 10:30. They ate nearly all of their second supper.

30 Days (4/26) Miss White has her left ear up this morning!

I began soaking 3/4 cup of kibble (rather than 1/2 cup) for each meal.

When I went out with breakfast this morning, Mr. Blue greeted me at the gate with his mother. When I let her out and put down the bowls, several more came racing out of the transition area. I only had to lift three out. They cleaned up breakfast. When I put Mercy back out, I decided to clean the puppy house right then rather than later, so I lifted the pups out into the main yard. When I was finished, instead of lifting them back into their yard at the front gate, I called them and walked around to the side gate, which is at the very end of the lounging area. All of them followed. Good job, pups! I then lifted them into their yard through that gate, let Mercy jump in and left them to check out the lounge area (and potty) before going back into the puppy house.

We have an agility trial here this weekend, beginning at 1 today. I fed them early.  Again they all came running to the gate when I called them for lunch.  They ate nearly all of their lunch.

I didn’t get home until 7:30 p.m. I fed them as soon as I got home, but they only got three meals today. They do have the bowl of kibble in the puppy house. I checked and it was still plenty full. I visited with them a little and then headed for bed.

29 Days (4/25) All the pups were in the puppy house this morning when I carried out their breakfast. I let Mercy out and then put the bowls down for them, and they dove in. I left the bowls in the puppy house so they had lots of time to eat.

Once they move to the big puppy pen, I add a fourth meal. It’s away from the perimeter of my property and thus I worry less about coons or other animals possibly trying to get to the food. Mercy will be able to spend more time away from them, making it easier to leave food with them. I thaw fewer meat cubes out for each meal and gradually add more soaked kibble.

After Mercy’s and Cantor’s playtime, which ended at 9 a.m., I crated him and went out to clean the puppy house. The door opens to the general yard (as opposed to having to go into the puppy yard to get to the baby puppy house). I lifted the pups out into the yard and let them explore while I cleaned the house. Then I lifted them back in through the gate so they were outside and had to explore some and then find their way into the puppy house. I was hoping they’d find the big lounge area but they didn’t go that far. No one was in sight when I did poop detail with Berakah & Hesed.

Mercy will stay in her crate in the house until all the ball sessions are finished, since the ball-throwing area runs alongside the north edge of the big puppy yard. I fed the puppies at 11 so they won’t be starved before Mercy returns to them about 1 p.m. Since they are content just to hang out in the puppy house, I began feeding them outside the transition area by the front gate in an attempt to get them out to explore rather than hang out (and potty) inside. I picked up the bowls after about 15 minutes; they had left a little but not much.

Every time I checked on them today, they were in the puppy house. Looks like I’ll have to push this bunch to get them exploring in their new yard.

I fed them early supper at about 5 p.m. and their fourth meal of the day just before dark (8:30). Both times they left just a little. No one came out when I called so I had to open the puppy house door and lift them out and over the bottom gate to the food. All my puppy gates are in two parts; the lower one is about 18″ high and the upper one 4.5′. That allows me to contain puppies as needed either inside the yard or out of it while I clean, while the moms can jump in and out.

After their late super I lifted them out in to the main yard while I cleaned the puppy house. Then I picked up the bowls, lifted them into their yard, and left them for the night.

28 Days (4/24) They ate nearly all of their breakfast this morning. I also am regularly catching them munching on the dry kibble in the bowl I leave with them all the time now. I don’t know how much they actually consume, but the way they bite down on me, they can definitely eat the dry and it’s good mouth exercise for them.

I let Mercy back in with them while I rotated all the dogs out to play, potty and eat their raw meat breakfasts. When it was Cantor’s turn I let her out of the puppy yard, too, and then cleaned the puppy house. I lifted Miss Yellow out four times before I gave up and just let her attack the clean papers as I tried to put them down. Mr. Purple wanted to visit and Miss White chewed on my shoelaces.

They’re so much fun at this age and were so cute playing as I cleaned, that I got my camera and took some photos. I’m beginning to see the first skirmishes to determine pack order.

It’s supposed to rain today so I left the puppy house door closed.

By the time I finished Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session, the sun was out and had the temperature up to 70, so when I did poop detail I tied open the puppy house door and removed the barrier board so they could go in and out of the house at will. They all woke and came out, so I sat down again and we had a short love-in before I left.

A few minutes later my friend, John, came to adjust the big gate on the big puppy yard. While he was at it, I asked him to adjust the baby puppy yard gate, too. Once he finished that, of course we had to play with the puppies. They were pretty tired from all the activity so they liked being held and cuddled and didn’t play much for him.

I actually have two puppy pens with heated houses, doggie doors and transition areas. The “young puppy” pen is for the pups when they first move outside because the transition area from the puppy house to the yard seems to be more logical for them to learn to go in and out at will. In the “big puppy” pen, the entrance for some reason isn’t quite as logical to them, so they don’t move there until they understand how to go inside the house to find shelter and food and outside to play and (hopefully) potty. The “young puppy” yard is just outside my bedroom window so in case the puppies get lost or scared, I hear them and can quickly go check that all is well. It is closer also to my perimeter fence, and one time during a severe drought that caused food shortages for all wild things, a coon managed to climb over both the perimeter fence AND the puppy yard fence in an effort to get to the puppy food inside the house. That’s when I built the other puppy pen. Now the puppies stay in the “young” puppy pen/house area only as long as their mother is with them during the night. When they get old enough that mom wants to spend more time away from them, I move the pups to the “big puppy” pen so that there will be food in the puppy house when she’s not there to protect them. I can no longer hear them cry at night, but no varmint is going to get through 5 fences and assorted German Shepherds.

The “big puppy” yard

Due to the time we spent fixing gates, I barely finished ball sessions before I had to go to nosework class. When I got home at 2:30, I took lunch out to the pups. They’re used to eating at 1, so they were hungry. Miss Orange met me at the gate and Mr. Blue was halfway there by the time I let Mercy out and stepped in with lunch. The others came pouring out of the house and dove in. When I put Mercy back in with them 15 minutes later, only a tiny trace of food was left on the sides of the bowls. I had mixed the soaked kibble in with the raw meat rather than place dabs of kibble between cubes of meat. They plowed through the lot with no problem.

A general rain settled in about 4 p.m. I decided it was time to move them to the “big puppy” pen where they have more room under shelter. I set up the puppy house, turned on the heater, moved water bowls and then carried the pups to the new puppy house about 5:30, in plenty of time for them to get acclimated before dark. They immediately headed out the doggie door into the small transition area, where they have a choice to either turn left into a big lounging area or right to a small area by the gate.

I can see the big puppy pen from the kitchen window so checked frequently to be sure no one got lost and wet in the continuing rain. They seemed quite comfortable with their new location. I gave Mercy her supper in the puppy house rather than bring her inside since they were still getting used to their new digs.

Since they ate lunch so late, I delayed their supper until a little after 8. It was getting dark but I still had enough light to search for a puppy if one was missing. As I let Mercy out, only Miss Red came to the gate so that I had to lift her into the puppy house; all the others were inside. After Mercy and Cantor had their thirty-minute evening playtime, I put her back in with the pups. They had eaten nearly all of their supper. When I went to bed, I gave Mercy her late supper in the puppy house and checked on pups one more time. They looked quite comfortable.

27 Days (4/23) Quiet night. When I took them their breakfast at daylight, all the pups were happily stretched out on the fleece pad in the puppy house. They jumped up to greet me and swarmed to the door. I have the board across the entrance to keep them from getting caught in the tiny space between the whelping bed and the doorframe, so I lifted them out and they raced to the food.
I brought Mercy in for her breakfast and kept her away from them for 15 minutes, long enough for the pups to eat but also soon enough that they wouldn’t chill if they didn’t go right back into the heated puppy house. It’s 40 degrees this, their first morning totally outside, so I wanted to be sure no one got chilled. All were back inside the puppy house so I left Mercy to clean up the tiny bit of meat they left.

After the other dogs had rotated out, I let Mercy back out for her playtime with Cantor and cleaned the puppy house. It was already nice and warm so I turned off the heater but left the door closed. I have to leave at 9:30 to go to Ranchester to do Reading Dogs: designated children read to my two therapy dogs (Berakah & GloryToo), each of whom has about 45 minutes of “work.” I don’t get home until at least noon.

I had a terrible time cleaning the puppy house. I lifted the pups out and stepped in to change papers and the fleece pad. I got a few picked up when Miss Green came barreling through the doggie door and attacked my ankle. She was followed quickly by Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow. I lifted them out and quickly put down fresh papers in the area I had cleaned, but they were soon back. I lifted them out and stepped into the whelping bed to collect those soiled papers and the whole mob came in to “help.” I finally quit lifting them outside because I didn’t have a chance to work until the next one came. I just moved them away from the area I where was trying to place clean papers. I finally got that done and then tried to put down a clean fleece pad, but was met by about 4 puppies who kept grabbing edges of it for tug of war. Eventually I got that down and stepped out, turning off the light and closing the door. All but Miss White and Miss Yellow roared through the transition area and mobbed me outside. Miss Yellow was crying at the door so I opened it enough to lift her out with the rest of us, but Miss White turned her back on me and settled on the pad. I visited with the pups a bit before leaving. Miss Green and Miss Orange followed me to the gate and cried. The others were too busy racing around playing chase.

When Cantor’s rotation was over (no ball sessions today), I crated him and then took Mercy out to the puppy yard. I could see several pups nestled at the entrance of the dog house/transition area. They looked to be asleep so I didn’t go in and disturb them.

When I returned from Ranchester, I took the puppies’ lunch out to them. Miss Pink, Miss Red, Mr. Blue & Miss Orange were waiting at the gate with Mercy. Mr. Purple and Miss Green were close by, under the lilac bush. Miss White & Miss Yellow were in the puppy house. I let Mercy out so they could eat and she could have her lunch in the house. I had soaked 1/2 cup of kibble for the puppies’ lunch and thawed a little less meat, about 1#. They ate nearly all if it.

Since it was 70 degrees out, I fastened open the puppy house door, leaving the board at the entrance so they must go around to get back in.

I left again to do my regular therapy dog visit to Westview (Lively got to go) and then checked the pups on my return. Miss Red was asleep on the step out of the puppy house, with her head against the barrier board and body draped down onto the ground. I could see a couple other pups asleep by the transition area but didn’t bother them.

I left again to go do inventory for the nosework trial we’re putting on in May. When I returned, all projects finished, I changed into chore clothes, let Mercy out with Cantor for their regular hour to play and visit, cleaned the puppy house, did poop detail and then gave my feet a break and read a book. When I got to the puppy house, Miss Yellow heard my voice and raced out through the transition area to greet me outside. That’s a first. They’re gone into the puppy house but I hadn’t caught anyone going out. I then lifted out the rest of the pups so I could clean the puppy house. Miss White raced around and was in the puppy house before I could pick up the first batch of wet newspapers. She then alternated between attacking my ankle and tugging on my pant leg. I tried lifting her back out but she came right back so I had to keep dodging her as I worked. All the rest were having a great time playing. I saw Miss Red carrying a big leaf around. As I left, I found Mr. Blue, Miss Green and Mr. Purple at the gate visiting through with Mercy & Cantor.

For supper I again gave them about 1# of raw meat with 1/2 cup of soaked kibble. They ate nearly all of it.

It was still 60 degrees when I checked the pups at 9:30 p.m. and changed the papers in the puppy room. They had been asleep with Mercy in the puppy house when I went out there. I let Mercy out to play with Cantor and then lifted the pups out so I could change papers. Miss Yellow and Miss White promptly crawled over the 10″ board to get back in, while Mr. Purple went through the transition area. The rest were having a great time chasing each other and wrestling. I managed to get everything changed for the night, turned on the heater and left them.

26 Days (4/22) It’s not raining today – hurrah – so I turned on the puppy house heater first thing this morning and moved the pups outside about 8:45. I left the puppy house door closed and put them in front of it. By the time I came out with the second pair of pups, the first pair (Mr. Blue & Miss Pink) had already gone into the puppy house. When I came back out with the third pair, the second pair were still out exploring. When I came out with the fourth pair, the six pups were wandering around investigating. I opened the puppy house door to check how warm it was and Mr. Blue & Miss Pink were right at the doorway so I lifted them out with the others and then closed the door. When Mercy and I left, several followed us about 10′, to the lilac bush. I didn’t check which ones because I wanted to get out of the yard. It’s not supposed to rain today but it’s definitely a low-light day so far, excellent for pups to maybe stay out for a bit. And the puppy house is dark except for light coming in through the doggie door opening, so perhaps they’ll be bored with the darkness and head towards light and action. It’s 50 degrees so plenty warm for them. 
It took me a few minutes to throw the fleece pad in the washer and grab Berakah & Hesed for their ball session. I detoured to the puppy yard but already the pups were out of sight.

After Mercy had her ball session, I put her in the puppy yard. All the pups were in the puppy house so I stepped in and lifted them out close to her. She stood there and they immediately began nursing as she stood. That’s the first time I’ve seen them. It’s still a stretch, especially for Miss Red, but they were sucking noisily as I quietly left, giving Mercy a “stay” command to let her know I was shutting her in the yard with them so she didn’t follow me.

When I took their lunch out, Mr. Purple, Mr. Blue & Miss Orange were at the entrance to the transition area, enjoying the 60 degree day from the shade and protection there. The clouds have moved out and the sun is shining, but there’s a brisk rare SE wind blowing. Our winds are from the northwest a good 99% of the time, so my shelterbelts and the protection in both puppy yards are placed to combat those winds. Thankfully, the wind was blocked by the fence and trees so the pups were comfortable on this, their first time willingly spent outside.

The pups came to the bowls as I put them down and began eating. I opened the puppy house door and the rest came to greet me, making it easy to lift them out close to the bowls. I brought Mercy inside for her lunch and then, once the pups had had enough time to eat, took her back out. Miss White and Miss Pink had gone back inside the puppy house and were on the fleece pad, but the rest were barely inside the transition area and came rushing out to greet us as Mercy headed to clean the bowls. They had hardly left anything.

I had a couple of appointments this afternoon and checked the pups when I returned home. Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss Red & Miss Pink had found the Igloo dog house that I have beside the transition area and were stretched out in there. The others were in the transition area. All came out to greet me and get lots of praise.

I let Mercy out for a bit and then crated her with her supper and brought the puppies their supper, again putting it on the ground in front of the puppy house. Mr. Blue, Miss Red, Mr. Purple and Miss Pink had gone back into the dog house and came right out when they saw me. The others were in the puppy house so I lifted them out and put them in the vicinity of the bowls and left.

After they had had time to eat, Mercy and I came back and she nursed them while I cleaned the puppy house. They soon started playing and running around, much more comfortable with the outdoors than this morning. Now they won’t want to come back to the whelping room at night – they’ll love 20′ x 80′ puppy yard with the trees and plants and sticks and bugs and birds and everything to watch – and lots of room to run and play. I’ll leave the whelping room set up for a few more days in case we get some really bad weather, but the forecast is warmth and sun alternating with cooler days and rain showers. Wednesday a friend is coming to adjust the big gate in the “big puppy” yard which has settled over the winter and doesn’t close tightly. I’ll then move them into that puppy house and yard, which includes a larger puppy house with a window so it’s nice and light inside, a huge yard and a lounging area that is closed on 3 sides and opens only to the south where it catches the sun, giving them a nice place to play out of the weather or to hang out if they want to be outside but it’s cold or wet out in the open.

There was much less mess tonight, hurrah, which means they’re starting to do more pottying outside.

Miss Orange followed me all the way to the gate as I left.

I decided to leave them out tonight for the first time. The heater is keeping the puppy house very comfortable. I checked everyone when I took Mercy her late supper just before I went to bed. Two pups were in the puppy house while the rest were in the doghouse or transition area. I lifted all into the puppy house, turned off the lights and went to bed. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and in the 70’s so it’s a perfect time to leave them outside.

25 Days (4/21) I was greeted with enthusiastic puppies running towards me when I opened the door this morning, with lots of vocalizing and tail wagging. They were ready for petting and then breakfast. They mobbed the bowls and got down to some serious consumption.

Today is rainy and cold, so they won’t go outside since the puppy house is smaller than the whelping room and with the rain I can’t prop the puppy house door open and work on having them potty outdoors. Besides, my nephew, Preston, and his wife, Camlin, called last night to see if they could stop by on their way from Texas to Alaska. I haven’t seen Preston for at least 20 years and have never met his wife so this was a real treat. This will be a great socialization experience for the puppies and I definitely don’t want wet puppies!

Again, before I started ball sessions, I cleaned the whelping room, with way too much “help.” I only managed to get Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball sessions and poop detail done before Preston & Camlin arrived, but at least I got the puppy house cleaned from yesterday and all set up either for tomorrow or later today if the rain moves out.

We brought the puppies into the living room – another “first” for them – and I took a few photos as Preston & Camlin played with them. Once they were worn out from exploring and visiting I was able to trim their nails. I had tried earlier and given up after doing Miss Pink’s front feet. She thrashed and yelled enough that Mercy, worried about her daughter, kept sticking her nose into the project. I thought I’d need to have Preston hold the pups while I trimmed nails but they were so pooped I got it done by myself. Whew! I’m glad that’s done.

When I cleaned their room after their lunch (which they didn’t quite clean up even though I gave them an hour to rest after their visitors left), both Miss Green and Mr. Blue repeatedly grabbed my pant legs and tugged. I sure hope it’s nice tomorrow and the pups can go outside, because it takes twice as much time to clean the room when they’re in it. I have to lift puppies to the side in order to spread clean papers out, and as I try to put down the cloth giving traction on the ramp someone – this time Miss Yellow & Miss Pink – is always grabbing an edge and trying to pull it.

Thankfully Mr. Purple was busy mouthing the kibble in Mercy’s bowl so I had one less to dodge.

When I finally finished the room, I weighed and wormed the pups. Miss Orange weighed 5# 15 ounces, Miss Green weighed 5# 13 ounces, Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow weighed 5# 12 oz and Miss Pink weighed 5#11 oz. Next were Miss White at 5# 10 ounces, Mr. Purple at 5# 6 ounces and finally Miss Red, at 4# 6 oz.

I worm the pups every 10 – 14 days from the time they’re three weeks old until they leave. All puppies are born with roundworms; it’s the nature of the parasite. Encysted worms are activated by the pregnancy hormones and migrate through the placenta into the developing puppies. When a dog finishes the rapid growth stage, around nine months of age, the worms encyst and become dormant. Until that time, puppies are vulnerable. It’s impossible to keep the yard where the baby puppies are totally clean of poop, and they aren’t developed or experienced enough to notice a poop and avoid it, plus puppies explore their world by mouth, so they are very prone to ingest roundworm eggs in the soil or other parts of the environment and are impossible to keep worm-free. Living quarters of individual puppies are much more easily kept clean, plus they’re rapidly learning to poop when taken outside and the owners can pick up the poop immediately, so they need not be wormed as frequently. Regular wormings throughout young puppyhood (I recommend monthly until they’re about nine months old) keep the worm population minimal and unable to harm the pup, but it’s impossible to totally eliminate the roundworms. Of course, if you live in an area where heartworm is a danger, the monthly heartworm preventative dose also kills worms. You start the pup on heartworm preventative just as it turns four months old. Heartgard kills roundworms, but I prefer to use Iverhart because it also kills tapeworms and hookworms. Hookworms aren’t normally much of a problem in our area but tapeworm shows up occasionally. If your pup is ever exposed to fleas, tapeworm is a danger since they’re its carrier. We normally don’t have a lot of flea problems in Wyoming, though after an unusually mild winter we may see more.

They ate nearly all their supper tonight. Afterwards, I cleaned their room again. This time it was Miss Orange who was investigating Mercy’s bowl of kibble and Miss Yellow who was attacking my ankles. She really bit down tonight. Ouch!  It’s definitely time for them to move outside and start chewing on things other than me.

24 Days (4/20) When I went in first thing this morning with their breakfast, the pups enthusiastically and noisily greeted me. As soon as I put down the bowl, they dove in. They finished the lot.
While they ate I cleaned the puppy house and turned on the heater. I want to get them out as soon as possible today, before any thunderstorms move in.

The air warmed up more slowly this morning than yesterday, but by 9 it was 60, plenty warm to put the pups outside. Clouds had moved in and obscure the sun, so instead of putting them into the puppy house where it was shaded, I put them on the ground in front of the open puppy house door. The first two had already gone into the puppy house by the time I returned with the second pair, but they came out to visit with Mercy and me. All were either still out or came out when I returned with the third pair and fourth pairs. I visited with them for a tiny bit before putting Mercy in her crate and immediately bringing out the first dogs for ball sessions. 

After each dog ball session, I checked on pups. Berakah & Hesed have their playtime together.  Afterwards Berakah & Hesed get to “help” me with poop detail after they chase their balls, so they got to watch as I went into the puppy yard. Since it was cloudy and warm, I decided to push the pups a little. I put all of them outside and closed the puppy house door, and left them to see who would figure out how to go back inside (through the transition area). After dumping the poop in the trash, the big dogs and I came inside and they had their 7 minute cooling off time.

I then came out with Spirit for her ball sessions and, before I headed to the play area, I detoured to check on the pups. Six were in a puppy pile by the (closed) puppy house door. I looked inside and found Miss Orange and Miss White comfortably curled up on the fleece pad. Good girls!!! Nice initiative.

I closed the door and, since the sun was trying to come through the clouds and I didn’t want them to be stressed by too much brightness, I lifted the rest of the pups over about 2 feet so they were close to the entrance of the transition area. Those little noses immediately started working – I imagine they could smell Mercy since she often goes back and forth that way rather than through the people door.

After Spirit had her ball session and cooling off period, I headed out with Lively and on the way checked the babies. Only Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow were outside, and they had moved back against the people door. I looked inside and all the other six were comfortably stretched out in the house. I lifted the two “outsiders” to the edge of the transition area entrance and left.

After Lively had her ball session and cooling off period, I headed out with GloryToo and on the way again checked the babies. I couldn’t see anyone so I went in to check. When I opened the puppy house door, Mr. Blue was curled around the water bowl. I looked for Miss Yellow but didn’t see her, so I counted: only 7 pups. She must be in the transition area, I thought, so I looked. Nope, no one there. Where in the world is she? I began to get a little worried and started searching. I finally found her squeezed into a tiny space between the garbage can and the puppy house, sound asleep. That was a good 4′ from where I had left her, so she turned totally around and moved along the edge of the puppy house until she found some shade. We’re having one of those changeable days: one minute the sun is out and it’s HOT (for us anyway). It’s already up to 75, way above the forecast. Then more clouds move in and the temperature drops 10-15 degrees.
I propped open the puppy house door and pups stated coming out to visit, Miss Green and Miss Pink in the lead. Soon everyone except Miss White had come out, so to reward them after their arduous lesson in navigation, I sat down and cuddled. At first I sat on the threshold, then I decided to move out a bit and sit on the ground to encourage them to come totally out. All did except Miss White, who sat at the entrance, watched us and complained. She never did come out.

Miss Red and Miss Pink climbed up into my lap while Miss Yellow chewed on my shoe. Miss Orange got some loving and then decided to explore. Of course it helped that GloryToo was on the other side of the fence, talking to them. GloryToo is convinced that these should be her babies. She even has come into milk. She and Mercy cycled at the same time so it’s not surprising, since if she had been bred she would have pups this same age. She talked to the pups but only Miss Orange went to the fence, about 6′ away to visit. She then made a circle to the lilac tree (about 10′ away) and then back to me. She didn’t stay, just collected a pat or two, then moved into the transition area and soon I could see her in the puppy house, settling down for another nap. Miss Green eventually headed to the transition area as well. As puppies began dispersing, I got up and headed out to exercise GloryToo. As I left, I could see Miss Yellow and Mr. Blue investigating some of the leaves on the ground. We had an early snow last fall, a huge heavy wet fall, that came just as I was starting to rake leaves. It never dried up enough to rake so the ground is well covered with leaves.

I detoured to check on them as I took Quasi out for his ball session, but no one was in sight. I didn’t go into the yard to check since all was quiet.

Mercy’s ball session was next. After she had played, I put her in with the pups. I then did Lovely’s ball session, followed by Cantor’s. After Cantor cooled off, it was time to feed everyone, so I brought Mercy inside and fed her in her crate while the puppies ate outside. I have a board I can put down across the threshold to either keep puppies in or out. I put it down and lifted the pups out to the vicinity of their bowls. I then left them to eat and then work their way back into the puppy house through the transition area. When I brought Mercy out about 15 minutes later the bowls were nearly empty and most of the pups were already in the puppy house. Miss Orange was just making her way into the transition area and I quietly watched as she appeared through the doggie door – and then groaned as she pooped as soon as she got to the newspaper. This is not what I’m trying to get them to do! At least I’ve seen several walk away from the bowls to potty after I lift them out of the house and before they start to eat.

I left them out the rest of the afternoon. I then took their supper out about 7 p.m., repeating the process of making them find their way back into the house in an attempt to get them to potty outside the house. I got some dirty looks as I stepped into the puppy house to lift out the reluctant ones who thought they’d just stay and enjoy the fleece pad rather than come when I called.  Sure wish they’d get the idea. I’m filling a lawn/leaf bag a day with soiled newspapers from the whelping room and one every two days from the puppy house. This week I made two trips to the Sheridan Press for newspapers and will need to make another one Monday.

I really would like to start leaving them out at night, too, and it’s warm enough tonight, but I have to go to the Easter Vigil. Especially for the first night outside, I want to be able to hear if anyone becomes lost or stressed. I brought them inside at 7:30 and left for the Vigil at 8 p.m.

When I returned at 11, I let Mercy out to play with Cantor while I cleaned the room after giving the pups a chance to potty after being awoken. Then we all crashed.

23 Days (4/19) This morning, when I opened the door to let Mercy out, the pups ran towards me, talking and wagging madly. Quite a greeting! Since all were awake and moving, I gave them their breakfast right then, crating Mercy after she ate and we cleaned the puppy house and turned on the heater.

When I returned her to the whelping room, the pups were still hanging around the bowls. I decided to increase the amount of meat for each meal, so I put 1.24# of meat cubes out to thaw for lunch.

The sun was up and warming things fast, so at 8:30, just before I left for agility class, I carried the pups out to the puppy house. This time I placed them in the doorway rather than in the whelping bed.

I checked the pups when I got home from agility. All were in the puppy house but several were lying in the doorway. Miss Pink got up and came towards me, carefully climbing down the little step to the ground. That inspired me to lift all of them out (a difficult process as most tried to climb back into the puppy house as I reached for another). When I finally got them outside, I sat down on the threshold to pet them. Miss Pink managed to climb into my lap, followed by Miss Red. The others cuddled against me and talked to me. Miss Green then decided to go back into the puppy house, climbing the step with no problem. She was soon followed by Miss White. Both headed to the water bowl and then entered the whelping bed and snuggled down on the fleece pad. Mr. Blue and Miss Pink also headed to the water bowl and then stretched out beside it. The other four had convinced Mercy to let them nurse there on the ground and protested when Mercy moved as I got up. I left them to decide if they wanted to go inside the house or not. It’s pretty bright so I imagine they soon did. I heard no crying so no one was upset.

Today is supposed to be beautiful but tomorrow we’re supposed to get rain, so I want to encourage them as much as possible today to move out of the puppy house. That way, if I must have the puppy house door closed tomorrow, hopefully they’ll want a larger area enough to go out the doggie door into the transition area.

I got the whelping room all cleaned up for when they come back in tonight.

When I took out their lunch at 1 p.m., I put it on the ground by the open puppy house people door. I lifted all of them out and put them by the bowls. They kept turning back and trying to climb into the puppy house but I persisted until all knew the food was there. Then I left them to eat or not as they wished. The sun was bright and the bowls weren’t quite totally in the shade but it was the best I could do. When I put Mercy back in with them they had left a bunch in one bowl and had cleaned the other. All were back in the puppy house but only Miss Green and Miss Red were in the whelping box.

I checked them before I left for the 3 p.m. Good Friday services and again at 6 when I returned. All was peaceful, and all the pups were in the puppy house.

I took their super out to them at 7 p.m., doing the same thing. Of course by then they had deep shade and they began eating as soon as I lifted them close to the bowls. When I took Mercy back 30 minutes later they had cleaned everything up and Miss Red was sound asleep curled up by a bowl. Yes!!!!!!

I left them outside until 8:20, just as it began to get dark and cool off. (It got up to 78 today. Amazing!) All were in the puppy house: the boys were by the water bowl, while the girls were on the fleece pad. I brought the boys in first and laid them on the little fleece pad. Then I grabbed two girls and set them beside the boys, who hadn’t even twitched. I brought 2 more girls in and placed them with the others; still no movement from anyone. When I brought in the last two (Miss Yellow & Miss Orange), the others had just started to stir. They’re done for the night!

22 Days (4/18) I changed our routine slightly this morning. When I let Mercy out, I gave the pups their breakfast. They definitely responded to my call when I entered. They haven’t yet connected it with the food, but all but two woke up and came towards me. Those two I awakened up and made sure were close to the bowls before I left. I looked back as I got to the door and all were heading to the meat.

After Mercy ate her breakfast, I put her in her crate in the living room. She seemed to be glad to be out where the action is! After I rotated all the other dogs out for their morning breakfast/play sessions, I put Mercy in to eat any leftovers (they cleaned up all their meat except for what they wore and tracked all over like they did yesterday) and then cleaned the puppy room. Mr. Blue again approached and barked at me when I entered the room, making me laugh. He thinks he’s really tough! I noticed Miss Orange over at Mercy’s dry kibble bowl investigating the food. As soon as I can put the puppies outside, I’ll begin soaking kibble and adding it to the meat. I can’t do it now because Mercy is already reluctant to clean up their poop (usually the moms continue that while they’re on the meat meals, but not her).

Most of the pups were in the main part of the room so I cleaned the whelping bed first. Miss Red and Miss Yellow approached me to visit and were quite insistent, so I found a tiny clean spot on the floor where I could kneel down and visit. The others came over, too. Miss Green gave me quite an extended visit. Once they were happy, I started cleaning the rest of the room.

In an effort to encourage them to potty on papers rather than fleece pads and sheets, I doubled up the big fleece pad and put it in the back of the whelping bed, leaving the front half just papers. I only put one cloth pad on the ramp, so the papers will stay put rather than slide down as Mercy and the pups go down it. I put the small fleece pad where Mercy jumps into and out of the room. Otherwise there’s just paper on the floor.

That will also make it easier to pick up wet papers each time I go into the room. The last two days I’ve had so many trips into town and back that I had no chance in the middle of the day to change into old clothes and clean the room. For the next few days my activities are spread out enough that I’ll be able to get into “chore” clothes in the afternoon and clean after they’ve eaten lunch.

As I was folding up the sheets to put them away, Mr. Purple came up and wove around my legs, really wanting some attention. He wasn’t happy when I finished folding the sheet in my hands before I visited with him. Once he was satisfied, I folded up the other sheet and left the room. All the others had crashed on the folded pad in the whelping bed, which should be much more comfy as well as being higher off the ground and encouraging them to sleep rather than potty on it. One can always hope!

We’re supposed to have a couple of nice days so early this morning I turned on the heater in the puppy house to take the chill off. I have an insulated puppy house with a doggie door into what I call a transition area, a long enclosed area with an opening to the outdoors at the far (east) end. This way the pups can explore a little bit without getting out into the weather and/or the bright sunlight, which hurts their eyes at this age. I tie up the flap on the doggie door so that they can easily go in and out, which they begin gradually.

I have an old big (5′ x 5′) whelping box in there, half of which is roofed to keep it light-protected and draft free, and of course they’ll find some fleece bedding there. One wall of the bed has an opening into the rest of the puppy house, an area about 5′ x 4′ with the doggie door to the transition area at the far end so they easily see it when they leave the bed. The “baby” puppy house is just outside my bedroom, so I can hear if anyone is easily lost or stressed.

see photos of the baby puppy pen

About 10 a.m. the weather was improving vastly; though we still had a breeze the clouds were moving off and the sun was strongly shining. I turned off the heater, cleaned the house and set it up for them. I put down newspapers and a fleece pad in it, then covered the rest of the house floor with papers and put down a water bowl. I tied open the doggie door which allows access to the transition area. After Mercy finished her ball session, which was at noon, the temperature was up to 70 degrees. Amazing! Since the sun had gotten high enough in the sky that it didn’t shine on the puppy house doorway, I carried the puppies out two by two, putting them in the old whelping bed. I tied open the “people” door that also faces east, away from the sun and wind. By the time I got out with the second pair, the first two had found their way out of the bed into the house proper and were looking out the open doorway. I got all the pups out, put them on the fleece pad, and left Mercy with them. She wasn’t too pleased with my leaving but I came inside and typed this up so that it was quiet and she’d go back to her family. Then I went out with Lovely, and then Cantor, for their ball sessions.

At 1:00 I took out the puppies’ lunch. All were peacefully asleep in the whelping bed so I lifted them into the main part of the puppy house so they could find the food.

I brought Mercy in and crated her with her lunch. After 30 minutes, I took her back out to the pups and checked to see how much they had eaten. They had cleaned all but one small bit that was pressed against the side of the bowl. Excellent! Sometimes, with this big of a change, pups are stressed enough that they won’t eat in the new place, but that was no problem for this bunch. Mercy eagerly cleaned the bowls. I left her with them and went to do a therapy dog visit at Sheridan Manor. A little over an hour later, when I returned, I checked on the pups. All were again calmly sleeping in the whelping bed part of the puppy house.

I left them for the rest of the afternoon, going out once to check. Meanwhile I cleaned the whelping room so it was ready for their return. I brought all of them inside shortly before I left at 5:30 for the Holy Thursday Mass. They were all asleep in the old whelping bed. I don’t think anyone even thought of exploring today, which is very typical. Tomorrow is supposed to get into the high 70’s and I have nowhere I have to go in the evening, so I’ll put them out earlier and leave them longer. Hopefully I’ll catch someone outside or at least in the transition area sometime. Once they make that first effort, they rapidly decide they love the outdoors. For now, it’s probably just too bright for them since the trees have not yet leafed out to shade the area by the puppy house.

They again polished up their supper and in fact, when I went in to clean the room, two were sitting by the bowls like they were hoping for more. When I changed the doubled-up fleece pad in the back half of the whelping bed, I only saw evidence of one piddle, while the papers in the front half were definitely wet, a sign that already they’re pottying on the newspapers rather than on the pad. Not so for the small fleece by the door or for the cloth giving traction on the ramp, but at least we’ve made a start on potty training. Once they begin exploring outside they’ll naturally get the idea to keep their bed clean.

After their big day, they were pretty mellow. They visited a bit with me as I cleaned the room but soon crashed.

21 Days (4/17) Mr. Blue again greeted with barks at the gate this morning. The others were asleep but woke and quickly came to the food bowls.

Ears are open! They can now learn and will be eager to explore their new world, and their personalities will begin to emerge. And boy are they trying out their voices now that they can hear. Barks, hoots, trills, chuckles, what a noisy bunch they are.

I noticed that tiny teeth have erupted through their gums. They haven’t realized yet what their teeth are for so they are gentle as they suck on my fingers. They’re still sucking in the meat rather than taking bites, but all that will soon change as they discover their teeth.

Amazing what happens when the neurological system is finally all hooked up. Now I should begin to see what they’ll really be like as far as personality. Drives will start coming in a little later. Right now they’re seriously beginning to explore their world, which is exciting to see, because they seem to change by the hour as they interact with things they didn’t notice before. When people come to visit, we’ll carry them into the living room so they have more room and begin offering toys as well as put out the puppy adventure box.

When I went in to clean, they had eaten everything except what they had gotten all over themselves or tracked around the room. I think this is the messiest litter I’ve had. They really get into this eating business! Miss Orange was my greeter and “helped” me change papers and pads. She finally went into the whelping bed and crashed just before I got to that section, so of course I had woke her up when I moved her, and the others, to the small fleece pad so I could change the bed. She visited a bit and then wandered off, but her place was taken by Miss Pink, full of interest in cuddling. Then Mr. Blue woke up and came to join us. Eventually those two began wrestling. I quickly worked on changing the papers before someone else showed up, but was lucky. I looked back once and saw Miss Yellow and Miss Orange also wrestling, and Miss Green wandering around inspecting the fresh floor. I was able to finish my chores, though, because everyone crashed. As I visited with them I noticed all those very full tummies. No wonder they were ready for a nap!

When I cleaned the room tonight they are quite insulted that I didn’t stop changing papers/pads to visit, but it was so messy there was no good spot for me to kneel down and visit. Most soon gave up and collapsed on the small fleece pad, allowing me to get the big part of the room and the whelping bed changed with only Miss Orange following me around. I then put everyone in the whelping bed and changed the rest of the room. Then we visited and cuddled for a bit, with Miss Orange being absolutely hilarious as she wiggled her whole body and playfully pawed at me.

20 Days (4/16) When I went in to clean the room after they ate breakfast (they cleaned it up and looked like they even licked the sides!), Mr. Blue came running towards me and, before I could bend down to pet him, bit at my pant leg. We visited a bit and then I started pickup up the soiled rugs. He followed me around, barked and growled at me and grabbed again at my pant leg, so I’m sure it wasn’t a fluke. I’m suspicious that his ears are open (signaling that all neurological circuits are complete). Once it’s daylight and the room is as bright as it will get, I’ll check their ears. Tomorrow is supposed to be the big development day, but they might be ahead a bit. They’re now giving hoots and trills, little growls and barks–so funny!!!!

Miss Pink and Miss Orange were fascinated by my changing papers and rugs and followed me around for quite a while, watching before deciding to do a little mouth wrestling. Miss Yellow sat in one spot and watched, then was thrilled when I bent towards her and petted her. That tail was going 90 miles an hour!!

I then had to wake the others and put them on the small fleece pad so I could change the whelping bed. They wouldn’t stay there but came visiting, climbing on me and asking for some loving.

Changing the room is now taking forever as they’re so cute I have to stop and play with them.

I offered them a third meal today. They ate most of it, though they were so dirty that I wondered how they had managed to roll in the tiny space between the edge of the bowl and the inner barrier. Then they walked all over the room so all the rugs were a mess.

Once the pups occupy the entire room, the cleaning begins!!! I swear the puppies choose to pee or poop so that they mess up a part of four different newspapers where they join! And pick the spot that will soil at least two of the blankets on top of the papers to give them traction for walking. Now I have two wash loads of puppy things three times daily! The washing machine will go practically non-stop until they’re old enough to move outdoors to the puppy house and puppy yard. Thank goodness the warranty is up so the repairman was able to remove the filter that was causing all the problems.

They cleaned up nearly all of their supper, so I’ll begin offering three meals a day. I’ll start with a little less than 1# per meal and increase it when they eat (rather than play in) all of each meal. .

When I went in to clean their room last thing tonight, I checked several ears but they’re not open yet though Mr. Blue’s seemed to have a tiny crack.  The pups were pretty much conked out. They’ve started sleeping on their backs with their legs all sprawled out and it’s hard to disturb them. I only got a few opened eyes as I lifted them out of the way; no one was interested in visiting. I got the room changed in record time and left them for the night.

19 Days (4/15) This morning, when I found out the repairman can’t come fix the washer until Thursday, I decided I’d have to start hitting the Laundromat: the puppies NEED the entire room.
After they ate their breakfast (finishing nearly all of the 1# of raw meat diet), I opened up the room. I had to take the long 12″ board out before I could put the shorter board up to keep them from the doggie door. Miss White immediately noticed and came to “help” but was not pleased when she sprawled on the linoleum. I put her back in the “old” area with rugs and she was content to stay there. After putting p the new board, I began placing newspapers. Miss Pink and Miss Orange found that quite fascinating, but they, too, couldn’t keep their footing on the floor so were happy to watch from the “old” part while I worked. As soon as I put down a sheet in the new area, here they came to visit and explore. They soon tired, so I lifted them into the whelping bed with the others and changed the papers/rugs on the rest of the floor. Then I lifted everyone onto Mercy’s little pad and changed papers and fleece pad in the whelping bed.

Once I got that done, Mercy came in, waking the pups as she jumped over them. They joined her for a short exploration of the new area but soon collapsed. She was funny as she looked like she was trying to get them to join her in the whelping bed but no one was listening. After taking a few photos, I left them to figure it out in peace.

Later, when I let her out for her ball session, all the pups were asleep in the whelping bed. When I checked throughout the day, they seemed quite comfortable with their new space, though they seemed to use it more for pottying than playing. At least no one got lost and cried.

Miracle of miracles, the repairman showed up about 3 p.m. Amazing. Hurrah!!! I finally got caught up on puppy bedding and have enough clean bedding for the whole room when I clean it tonight.

When I took in their supper, all eight got p and came immediately to the bowls.  They cleaned up nearly all of it. Once they consistently clean up their meals, I add a third one at midday.

After I cleaned the room tonight, I weighed them. Miss Red continues to be the smallest, at 3# even. Next is Miss Pink at 3# 11 oz, then both boys at 3# 12 oz. Miss Orange is 3# 13 ounces, Miss White is 3# 15 ounces, and Miss Green and Miss Yellow are now 4# 1 ounce.

18 Days (4/14) This morning several woke as soon as I stepped inside the room and came towards me with tails wagging. The others, in the whelping bed, continue to slumber peacefully. When I brought their breakfast later, several again came right to me. I put down the bowls and leaned into the whelping bed to awaken the others. As soon as all were close to the bowls, they moved purposefully towards them and began eating. They didn’t quite finish all of the meat, but it was close. I’m now giving the 1# per meal, so they’re eating REALLY well.

Each time I checked on them today, they were conscious of my presence and came to visit, making physical contact and crawling on me when I knelt down.

Tonight they finished all of their supper.

When I changed all the bedding, they visited and cuddled and wagged tails and made little trilling noises. It took me forever to get everything changed.

17 Days (4/13) The pups are really becoming fun now, greeting me when I come into the room and acting like they enjoy being petted and cuddled. Usually all but one, perhaps two, will be on Mercy’s fleece pad by the gate, with the others in the whelping bed. Seldom are they in-between, unless they happen to be awake and moving around.

This morning I put more of the meat cubes out for their breakfast. Miss White, Mr. Blue & Miss Green immediately dived in. I smeared some across Miss Red’s mouth and then lifted her next to the bowl. When I left she was sniffing the meat. They cleaned up one bowl of food and quite a bit of the second one.

It’s time to open up the entire room, but my washing machine went on the fritz today – again. The new Whirlpool front load washers are helpless with dog hair – my repairman says it’s because they’re all plastic. The old ones – I had 2 Maytag top loaders that each lasted over 20 years – were al metal so the hair didn’t stick and accumulate. I can hardly wait until next month when the warranty is up and the repairman can remove the filter that catches all the dog hair and causes the machine to lose its mind. Then he can take that filter out and perhaps I won’t have to baby the washer so much and won’t have to call the Whirlpool people and have them schedule the repairman to come fix it – losing me 3-4 days of laundry. And it ALWAYS happens on a Friday night or Saturday so I have to wait until Monday to call them. Grrr… So, since I don’t have time to troop down and sit at the Laundromat every day, opening the room with all the extra area of blankets for traction, has to wait.

Today was fascinating in another way. On Friday I finished getting all the ten-day-old photos resized and organized so as to put them on the website, but when I went online the server claimed that the Gallery Bank (where I have to put the photos) needed updating. Since this is happening every month so far this year, I knew something was on the fritz way out there in the computer skies. I contacted my webmaster, who contacted them, but even though I tried frequently all day today, it hasn’t been fixed. Meanwhile I finished editing the fourteen-day-old photos and got them downsized and organized so I can load them, too. And I got the pages on the website, with all the text and codes that tell it to display each gallery of photos. Now we wait.

Meanwhile on the puppy front, they’re doing great and becoming lots of fun as they interact with me. I took out the heater since they’re generating a lot of heat from their fat fuzzy bodies.

Tonight when I brought in their supper, all I had to do was wake them up. All of them trooped to the food as soon as they saw the bowls and stuck their noses in, including Miss Red. YES!! They ate nearly all of the meat. When I returned later to clean, I had an awful time getting anything done because of their “help.” Took me forever, as they’re just so cute I have to stop and love on them before moving them aside so I can work.

16 Days (4/12) This morning, when I entered the room, all the pups were asleep in the whelping bed.

No agility class this morning due to the instructor being out of town and nothing else on my schedule, which means I don’t have to rush to be anywhere. The next three days are open as well – no places I must be in the early afternoon that mean rushing through morning rotations and ball sessions, so even though it’s a tiny bit early to introduce the meat, I’ll offer it to them a couple of times a day. So, instead of cleaning the room this morning while Mercy had her 30 minute play session with Cantor, I introduced the pups to their raw meat meal.

I put Mercy’s second breakfast (about 8 ounces of the raw meat cubes) into two puppy bowls, which are low-sided bowls with a raised center so the pups can investigate food without crawling in it. Even though they can’t yet hear, I give a high-pitched “Puppy, Puppy, Puppy” call as I enter the room with the meat. They learn from the beginning that coming brings rewards.

I took a few minutes to hand-feed bits of the meat to Miss Red. The raw meat is a great equalizer for the smaller pups; no longer will I have to worry about them being pushed off the teats by the larger pups. For the first bite, I gently opened her mouth and inserted a tiny bit of the meat, which is very soft and squishy. She thought it was pretty good so I repeated it. By the third bite she was opening her mouth a little and leaning forward toward the meat. I continued feeding her until she had figured out how to try to take a bite – this is something they have to learn since all they’ve done up till now is such on a teat. I fed her about 3 of the cubes and then placed her next to the edge of the bowl, tilting her slightly so that her mouth touched the cubes – again they have to learn to look for the food. I then woke up the rest of the pups and lifted them close to the bowls so they could see the new objects and smell what was in them. I then left them to eat if they wished; no need to give them extra help.

When the thirty minutes was up, I put Cantor in his crate and opened the puppy room door so that Mercy could finish the meat AND clean up any that the pups had spread around on the blanket. They had obviously tasted the meat – one bowl was nearly empty and the other was missing a little meat. Mercy was very happy to clean up all the leftovers. Then I changed the bedding and papers, left Mercy with them and started ball sessions.

Several years ago I read a book by a guy who trains Navy Seal dogs and also breeds working dogs. He talked about always making the puppies search for their food rather than setting it right in front of them each time. With my next litter, the HH litter, I tried doing that instead of putting some of the raw meat into each pup’s mouth as I used to do. Those pups all showed great desire to use their noses on the temperament test, so I decided to continue the practice. They start eating on their own a few days later with this method, so the moms don’t get relief as soon as before, but I think it encourages them from the very beginning to make an effort and be proactive, rather than passively accepting being fed.

I also put down a water bowl from which they can drink rather than the bucket I’ve been using for Mercy. It has sides low enough they can find the water but high enough they won’t fall in as they learn to drink. They’ll need water since they’ve begun eating.

Every time I checked on them today, several were on Mercy’s fleece and nearly always woke up and greeted me. Tail wagging is now pretty general.

This evening I again offered them the raw meat diet. Miss White, Mr. Blue and Mr. Purple dove in as soon as I put them close to the bowls. I hand fed Miss Red again to make sure she learns as fast as the others. The rest of them were showing no interest when I left, but I left Mercy out for 30 minutes to be sure all had a chance. Sometimes it takes the enticing smell to arouse their interest.
That must have worked, because when I put Mercy back into the room thirty minutes later, both pans were nearly empty. It must not have been early to start feeding them after all.

As I did the neurological stimulation exercises tonight, nearly everyone chose to cuddle alongside or try to drape themselves over the backs of my legs as I knelt there. Thankfully, they were content to go to sleep in the cleaned whelping bed as I finished with each one, so I was able to quickly change papers and blanket on the floor. Tonight’s neurological stimulation exercises are the last for the litter.

Neurological Stimulation Day 14, Pups 16 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: All but Miss Red
Squirmed: Miss Red

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: ALL

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Green
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Orange, Miss Red
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Orange, Miss Red

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Orange
Squirmed: Miss Red
Verbalized: Miss Orange

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Moved off towel: Miss Red

See more detailed explanation and photos illustrating the neurological stimulation exercises

15 Days (4/11) When I entered the room this morning, I was greeted with barks from several pups. All were on the little fleece pad.

First thing when I get up, I let Mercy out in case she wants to potty outside of her special outdoor area, give her her early breakfast, and check that all the pups are okay. Then I put her back in with them while I rotate out all the other dogs. Then I let her out with Cantor to play while I clean the room. When I entered the second time, all the pups except Mr. Blue were in the whelping bed, sound asleep. He was in the open area and came to greet me. I put him in the bed with the others and knelt down to change the floor blankets, small fleece pad and newspapers, but he wouldn’t stay. Instead, he kept coming to visit. Finally, on the fourth try, I got him to stay out of the way and managed to clean the open area. Then I lifted all the pups onto the new clean small fleece pad so I could change the whelping bed. Thankfully. All were content to stay there so that part didn’t take long. Then I put Mercy back in with them so I could begin the ball sessions.

By tonight they were definitely responding each time I entered the room, turning toward me (unless they were sound asleep) and enjoying petting. They also are doing a funny growl/trill sound to communicate with me. They’re also sitting like real dogs – so cute!!

When I did the stimulation exercises, most of the pups again watched me with great interest as I held them in the supine position, relaxed and trusting in my hands. Of course, they may not be watching me exactly, but rather noticing the ceiling light, but they’re sure aware. They are so cute with those big blue eyes, fuzzy bodies and smooth ears that flop out as I hold them!!!!

I knelt in their area and just picked up one at a time to do the stimulation exercises. I could feel little noses sniffing along my legs and feet and warm little bodies deciding to lie against me as I concentrated on the pup in my hands. After I finished each one’s exercises, I put it down in the clump of puppies; I didn’t even try putting them in the clean whelping bed. Some went right back to sleep while others moved around and did some play-mouthing with each other. Miss Purple and Mr. Yellow draped themselves over the back of my legs as I did other pups’ stimulation exercises. All of us visited a little when I finished, then I put them in the whelping bed (several times for a couple of them!) and changed the blanket and newspapers on the floor.

Neurological Stimulation Day 13, Pups 15 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: ALL

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green
Squirmed: Miss Orange, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Green

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Green, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green
Squirmed: Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

 

14 Days (4/10) Musing overnight on their activity, I decided it was time to give them more room. They’re starting to get up on their legs in a primitive walk when they want to move a distance, rather than crawl. This morning I put up another 8″ board on the side where Mercy has been entering and leaving and then lowered the front side to form a ramp. I put papers and sheets for traction over it and the floor, opened up part of the room (a 12″ board works nicely to define the initial space – Mercy can easily step over it to get to her water, food bowl, and bed – and let the pups begin exploring.

I took photos of their new living space and then left them. They were busily nursing in the bed When I checked later, four were nursing on Mercy’s small fleece pad by the low gate creating a buffer between the room door and the puppy area. The pad keeps her from sliding the newspapers and blanket out of place as she hops in and out. The others were stretched out in the whelping bed. All was quiet. They adjusted to the open area extremely fast.

They are just beginning to notice each other, mouthing (“tasting”) and putting a paw on another pup. Tonight when I went in to change bedding, they were all either nursing or cuddling by the gate. Since Mercy jumped up as I opened the door, I couldn’t tell for sure. They sure yelled their displeasure at being disturbed, then noticed me kneeling to change the fleece pad and newspapers in the whelping bed. They came to investigate. Miss Orange was the first to find and greet me. I received the first tail wags. That’s always exciting! I took some photos of them playing and moving around. They then settled back down so I did their neurological exercises and weighed them. As I finished each one, I placed it in the clean whelping bed.

After I did Miss Green, she walked out of the whelping bed, climbed onto the back of my legs as I knelt there and snuggled in. She was not pleased when I had to remove her so as to move enough to reach another pup for its neurological stimulation exercises.

In the two days since I weighed them, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss Yellow gained 5 ounces. Mr. Blue, Miss Orange and Miss Red gained 4 ounces. Miss Green gained 3 ounces. Three now weigh 3# or more (Miss Yellow at 3# 5 oz and Miss Orange & Miss White at 3# even. Miss Red is the smallest at 2# 3 ounces.

When I finished, I started changing the blanket and papers on the floor. Mr. Purple was no help. Three different times he came out of the whelping bed and sprawled in the open, right where I was working. Eventually he stayed put in the bed so I could finish cleaning.

Their faces are growing. I love their little Roman noses, which are really noticeable from a side view. Their coats are now getting thicker. By the time they can regulate their body temperature, on day 21, they’ll be even fuzzier.

Their ears are growing in preparation for opening on the 21st day. They’re losing the “teacup handle look” and beginning to fold over. They won’t begin standing up like real German Shepherd ears until they’re at least 5 weeks old.

Neurological Stimulation Day 12, Pups 14 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: All but Miss White
Squirmed: Miss White
Verbalized: Miss White

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Orange, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Red, Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Miss Orange, Miss Red, Miss White

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss White

See more detailed information and photos of the two weeks of life

13 Days (4/9) I decided not to give Miss Red any special nursing sessions today, and to check tomorrow if she continued to gain weight.

I took the pig rails out. They’re big enough now, anyway, that Mercy will notice if she lies on one – and they have good lungs and let her know when she does!

When I pulled out the fleece pad and pups tonight in order to change the pad and papers, the whole bunch awoke and began moving around. Several walked off the pad onto the floor and sprawled out.  All of them complained about being awakened and the light being on. What a noisy bunch!

Tonight when I did the neurological exercises, all the pups maintained eye contact during the supine position; in fact, if I hadn’t known their ears were not yet open I would have thought they were listening to me count 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005 as I timed the exercise.

As I finish each pup’s exercised, I place it on the clean pad in the whelping box. Usually they settle right down, but tonight they moved around a lot. The boys even moved out of the box and down to the soiled fleece pad and crashed. They barely moved when I lifted them back into the whelping bed and closed the ramp.

Neurological Stimulation Day 11, Pups 13 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: ALL

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Struggled then settled: Miss Green
Squirmed: Miss Red
Verbalized: Miss Green

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: All but Miss Yellow

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Miss Red, Miss White
Struggled then settled: Miss Green
Squirmed: Miss Orange
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Pink
Squirmed: All but Miss Pink
Verbalized: Miss White

 

12 Days (4/8) We’ve scheduled the police/narcotics test for Thursday, May 16, at 5:30 p.m.

They seem to be trying to figure out their world. Of course, they can only see vague shapes and the contrast between light and dark at the moment, but their world has vastly enlarged. I closed the window curtain, so they won’t have to deal with much intense light. Their eyes are blue and bothered by light; they won’t be comfortable in bright areas until their eyes turn brown, usually at 5 weeks or so, and will search for darker places.

I had appointments during the afternoon so was only able to give Miss Red one special nursing session today.

Miss Green (now 2# 11 oz), Miss Orange (now 2# 12 oz), Miss Yellow (now 2# 15 oz) and Miss Red (!) gained 3 ounces. Miss Red is now 1# 15 ounces. Mr. Blue (now 2# 7 oz) Miss Pink (now 2# 9 oz) and Miss White (now 2# 11 oz) gained 2 ounces. Mr. Purple (now 2# 10 oz) gained 1 ounce.

They again were busy using their eyes as I did the neurological stimulation exercises. Miss White, again, did a tour after I weighed her and put her in the whelping bed. She ended up on the bare ramp and just stretched out, seeming to enjoy the cool wood.

Neurological Stimulation Day 10, Pups 12 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: ALL

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss White, Miss Yellow

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blur, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss White, Miss Yellow

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Pink
Struggled then settled: Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss White, Miss Yellow

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Miss Orange, Miss White

 

11 Days (4/7) I worked on the prepare-for-puppy mailing that will go out to the people getting pups from this litter. It contains hints on how to get ready – from puppy proofing their house and yard, to equipment and toys that I recommend. I got help from several people to come up with my list of possible registered name suggestions; “Q” is a tough letter! I’ll take it down to be copied tomorrow and mail the packets as soon as possible.

They’re much stronger, pushing themselves up on their forelegs and trying to figure out how to manage the back ones and begin walking.

I continue to give Miss Red two special thirty-minute nursing sessions each day. She nurses most of that time.

When I did the neurological stimulation exercises tonight, I noticed their eyes are opening. The eyes of Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss White and Miss Yellow are about half open, while Mr. Purple’s, Miss Orange’s and Miss Red’s eyes are open a slit. The ones whose eyes are nearly open were obviously looking around the room on the first two neurological stimulation tests and also looked u at me on the spine test. Now they’ll start to be fun!!!!!

Mr. Blue gained 2 ounces so he has now doubled his birth weight, making all of the litter pass this major landmark in development. Others who gained 2 ounces were Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss White. Miss Yellow gained 3 ounces, while Miss Red gained 1 ounce. They now range from 1# 12 ounces (Miss Red) to 2# 12 ounces (Miss Yellow).

Neurological Stimulation Day 9, Pups 11 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: ALL

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Orange
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss White
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Pink, Miss White

 

10 Days (4/6) This morning I trimmed toenails. What a battle! Miss White (as expected from her responses to the neurological stimulation exercises) fought me the whole time, yelling and squirming. When I finally finished, I gave her a new collar and put her in the (cleaned) whelping bed. Before I could even pick up the next pup, she had left the whelping bed, made a circuit of the dropped-down side, and came to me. She lay down stretched against my leg and promptly went to sleep. All that yelling must have really worn her out!

I then did Mr. Purple’s nails, with less difficulty but still a lot of work. These pups are very strong and do their best to climb up my hand as I try to hold them steady to do their nails. I gave him a new collar but, instead of putting him in the whelping bed, just put him down on the old fleece pad where I was sitting. He promptly cuddled as well.

Mr. Blue (also as expected from his responses to the neurological stimulation exercises) was pretty relaxed for the most part, though he wiggled a lot and made it hard for me to do his nails just from movement. Miss Pink was about the same. Miss Red, despite having had more handling than the others, also threw a fit, though not as bad as Miss White’s. Miss Green also flailed around a bit. The others wiggled but were easier to trim. It’s obvious that next time I trim nails I’ll need another person to hold them – now way will I be able to hold AND trim.

They’re crawling strongly and already trying to get up on their legs.

My friend Joey comes monthly to do massages on a couple of my older dogs – Berakah who tore a cruciate muscle years ago and tends to stiffen up on that leg, and Quasi, who is really tight in the shoulders lately, interfering with his front extension. Today was her day to come this month and Mercy knows her, so when she arrived I asked Joey if she’d like to help me photograph the pups. It’s much easier having someone to help position pups so I don’t have to keep putting down the camera in order to position them facing me. I was not surprised that Miss White complained as Joey held her, or that she was the only pup to demonstrate how they’re starting to walk. I was lucky enough to get some photos of Mr. Purple yawning. Love those shots!

Their eyes are becoming more defined and look like they’re about ready to open a tiny slit. You can see in a couple of Mr. Blue’s photos that his eyes are beginning to open, only a couple because he promptly went to sleep. Some of Miss Pink’s, Miss White’s and Miss Yellow’s photos show eye slits, too. Some litters will take up to 14 days to open their eyes.
It’s always fascinating to see pups this age sniffing intently. The first one I photograph doesn’t do a lot, other than a little investigation of the fleece pad. I hadn’t used this particular pad in the whelping bed yet so it was new. But succeeding pups can smell that their littermates had been there before them and really get those noses working as they try to find a sibling.

I edited the photos this afternoon and was upset because they had a yellowish tint. Guess I’ll troop down to Photo Imaging Center again for advice for correcting the color since otherwise I got some really good photos. I tried to figure out what was different, since the camera had the same settings as when I took the birth photos. Finally I remembered that I hadn’t had to turn on the supplemental light since Mercy whelped during the day, and that we had identified in the OO litter that for some reason it made the photos have a yellowish tint despite having a “daylight” bulb in it. I had been talking to Joey as I set up for the photos and just turned on that light by habit. Rats!

Miss Red again nursed vigorously in her thirty-minute special sessions this afternoon and again in the evening.

Before I changed bedding and did the neurological exercises I quickly put down the fleece pad that will go in the bed tonight and took more photos. Yep, the color is much truer on these. It’s interesting that the pups were much more passive tonight, just wanting to sleep. How do they know it is night when for them it’s dark all the time? Miss White even refused to do much. Miss Yellow did make a half-hearted attempt to walk a bit, but the others just lay there. I love to see their ears at this age. At birth, they were flat against their skull; now they stick out like handles on a sugar bowl.  

I gave them a little time to rest before I returned to clean the bed, do the exercises and weigh them.

People keep asking if I’ve found any correlation between what the do on the neurological exercises and how they test at 7 weeks and then grow up. The only thing I’m suspicious about is that the ones who will be the greatest talkers may show this on the stimulation exercise, but that’s only a thought. This is only the fifth litter I’ve done the exercises on so it’s too early to tell, and the neurological stimulation literature shows no notes on what the pups did while they the exercises were performed. I suspect the pups’ responses are due more to whether they were awake when picked up, or were sleeping and awakened suddenly, or were nursing and not happy to be pulled off a teat.

Miss Orange and Miss Orange gained 3 ounces. Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red and Miss Yellow gained 2 ounces, while Mr. Blue and Miss Pink gained 1 ounce. Miss Red has now doubled her birth weight! Mr. Blue only needs to gain one more ounce to double his birth weight, then all will have done so. They now range from 1# 11 ounces (Miss Red) to 2# 9 ounces (Miss Yellow).

I am still waiting to hear from our police/narcotics temperament test evaluator, but I have scheduled the Search & Rescue test for Friday, May 17th, the only day the SAR people can come. I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do about people coming to watch the temperament tests. We have a nosework trial here the next 2 days and I’m heavily involved in putting it on – in charge of all equipment. We have a big nosework seminar with the judge on the 14th/15th. There are agility classes on the 16th all day/evening plus early the morning of the 17th in the arena where we normally test, so logistics are a problem. There will be no way to decide who gets which pup, all the paperwork, and pups on their way to their new homes until after the trial. I was hoping just to do the tests that next weekend but, since it’s Memorial Day weekend, the SAR people have a big regional three-day training planned. I will let everyone know as soon as all details are figured out.

Neurological Stimulation Day 8, Pups 10 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: All but Miss White
Squirmed: Miss White

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Miss Red, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Miss orange, Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: ALL

4. Supine position
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Red, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: All but Miss Red

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

 

9 Days (4/5) This morning I had agility class, followed by a therapy dog visit, making up the one I missed when Mercy was whelping. Then the truck with the dog’s raw meat diet arrived and I had to go pick up my order; using a lot for Mercy. Again no ball sessions, poor Mercy. I had thought about giving her one this afternoon but desperately needed to mop the floor in between rainstorms. By the time I finished that, all I wanted to do was rest my poor feet. She was not pleased.

Several times today, when I checked on the pups, two or three would have moved to the side of the whelping bed and burrowed under the fleece pad. I took that as a sign that it was a little too warm for them and turned down the heater. They ARE pretty chubby so are generating plenty of heat themselves now, though they still can’t regulate their body temperature. That won’t happen until they’re 21 days old, when all neurological systems are mature and start working.

I again gave Miss Red special nursing sessions in the afternoon and evening. I’ve started just setting the timer for 30 minutes. If she falls asleep before it goes off, I just end the session. But at least Mercy isn’t jumping up when the time beeps, dislodging a happily nursing little girl. She nurses vigorously for most of the time.

Once they’re past the critical first week and have doubled their birth weight, I usually weigh them only every two or three days, but I’m going to continue monitoring Miss Red a few more days. She gained 2 ounces today.

Top gainers tonight were Miss Pink (4 ounces) and Mr. Blue, Miss Green and Mr. Purple (3 ounces). Miss White and Miss Yellow gained 2 ounces while Miss Orange gained 1. Miss Yellow is now 2# 7 ounces, and Miss Green and Mr. Purple are 2# 5 ounces. Next come Miss Orange, Miss Pink and Miss White at 2# 4 ounces, followed by Mr. Blue at 2# 2 ounces and Miss Red at 1# 9 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 7, Pups 9 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Orange
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss White

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Orange, Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Yellow

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Blue
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green, Miss Orange
Squirmed: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow

4. Supine position
Went to Sleep: Mr. Blue
Relaxed: Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Verbalized: All but Mr. Blue

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue
Squirmed: All but Mr. Blue
Verbalized: Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White

 

8 Days (4/4) They’re getting up on their legs really well and trying to walk, though not having much luck so far. When I pull out the fleece pad so I change their bedding, they now often change positions on it several times before I’m ready to put them back in the whelping bed on the clean pad. It always amazes me that they become so active when they still can’t see anything.

Miss Red again nursed vigorously for nearly 30 minutes at her afternoon and evening special sessions.

Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss White have now doubled their weight. Only three to go – Mr. Blue, Miss Orange and Miss Red. Good job, Mercy!!! Mr. Orange gained 4 ounces, while Mr. Blue, Miss White and Miss Yellow gained 3 ounces. Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss Red gained 1 ounce. Miss Yellow is 2# 5 ounces, Miss Orange is 2# 3 ounces, and Miss Green, Mr. Purple and Miss White are 2# 2 ounces. Miss Pink is 2# even, Mr. Blue is 1# 15 ounces, while Miss Red is 1# 7 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 6, Pups 8 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Orange
Verbalized: Mr. Blue

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green
Struggled Mildly: Miss Orange
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss White
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green
Squirmed: All but Miss Green
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow

4. Supine position
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Orange
Struggled Mildly: Miss Red
Struggled then settled: Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: ALL

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple, Miss White

 

7 Days (4/3) All have survived the critical first week. Hurrah!! 

Miss Red nursed enthusiastically for about 25 minutes during both her afternoon and evening sessions. Since she continues to only gain one or two ounces a day even with extra nursing sessions, I’ve about decided she’s going to be small, like her mother. She seems just as vibrant and healthy as the others.

This morning I had Reading Dog at Tongue River Elementary School. I take two dogs (Berakah & GloryToo most of the time) and spend nearly 2 hours letting students read to them. I leave at 9:30 since it takes close to 30 minutes to get to Ranchester, and don’t get home until noon or later, so the dogs don’t get ball sessions. Mercy was a little wild without her chance to blow off steam. She happily stayed away form the pups for her 30 minute rotate with Cantor and didn’t want to go back into the whelping room, so they “helped” me do poop detail and fill bird feeders for nearly another half hour. Then she was content to go back to her babies.

Tonight I again weighed the pups after I did the neurological stimulation exercises. Miss Pink and Mr. Purple gained 4 ounces, while Miss Green and Miss Yellow gained 3 ounces. Miss Orange and Miss White gained 2 ounces, while Mr. Blue and Miss Red gained 1 ounce. Miss Yellow has doubled her birth weight and others should do so tomorrow, which is really good; sometimes they’re 10 days old before they double in size.

Neurological Stimulation Day 5, Pups 7 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: All but Miss White
Squirmed: Miss White

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss Red, Miss White

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Squirmed: Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss White
Verbalized: Miss orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

 

6 Days (4/2) First thing this morning, I offered Miss Red a private nursing session. She was not at all interested and quickly fell asleep. I won’t offer any more morning sessions but will do one during the day in case Mercy is spending enough time away from her that she needs extra nourishment.  I put Miss Red back into the whelping bed and let Mercy out for the rest of her usual 30 minute morning rotation letting Cantor (her usual partner) out with her. Those two were really glad to be reunited and raced outside to play. Mercy was quite content to leave her pups for that long, which is still another sign that all are doing well.

She happily stayed out during her cooling-off period after her ball session. When I finish ball sessions, the last one, Cantor, gets 30 minutes to cool off before I crate him and feed everyone lunch. Usually I let Mercy out with him but haven’t since last Monday. I did today and both were thrilled to have their routine back. They don’ play much, having just had ball sessions, but enjoy hanging out with me. Mercy spent most of the time on the dog bed next to my computer as I continued downsizing birth photos so I can put them on the website.  This is possible because the pups are now more efficient nursers and get their fill much more quickly, then fall asleep so that she can leave them after all have had a chance to nurse. I noticed yesterday that she was waiting at the door, rather than lying in the whelping bed, nearly every time I went down the hallway to let her out to potty or visit. She’s starting to enjoy her time away from them.

I offered Miss Red a nursing session around 4 p.m. and she enthusiastically nursed for 25 minutes. I then gave Mercy a thirty-minute session out of the whelping room with her buddy Cantor. She was very content to hang out close to me and chew on a bone.  I again gave her a special nursing session tonight. She nursed enthusiastically for 22 minutes. Mercy has decided she likes these sessions since she can cuddle by my side and I pet her as I read and Miss Red nurses away.

The fleece pad was soiled when I changed it tonight. The pups are now able to potty on their own – without depending on Mercy to lick them to stimulate urination and defecation. Tomorrow I’ll begin changing papers and fleece twice a day.

When I weighed the pups after I did each one’s neurological stimulation exercises, Miss Green and Miss White had gained 4 ounces, while Mr. Purple and Miss Yellow had gained 3 ounces. Mr. Blue, Miss Orange and Miss Pink had gained 2 ounces, while Miss Red had gained 1 ounce. That puts Miss Yellow at Blue at 1# 15 ounces and Miss Green at 1# 14 ounces. They are closely followed by Miss Orange, Mr. Purple and Miss White at 1# 13 ounces. Mr. Blue and Miss Pink follow at 1# 11 ounces, while Miss Red was 1# 5 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 4, Pups 6 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Red

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Red, Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Green Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink
Verbalized: All but Miss Yellow

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White

 

5 Days (4/1) First thing this morning, I gave Miss Red a private ten-minute nursing session. She nursed for a few minutes and then fell asleep. This is great, since it shows she’s getting enough though the night and not being pushed off by the larger pups.

I didn’t even notice until Friday night that three of the pups have declaws on their hind feet, something that happens occasionally. I had totally forgotten that Mercy was born with them. I had to go back to the JJ litter diary (the litter Mercy was in) to check. When they occur, I have them removed on day 3 or 4, a simple process. Since German Shepherds are working dogs, you leave the front dewclaws on in case they need to climb or maneuver rough terrain. The rear dewclaws can be a nuisance and serve no practical purpose, so if they show up in a pup I remove them. I called the vet Saturday morning and made an appointment for this morning to have them removed. Miss Green and Miss Yellow have a dewclaw on both hind feet, while Miss Red only had one on one foot. I put the heating pad in a box, covered it with a towel, and transported them. When I arrived at the vet, I plugged in the heating pad so they stayed nice and warm. The removal hardly takes any time at all and they were back home with mom in less than 30 minutes.

Miss Red nursed vigorously at her individual session tonight.

Tonight I changed the bed papers and fleece and then did the neurological stimulation exercises, weighing each one before I put it back in the whelping bed. Miss Yellow had gained 4 ounces while Miss Green gained 3 ounces. Mr. Blue and Miss White had gained 2 ounces while Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss Red only gained 1ounce. That leaves Miss Yellow weighing 28 ounces, Miss Orange weighing 27 ounces, Miss Green & Mr. Purple at 26 ounces, Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss White weighed 25 ounces. Miss Red was 20 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 3, Pups 5 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Miss Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss White

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Miss Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Green, Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Miss White
Squirmed: All but Miss White
Verbalized: All but Miss Yellow

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Red
Struggled Vigorously: Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss ellow
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White, Miss Yellow

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: All but Miss Green
Verbalized: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss White
Moved off towel: Miss Green

 

4 Days (3/31) Mercy is telling me the pups are doing great by asking to spend more time away from them. This morning she wanted to stay out for a while after her first breakfast. She hung out with me for a good 10 minutes as I worked on the computer before going back into the whelping room. She also happily stayed out for the seven-minute cooling off period after her ball session. Tonight she was asking for her regular 30 minutes play session with Cantor. I’ll probably restart those tomorrow.

I gave Miss Red a private ten-minute nursing session tonight. She really nursed enthusiastically!

I again did the neurological exercises and then weighed each one as I put it back into the bed.

Miss Pink gained 4 ounces; Mr. Purple gained 3 ounces; while Miss Red, Mr. Blue, Miss Green and Miss Orange gained 2 ounces; and Miss White and Miss Yellow gained 1 ounce. That leaves Miss Orange at 26 ounces; Mr. Purple at 25 ounces; Miss Pink and Miss Yellow at 24 ounce; Mr. Blue, Miss Green and Miss White at 23 ounces; and Miss Red at 19 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 2, Pups 4 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Orange
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Pink, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Verbalized: Mr. Purple, Miss White

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Orange, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss White
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Verbalized: Mr. Purple, Miss White

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Purple, Miss White
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss green, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Pink, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red
Verbalized: Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Mr. Purple, Miss Red Miss White

 

******

Prep

3/21 I cleaned the whelping room, set up the whelping bed, added what newspaper strips I had left over from whelping the PP litter and began cutting more, about 3/4″ wide. The strips absorb fluids as each pup is born and are easy to grab in handfuls to remove before placing more dry papers in the box.

Tonight I began taking Mercy’s temperature twice daily. Usually their temperature begins to drop as they get close to delivery, so I take it when she’s been resting quietly – each morning as soon as we awake, before she stirs around any, and in the evening just before bedtime. Usually, the week before they whelp, they’ll range back and forth between just over 100 degrees to tantalizingly close to 99. When the temperature drops below 99 and stays there, they’ll generally whelp within 12 – 24 hours. Tonight her temperature was 100.5.

She’s still telling me she’s absolutely starving to death. She continues to scarf down 3 meals of kibble spread throughout the day, two cups after her exercise period in the morning, two cups when all of us eat lunch, 2 cups in the afternoon, and 2 cups at supper. She usually eats most of each of those meals. I’ve also upped the amount of the raw meat diet. She gets twice as much as usual in the morning when she gets up, more about noon, and more at bedtime.

All of mine get a little of the raw meat diet first thing in the morning, then a “lunch” of kibble when we’ve finished all the individual ball sessions (around 1 p.m.), and kibble for supper about 6:30.
I also began adding a slice of raw beef liver to her lunch. I always save hearts and liver anyone gives me just for the near-to-whelping moms because organ meat helps induce milk production. Even if they begin refusing the raw beef cubes, they will gladly eat the heart or liver.

3/22 Morning temperature was 100.4. Her temperature at bedtime was 100.5.
Whenever I have to be gone, I am now leaving her in the whelping room where I have the whelping box under an old table to create a “den” for the new puppies. She can “nest” to her heart’s content in the shredded newspapers. The “pig rails” are up around the sides. For the first couple of weeks they give the fragile, blind pups a place to squeeze into in case mom lies upon them without realizing it. I have a doggie door going to a small private yard where she can potty if she needs to.

She’ll pee in her little maternity yard but is reluctant to poop, so every time I get home I let her into the big yard. While she’s outside I watch her, because mommas-to-be can quickly find a hole and disappear, nature’s instinct to find a safe place to whelp. Often they’ll go from dog house to dog house, slip in, rearrange the straw, then come out and head to the next one. Mercy hasn’t started nesting yet but I’m still keeping her in sight.

3/23 Morning temperature was 100.0. She has begun checking out every dog house when we do poop detail after her ball session. I have several that were methane well covers. They’re about 4′ x 4′ x 4′, super insulated. I cut out a big hole in one side when I got them, and filled them with straw. They worked great when I was still working and the dogs stayed outside most of the day. The dogs really prefer them because two can comfortably rest in them. I put fresh straw in each winter so they’re available the few times I must be gone all day and dogs need to be outside. I still have a few one-dog houses scattered around, too, and put straw in them each winter. Mercy checked every one as we did poop detail both in the front yard and in the dog yard.

Her temperature at bedtime was 100.2.

3/24 Morning temperature was 100.1. I began to really watch her as her behavior has started to change. She is restless and is staying close to me as I wander around the house. Like someone flipped a switch, Mercy went from being starving and begging for food to totally rejecting all food, except the raw meat. Her temperature at bedtime was 100.5.

3/25 Morning temperature was 99.8. I had originally scheduled the x-ray for the 26th, but she’s acting like she may whelp before her due date on the 28th, so I managed to reschedule it for this afternoon. You can’t do it any earlier because the puppies’ skeletons don’t calcify until the last week of pregnancy. German Shepherds are so thick that ultrasounds are of little value other than to confirm pregnancy; that’s why I do an x-ray. The x-rays must be done in the very last week of pregnancy, because the skeletons don’t calcify until then and would not show on x-rays any earlier. I always x-ray them just before their due date to get an idea of how many puppies to expect–so I know whether she is done, or just taking a break, when she shows no signs of another pup coming. Sure don’t want one left inside because she just got too tired.

We saw 8 pups. Poor Mercy, who normally weighs 65 pounds, weighed 88 pounds. No wonder she’s miserable!

Mercy had been resembling a blimp, just generally round all over. Tonight the puppies have dropped from high in the rib cage to the abdomen area – her lower sides are much larger while there almost seems to be a dip up higher. The puppies are too large to remain up under the ribs any longer. She sways when she walks. She has good mammary development, getting ready to lactate, and when she moves she clicks as her udder sways back and forth. Those are signs that we’re moving towards delivery.

3/26 When we got up, her temp was 98.5. She also refused breakfast. Just as I was ready to start ball sessions, a little after 9, she became agitated, panting and restless. I decided we’d better move into the whelping room. She continued being restless, lying on her dog bed for short periods then walking around, going outside to her little potty area then coming back in. I have a foam pad that I put down so I can sit and read and by being quiet, help quiet their agitation.

Around 3 p.m., she finally went into the whelping box and lay quietly. At 4 she acted like she wanted to go out to potty, so out we went. She asked for her ball so I gave her one and let her carry it around while I did poop detail. I didn’t want to have her chase it but hoped a little exercise might help her move into labor. When we came back in, she returned calmly to the whelping box. Around 5 p.m. I pulled it out into the room so that I could better watch for contractions. She was still content to rest quietly in it. The earlier agitation was all gone.

Nothing happened all evening, so at 10:30 I pulled out my sleeping bag, settled down by the whelping bed, and turned off the light. She slept all night. I didn’t sleep much, being on watch for any activity.

Whelping (10/27) Wednesday morning, she was quite peaceful. Her temp was 99.1, but she ate a tiny bit of meat. She wanted in her crate so I put her there while I did all the rotation sessions for the other dogs – each pair gets 30 minutes to play, potty and have breakfast before I begin the individual ball sessions. Mercy remained calm so I decided to try to at least start ball sessions. I had my boots on and was carrying balls to Berakah and Hesed, ready to let them out of their crates, when she began vomiting up her little bit of breakfast. I cleaned it up, watched her for a bit, then began to head to Berakah’s crate when she vomited again. Cleaned that up, watched a bit, decided to try again, when she began throwing up clear fluid. This is not normal so I took off my boots, put up the balls (with Berakah and Hesed complaining loudly) and started to watch her more closely. Suddenly she began panting and moving around in her crate, so I put her in the whelping room. She jumped into the whelping bed and settled. Before I could even sit down on my pad, she had her first contraction. That was at 9 a.m.

I pulled the whelping bed out into the middle of the room so that I could access all of it and have plenty of light. I turned on a heater to warm the area so the pups don’t chill when they’re wet from just being born. I usually wait to weigh a newborn. I wait to weigh and put on the collar until Mercy is busy with a new arrival and not too worried about me handling the pup, so in the photos the new ones are usually “naked” as well as wet. These pups can look like peas in a pod, so I note anything different – such as a splash of white on the chest or toes – since Mercy licks them so vigorously she can definitely remove a collar.

For a while, every time she had a contraction, she’d vomit bile. I’d quickly clean it up and remove the soiled newspaper strips, then she’d have a big contraction and then vomit again. That got old really quickly. She wasn’t making much progress either. Thankfully she quit and began having serious contractions. The first pup, a bicolor female, was born at 10:00 a.m. I had trouble with my camera and didn’t get any photos of her right when she was born. I’ve been taking action shots in our training arena and had trouble remembering the best camera settings for the whelping room. I even had to call Photo Imaging Center for advice. By the time I got the camera set up, the next pup was on the way. I quickly weighed her, 16 ounces, and put on a pink collar.

The second pup, a bicolor male, arrived at 10:28. He weighed 18 ounces and received a blue collar. Interestingly, he has a little white on the ends of several toes on three feet.

That was all the activity for the morning. Mercy settled down to nurse her family. It is perfectly normal for bitches to take up to two hours between pups. I usually sit by the whelping bed and read a book, frequently checking mom as she peacefully nurses her pups. At about 12:40 I left the room to feed the other dogs and then let the next bunch out. I got back in the room at 12:53 and was greeted by a bicolor female. She weighed 13 ounces and got a red collar. Mercy evidently wanted to do it all by herself, the sneaky girl. Maybe I’d better leave more often so we can get all of them on the ground.

Mercy had another bicolor male at 1:33. I’m really having to watch her as she doesn’t necessarily get up to have them; for this one she was lying facing away from me. She started licking so I got suspicious and sure enough, there he was. I put a purple collar on him; he weighed 17 ounces.

She did the same thing with the bicolor female born at 2:30. Hardly any contractions at all and there she was, nearly out. At least this time she was facing me. The pup was breech and backwards so I was glad I saw her coming and was able to pull a little to help. The sack was off her feet but still over her head, but she inhaled a little fluid in the process so I rubbed her to get her crying. She weighed 16 ounces and got a yellow collar. She has some white on the toes of her left hind foot.

I had barely picked up the soiled paper strips and put her pups back on her to nurse when Mercy again began contracting. Quickly I put the pups back on the heating pad, out of her way. At 2:44 she produced another black female, upon whom I put a white collar. She weighed 14 ounces.

Mercy then took another long break. Finally, she had another bicolor female at 4:40. Miss Green weighed 17 ounces.

Then, at 6:31, Mercy had her last pup: a huge (20 ounces!) black female, upon whom I put an orange collar.

I waited for an hour after giving her an oxytocin shot to induce labor in case there was a ninth pup who had hidden from the x-ray. No more contractions started, so I put the family on a rug in the whelping room and cleaned up the whelping box, removing the newspaper strips, scrubbing the bed, letting it dry, then putting down newspapers and finally a big fleece pad. The pad will wick any moisture away from the pups onto the newspapers below, keeping them warm and dry. Mercy will expel leftover fluids from the birth for a couple of days.

I then pushed the bed under my old dining room table which forms a nice quiet, private, draft-free “den” for mom and pups. The pups can’t regulate their temperature until they’re 21 days old, so I have to keep their den quite warm – close to 90 degrees. I set a heater so it would keep the area warm.

After the pups had had a chance to recover from the stress of birth, I took Mercy out for a 15 minute ball session. That’s the only things that will get the new moms to leave their babies. It’s really good for them: it gives their muscles a chance to stretch and recover from lying down for so long with all the pushing to give birth. The moms won’t potty while they’re whelping, either, so the ball session gives them a chance to potty several times so they’ll be comfortable all night. It also helps the uterus to begin contracting so as to get rid of any leftover fluids.

Around 9 p.m., once Mercy was happily back with her babies, I picked up all the whelping supplies. I checked the pups before leaving the room and shutting off the light. Everyone was happy, so I finally fixed something to eat and spent time with all my other dogs. By the time I got that done, it was 11 p.m. I was ready to crash! I wearily collapsed onto the pad by the whelping bed and went to sleep. I slept lightly because I was aware anytime a pup made any noise. Several times I turned on a flashlight to be sure none had rolled over and couldn’t find their way back to mom. It was always a complaint that Mercy had changed positions and dislodged someone from a teat. They did super well and all seem quite vigorous and healthy.

See more detailed information and photos of pregnancy and whelping 

1 Day (3/28) All the pups are quiet this morning.

Mercy was quite glad to leave the pups for her ball session. These blow-out times of chasing the ball are great for the new moms, as the exercise stimulates the uterus to clean out any left-over fluids and begin contracting back to a more normal size.

Mercy is VERY proud of her family. She just glows. I left the family alone the rest of the day, letting all of them rest and recover from the stress of being born, just going in frequently to check that no pup was lost or cold. I have to frequently monitor the little heater in the bed. It’s very hard to get it adjusted so they’re warm enough but not too warm – and mom isn’t too hot. The pups have figured out how to find mom when she changes position so all was quiet each time I checked.

The others are doing great. I keep close watch over them during that first critical week, weighing them each day to be sure that they are nursing properly and getting enough milk to grow. Each day I pull their fleece bedding out on the floor and let them nurse while I change newspapers and put in new bedding. That way I can check that all are nursing well. I often put just the smallest pups, or the ones gaining least, on the mom and observe them nursing as I change papers and bedding. The whelping bed has a hinged side that I let down to form a ramp when I change bedding. Once the pups begin moving around, I keep it down so they have an easy way out into the room and back to the bed as I begin helping them to learn to potty away from “home”.
The moms often lie down on the “old” pad and nurse the pups as I work, although generally what happens is that they wander around and wake all the puppies, who squirm and try to move towards her and roll off the pad onto the linoleum floor. All of this makes them mad. I eventually return all of them to the pad but I believe that a little stress from early in life makes for a stronger, more resilient adult dog, so I don’t hurry to rescue them.

See more detailed information and photos of the first week of life

After I changed the bedding, I weighed the pups as I put them back into the bed. Miss Pink had gained 3 ounces. Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow had each gained two ounces. Mr. Purple, Miss Green, Miss Red and Miss White had gained 1 ounce, but Miss Orange remained the same at 20 ounces. Mr. Blue also weighed 20 ounces, while Miss Yellow weighed 19 ounces. Miss Green and Mr. Purple weighed 18 ounces. Miss White weighed 17 ounces and Miss Red weighed 14 ounces. These guys are doing great, though I’m closely watching the smallest, Miss Red, to be sure the larger pups don’t push her away. Every time I check on them, I put her to nurse.

Mercy’s doing a fantastic job of rotating pups – there will be some nursing while others are asleep, and so far Miss Red is having plenty of chances to fill her tummy. Sometimes pups will drop an ounce or two after the stress of birth–and my old baby scale will give varied weights depending upon just where the pup is on the “lid” or whether it’s moving around a lot and causing me to guess. As long as the loss isn’t large and they’re quiet and close to mom, I don’t worry. When they’re warm and happy, they’ll coo a bit under their breath. I love to hear that cooing because it tells me all is well with the world. Nevertheless, I’ll give Miss Red frequent individual nursing sessions.

I began doing the early neurological stimulation on my litters I was pleased to see that the introduction mentioned my practice of stressing them a little each night as I change their bed. 

See information and illustrations of the Neurological Stimulation Exercises.

2 Days (3/29)

All was peaceful first thing this morning when I checked the family. I gave Mercy her breakfast and left her while I rotated out the dogs who had spent the night in their crates.
She gladly came out for her ball session.

Tonight I changed the bedding in the whelping box and weighed the pups. All but Miss Pink had gained. Mr. Blue, Miss Green and Miss Red gained 1 ounce. Mr. Purple and Miss Orange had gained 2, while Miss White and Miss Yellow gained 3 ounces. Miss Orange and Miss Yellow are now 22 ounces. Mr. Blue is 21 ounces, while Mr. Purple and Miss White are 20 ounces. Miss Green and Miss Yellow are 19 ounces. Miss Red is 15 ounces.

3 Days (3/30) I got the charts made up for the two weeks of neurological stimulations, which start tonight. I even remembered to dampen a towel and put it in the fridge so it’s ready for the thermal stimulation. I guess doing these exercises has now become a habit.

When I let Mercy out first thing this morning to potty, she didn’t rush back to her pups but visited some with me and got caught up on a little petting. She is now content to eat her breakfast (raw meat diet) in the living room rather than insisting on it being brought into the whelping room. She was waiting at the door when I opened it with the ball in my hand. I give each dog a seven-minute cooling off time after their ball session. She was content to stay away from her pups that extra time today.

She also stayed out a few minutes each time I let her out during the day. My good friend Laurie, with whom Mercy has trained in nosework many times, was in town and came by to see the pups. Mercy greeted her enthusiastically and had no qualms about Laurie handling the babies. I put a fleece pad on the floor and brought the pups out onto that. After Laurie saw the pups, we let them sleep there as we sat on the floor and visited – and Laurie gave Mercy a lot of loving. Mercy would go outside for a bit then return to us to visit, then go outside, totally confident the pups were just fine without her. I don’t let people the moms don’t know visit until the pups are three weeks old, but my training friends, whom they know well, are welcome because the moms don’t get agitated but instead enjoy showing off their treasures.

I did the first day’s stimulation tests this evening. It will be interesting to see if any pups consistently respond to a test in the same way, so I made a chart. While doing the neurological stimulation,

I noted the pups need their toenails trimmed – already. I did that after the neurological exercises. I also noticed, for the first time, that Miss Pink has a tiny spot of white on her chest.
After I did each pup’s exercises, I weighed them before putting them into the whelping bed. Miss Pink gained 3 ounces. Miss Green, Miss Orange, Mr. Purple, Miss Red and Miss White gained 2 ounces. Miss Yellow gained 1 ounce while Mr. Blue remained the same. Miss Orange was 24 ounces; Miss Yellow was 23 ounces; Miss Pink, Mr. Purple and Miss White were 22 ounces; Mr. Blue and Miss Green were 21 ounces; and Miss Red was 17 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 1, Pups 3 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Pink, Miss White, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Red
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Red

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Miss pink, Miss Yellow
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Orange, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Yellow
Struggled Mildly: Miss Orange
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss Red, Miss White
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss Red, Miss White

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Pink
Struggled Mildly: Miss Orange
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss White
Struggled then settled: Miss Red
Squirmed: Mr. Purple, Miss Yellow
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Mr. Purple, Miss White

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

Celhaus German Shepherds

4817 Big Horn Ave
Sheridan, WY  82801
celhaus@fiberpipe.net

Nu-Vet for Health
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