RR Litter Diary
Whelped 6/11/19: 4 bicolor males; 1 bicolor female; 1 black female

Two males are available.

to RR litter background information
to RR litter pedigree

See twenty-one-day-old photos

See 16 & 17 day old photos

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

see more details and photos of pups 28-41 days old

41 Days (7/22) I could hear the pups calling for breakfast as I fixed it. Miss Pink was on the roof of the transition/lounge area when I took it out. She came barreling down the ramp and raced inside the puppy house to greet me then dove into breakfast. For the first time, none got hung up at the gate this morning, so I didn’t have to step inside the puppy house, close the door and call to get them to come inside. They rushed to say good morning and then began eating.

They were thrilled to have a normal day with play and cuddle times. They really played with the toys I put out during Lovely’s ball time; I don’t think they chased after her once.

They also enjoyed having meals on time. I didn’t have to step into the puppy house at all – they came barreling in for each meal.

Since today they are back to their normal schedule, I mixed less meat in with their 2 cups of kibble, so that in the 4 meals they’ll get the usual 1.5# of meat. Tomorrow I’ll add a little more kibble and a little less meat with each meal.

They were thrilled to have a normal day with play and cuddle times. I had planned to bring them inside to play tonight but with all the catching up on things neglected for three days the time got away from me. It’s turned hot so I had to get out the hoses and sprinklers and timers and get started watering everything.

40 Days (7/21) I again fed them a big meal this morning before I left at 7:30 a.m. They had left a tiny bit of their late supper. I promised the pups some nice attention when I get home as they are definitely unhappy with just a quick petting. 

The trial went longer than usual for a Sunday so it was 4 by the time I got home. I fed them a big meal, which they devoured, then, and then another one at 10. My feet were really hurting so I didn’t do much with the pups tonight.

Both of Mr. Brown’s ears are up.

39 Days (7/20) Mr. Brown’s left ear is up this morning. One of Miss Gray’s ears is almost up.

I fed them a big meal this morning before I left at 7:30 a.m. They had left a tiny bit of their late supper.

I got home at 4 and fed them a big meal, which they ate. Again, Lovely was sitting at the gate and a pup was nursing.

About 7 p.m. I took Lovely out, let the pups out of their yard to nurse and changed papers and fleece pad in the puppy house. I also gave them some loving attention since they’re feeling abused with me gone so much.

I fed them another big meal at 10, just before I went to bed.

38 Days (7/19) Mr. Green’s ears are up this morning.

Today I have to be at our agility trial by 11 a.m. so our morning routine is all goofed up. I fed them first thing and then put Lovely in with them for 30 minutes, after which I cleaned the puppy house and gave them fresh water in there. They were outside with Lovely so I lifted them out over the bottom gate to run around and nurse (again) on Lovely. This is not a real exploring bunch. They spent most of the time that I was working on the puppy house at the baby gate, yelling to get back in, so when I was finished, I lifted them back in over the gate, not into the house. I left the bowl of dry kibble in the house since I had no idea when I’ll be home to feed them.

I got home at 7 p.m. and fed the pups a big meal (2 cups dry kibble mixed in with 1/2# raw meat diet), which they devoured. Lovely was VERY glad to leave them, but I was happy that, when I went to the pen, she was sitting there with two puppies nursing so I felt they had had sustenance all day long.

I fed them another big meal just before I went to bed at 11.

37 Days (7/18) I forgot to soak any kibble for their breakfast, but it didn’t faze them. The pups are eating so well, I increased it to a 1.5 cup per meal. They had close to an hour before I put Lovely in with them. They had left just a tiny bit of food. I picked it up while she was in with them and then put it back out for them when I took her out an hour later, when it was time to start ball sessions. I also picked up the bowl of dry kibble before the day warmed up. They had definitely noticed it, as some pieces were on the floor, but I couldn’t tell if any had been eaten.
Miss Pink’s ears are totally up this morning.

I fed them lunch about 11:30. It was again unsoaked kibble mixed in with the meat and they ate nearly all of it.

About 30 minutes later, I brought them out for Lovely’s ball session. Mr. Blue again wasn’t going to go with us, so I just picked him up and carried him.

Today I took out 3 toys. They weren’t too interested at first, managing to hold Lovely to a halt so they could nurse. She let them nurse until they had cleaned her out, which took a surprisingly short time. Then they chased her as she chased her ball, five coming back after pursing her to the small pine trees. Miss Gray plopped down in the shade under the pines, which was nice and cool. Eventually she came back. They’re so funny to watch as they run at this age. They don’t run in a straight line as their rear legs track to one side of the body. They make a more serpentine path and seem to be working VERY hard to get the short distance they go.

Once they decided chasing Lovely was too much work, they plopped down in the shade by my chair and began to chew on the toys. Mr. Purple, Mr. Green and Miss Pink were the most interested.

No one followed us as we did the poop circle. They watched, but didn’t follow, as I then headed to the puppy yard to do that poop detail. Eventually four of them came and followed along the fence line, complaining, as I wandered their yard, while two remained at my chair and wrestled (I couldn’t see collars to tell who). I called them when I came out of the yard and headed to the front to dump the bucket, to give them another practice heading that way before we went to the nursing home. By the time we came back around the house to the puppy yard, they were quite ready to go inside, have a drink and collapse.

They had a good nap before I came out to take them to the car. This is an interesting bunch. They’ll stay in the puppy house even when it starts to warm up. The last litter hardly ever stayed in the puppy house, leaving as soon as they’d gulped down their meal. If I want to find this bunch, on the other hand, I just look first in the puppy house and nearly every time all 6 are in there.

All six came out and, wonder of wonders, Mr. Blue came with us through the gate into the ball yard. I closed the bottom part of that gate in case anyone decided to turn back, but all followed happily, veering off to pee or poop and then rejoining me. When we got through the next gate, I closed it but didn’t really need to as they followed me out the gate to the car and stayed close so it was easy to pick them up to load them, two to a crate. As soon as I closed the doors they began to yell. I could hear them in the house as I let a couple of the big dogs out. They yelled – and I mean YELLED – the whole way to Sheridan Manor, which thankfully is only a couple of miles from my house. As soon as I stopped and opened the doors and they saw my helpers, they were quiet and ready to visit. Charlene, Linda, Becci & Ariel helped today. The Manor has a nice fenced lawn area where we take them to potty before going into the facility. They promptly headed for the line of shade, covering the sidewalk along the wall, and my helpers had to work hard to get them moving around on the grass so they’d potty. We finally gave up as they were flattening themselves in the shade, chins on the ground, and not budging.

We carried them into the Alzheimer’s Unit and set them on the floor, emptying the toy bag I brought. They weren’t too sure and froze for perhaps a minute, then they noticed all the people and began wagging their tails and going from one to another. Soon they were noticing the toys and playing with them, entertaining everyone. They also were mostly willing to sit in people’s laps for attention, except my noisy boys, Mr. Brown & Mr. Green, did a lot of complaining. That brought a lot of laughs!

The therapy director had given the Alzheimer’s Unit a stuffed German Shepherd toy in honor of my weekly visits there. Joy, the staff person who coordinates my visits, put it down with the rest of the toys and everyone got a kick out of seeing the live German Shepherds’ reactions to the stuffed one.

Mr. Purple and Mr. Green picked up the tennis balls, which was quite a mouthful. Several of the others followed the balls’ movements but didn’t pick them up.

They played for about 50 minutes, which is fantastic for a first visit – especially since they had yelled all the way there. I had a terrible time taking pictures as they kept coming to me. I have to sit on the floor to get a good angle for photos and was easy for them to find. My helpers kept having to remove a pup from my lap. Once they collapsed, we picked up the toys and the pups and I took them home – again yelling the entire way. I crated the two dogs who had been out and let Lovely out to help me unload and walk the pups back to the puppy yard. She was quite glad to see them and it was funny seeing her count until I unloaded the two from the last crate. Then, satisfied, she led them into the big yard and let them nurse. Eventually we got them to follow us around the house and into the puppy yard, where I left Lovely with them for about 15 minutes. She seems happy with the way I put her in with the pups several times a day and has quit barking. She now just sits by the gate until I come out to “rescue” her. With the pups generally in the puppy house anyway, it’s not like they’re pursuing her unmercifully.

I then left them to sleep off their visit for about an hour. Since high humidity made the day seem quite hot, I turned on the sprinkler in their yard during that hour. They were in the puppy house but hopefully it helped cool that off too. I then took out their early supper. I had refrigerated the leftovers from breakfast and lunch (about 1/2 cup each) and put in a little water to soften the kibble. I then added 1/2 cup unsoaked kibble and a little less raw meat diet than usual and mixed everything together. They cleaned that up.

About 7:15 I put Lovely out with them for an hour. All was quiet. Yes!!! When I went out to get her Mr. Blue & Mr. Brown were hanging out with her, and Mr. Green & Miss Pink came right out so they had to have been in the transition area. I was glad to see they had moved out of the house.

Just before dark, I checked the pups and all were outside, enjoying the cool evening. I took the scale and Pyrantel (wormer) out to the puppy yard and weighed and wormed the pups. That was interesting, as they wiggled and squirmed and I had to guess at the weights. Mr. Purple and Mr. Brown weighed 8.6#. Miss Pink was 8.2#. Mr. Blue was 7.3#, Mr. Green was 6.8#, and petite Miss Gray was 6.0#.

About 9 p.m. I took out their late super and left it, and the bowl of dry kibble, in the puppy house for the night.

36 Days (7/17) Early this morning, I closed Lovely in with her pups for a while. She wasn’t too happy and barked quite a bit. She’s telling me she’s ready to wean the pups right now, please. The puppies are eating well enough that she can begin spending more time away from them, but we won’t start weaning them until after this weekend’s agility trial. I’ll be gone a day Friday – Sunday and she’ll need to be with the pups so I know they’ll be okay while I’m gone.

I let Lovely out of the puppy yard and crated her until it was her and Lively’s turn for their morning rotation. I fed the pups, this time mixing the 3/4 cup of kibble totally unsoaked in with the 1/4 cup I had soaked, and the meat. They ate the lot.

When the 30 minutes was up, I crated Lively and headed out to clean the puppy house. I let the puppies out into the main yard while I changed newspapers. They nursed on Lovely for a bit and then began exploring in the area between the puppy house and the deck steps. Several also followed me to the baby puppy yard as I retrieved the box of newspapers from that puppy house and took it to the new puppy house. They also followed as I carried their indoor water bowl to the faucet and refilled it. It’s hard caring a full water bowl and dodging puppies underfoot!

Cleaning finished, I called Lovely to get into the puppy yard. She was on the deck – and had a puppy up there with her! I got her into the yard and began lifting puppies in, then called the one on the deck, who came racing down the ramp and to me. It was Miss Gray. What a good girl, to have figured out how to go up the ramp (I doubt she climbed the steps but will watch next time just in case she has already mastered that skill).

I left Lovely with the pups while I did the last two rotations, then brought her in and began ball sessions.  Lovely 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.

Today not a pup was in sight when I did the big yard poop detail. I didn’t see anyone until I finished Spirit’s session; then a couple came to the gate and lay down. No talking this morning, so they are already used to all the traffic past their yard.

Miss Pink’s ears are up, though tipped at the top. So cute! Mr. Green’s are up a little more than yesterday, while Miss Gray’s are starting to come up.

At 11:30 I took out their lunch – about 1 cup hard kibble mixed with the 1/4 cup kibble I had soaked, and the meat. They ate all of it while Mercy had her ball session and cooling off period.

Then it was Lovely’s turn, and the pups got to join us. I opened the puppy house door, found all of them in there, opened the baby gate and called them out. As soon as all were out, I closed the door and started walking to the gate into the ball area, calling as I went. Five came bouncing out; I had to go back for Mr. Blue, who had decided he’d stay by the puppy house door, thank you. A couple followed me, but the others had seen Lovely ahead of them and had raced towards her. I carried Mr. Blue into we got a ways out into the ball area and he could see his mother, and put him down as the other two saw here and started running that way. Because of a foot condition, I try not to be on my feet any more than necessary so I have a chair I sit in to throw the ball. Lovely headed that way, pursued by six fat fuzzy puppies. By the time I got there, she had dropped her ball and was ready to chase it. The ups had no idea what was going on for a couple of throws – mom suddenly left and then came back, then left again. On the third throw, they took off a ways in pursuit but soon turned back when she got WAY ahead. They decided it was great fun to visit with me and get some petting while they let their mother run back and forth, though as soon as she stopped close by to catch her breath, they attached to teats and began nursing. That was fine with her until she got her breath back, then she gave me her ball and moved away – causing some audible pops as puppies were pulled off teats.

We did a few more ball throws and then it was time to do poop detail in the ball area. Several of the pups started to follow but soon turned back to the group in the shade and wrestled while they waited for us to return from our circle. That was fine with Lovely as she didn’t have to dodge them as I continued to throw her ball during poop detail. We then headed towards the front of the house where the poop cans are. I particularly wanted the pups to follow so they are familiar with the walk around the end of the house since that also leads to the car. Tomorrow they’ll be easier to get loaded for our trip to the nursing home.

We then came back around, the pups moving faster as they recognized the gate into the area between the deck and the puppy house. I lifted them into the puppy house as that’s where the closest water is and also because I imagined that, after all that excitement, they’d collapse for a nap. Lovely and I headed into the house where, after she cooled off, I crated her and proceeded with the last ball session of the day.

While Cantor cooled off, I put Lovely with the pups. I then brought her in for lunch and left her crated (so she’d be quiet) while I took a nap. After that, I put her out with the pups and let her bark all she wanted. She is content for about 30 minutes then she wants away from them.  She’s not going to wean them this early. Now is the prime time for moms to teach their pups manners and how to respectfully interact with other dogs. I have a feeling she’ll do that but only when it’s a “WE” project (me with her and the pups as much as possible) rather than her project.

I brought her in when it was time to feed everyone supper and left her crated while I finally was able to mow my agility field, too late to do any practice for this weekend’s agility trial but at least I have reclaimed it from the alfalfa just before it was too high for the riding mower. After she & Lively had their evening thirty-minute rotation for cuddles and play, I took her out to nurse the puppies one more time. I let them out of the puppy house and changed papers and fleece pad while they nursed. She gave me barely enough time to get that done before she was climbing the steps onto the deck to escape them. I left them out while I went inside to fix their late supper, then carried it out and put them with it into the puppy house I also took out a bowl of dry kibble in case they got hungry on this their first night without mom. I crated Lovely and went to bed. Thankfully, all were quiet during the night.

The police/narcotics test will be Thursday morning, August 1st. I couldn’t find a local place for the testing which also included a shady, cool area for the car so the pups waiting for their turn at the test were comfortable, so I have to take the pups to the tester’s home in Buffalo (about 35 miles away). The Search & Rescue test is still set for August 3rd. We can use the local training arena for that one.

35 Days (7/16) I had soaked part of their kibble during the night and then first thing had put a little water on the rest, so it needed a few minutes to soften, but I wanted to quickly get them out of the whelping room before they awoke, moved around much and pottied. Rather than carry them down the deck steps to the ground, I put each pair through the doggie door onto the deck landing. Lovely went out with the first pair so they had company while I grabbed the second and third pairs. I then went out the door and called them to come down the ramp, which has agility matting on it for nice traction. All followed, with Mr. Purple and Miss Pink the first and fastest, and first to hit the ground. The others were more deliberate, with Mr. Blue standing on the deck and yelling a bit before he followed. Then he didn’t quite make it to the ground and climbed back up onto the deck, yelling louder. I had been walking towards the puppy house but walked back to the end of the ramp just as he decided to fly down it.

Once down, they convinced Lovely to feed them while they stood – they are now large enough that they can manage that and actually need more room to all fit. I’m pretty sure she spends her night in the small area of the whelping room between the door and the little gate and probably they hadn’t nursed for quite a while. One had actually been at the bowl of kibble when I entered the room this morning.

While they nursed and then explored the area between the deck and the puppy house, I changed papers. By that time the remaining kibble had had time to soften a bit so I went inside and mixed their breakfast. When I came out with it, several pups were trying to figure out how to climb the steps to follow me. I called them as I walked to the puppy house, opened the door and removed the baby gate which keeps them confined when I open the door. They came racing, so I put down the bowl, counted them in, replaced the baby gate and closed the door.

Ears on Miss Pink & Mr. Green are nearly up!!!

After Lovely had her 30 minutes to wander around with Lively and have some cuddle time with me, I let her into the puppy house. All the pups were contentedly curled up on the fleece pad, though they jumped up to mob her and nurse again.

They had cleaned up all their breakfast, so I measured out 1 cup of kibble for lunch, soaking part of it.

I left Lovely with them while I rotated the other dogs out for their morning play/cuddle/eat sessions (all get a raw meat diet breakfast first thing in the morning, then a kibble lunch after we do ball sessions and a kibble supper about 6:30 p.m.).

Since Lovely will now be spending more time away from them, I’ll add a fourth meal late in the evening. I thaw less meat for each meal (though they’ll continue getting 1.5# total for the next few days). I gradually add more soaked kibble and later begin to lessen the amount of meat per meal so that by the time they leave here they will do fine on a straight-kibble diet if that’s what people want to feed.

Once they move to the big puppy pen, I can leave food with them overnight. The big puppy pen is away from the perimeter of my property and thus coons or other animals won’t be attracted to the food. Due to the summer heat, I’ll only leave the bowl of kibble out during the cool evenings.

I left Lovely in with them until I began ball sessions. As I headed out with Berakah & Hesed for the first session, I could hear a puppy yelling. Sure enough, all were at the gate, but it was Mr. Purple making a fuss. They’re now right where all the action happens – where all of us go in and out for morning ball sessions and where the dogs come into the house all day long – so they’ll have to get used to being disturbed.

He continued yelling while we played ball, stopped for a bit, then resumed when we came around the corner of the house to do poop detail in the back yard. He then quit and went into the transition area. It was Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue & Miss Pink who were quite interested in what we were doing and who followed us way down the fence line as I searched for poop. They got all the way to Lovely’s kiddie pool, which is over half the length of the puppy yard.

They followed us back, then Mr. Brown and Mr. Blue headed for a rest while Mr. Green and Mr. Purple joined Miss Purple in watching us do the rest of the yard. Miss Gray must have been asleep in the puppy house because I never saw her. They were quite interested as I carried the two big cardboard boxes and the old beat-up kiddie pool from the baby puppy yard and put them into their new yard. They were still watching when I finished cleaning out the baby puppy house and yard and packed the leftover papers and other items for use in the big puppy house.

After that, it was pretty quiet as I came and went with dogs for their ball sessions. At 11:30 I took out their lunch. All the pups were asleep in the puppy house but they sure jumped up when I put the food bowl down. I’m impressed that this bunch figured out how to get into the puppy house so quickly and easily. It’s unusual.

As I edit the photos I took Saturday, it’s quite interesting to see the differences in the pups. Mr. Purple and Mr. Brown look like they’re going to have Cantor’s harsher, thicker coat. They’re also a different body type than the others, stockier and heavier, and have a more serious expression than the others.

I had a therapy dog visit at 1:30 so as soon as I finished ball sessions and fed all the big dogs, I put Lovely in with the pups.

About 4:30, I let Lovely out and fed the pups again. This time none were in the puppy house. I stepped in, closed the door and began calling them. I could hear them crying at the gate but continued calling and rapped on the inside wall of the transition area. Soon a pup came, quickly followed by 2 more, then the last three. Hurrah!! That was the easiest first try of any litter I can remember. They dove into the bowl and I stepped out over the baby gate and closed the puppy house door. They cleaned up that meal. I then let Lovely back in with them.

At bedtime, when I took out their late supper and let Lovely out, only three pups came: Mr. Green, Miss Pink & Mr. Brown. When, after repeated calling, the others didn’t come, I got a flashlight and began searching the puppy yard, continuing to call. I was beginning to get really worried by the time I got all the way to the back of the yard by the obstacle course. Finally, the other three pups appeared. They had evidently been playing back there and fell asleep. They were just fine, though I feel I aged about 10 years. They happily followed me back to the puppy house and began to eat what was left of their late supper.

I propped the top part of the gate open so that Lovely could go in during the night if she wished. She was the only one who would be uncrated during this, the puppies’ first night alone. I don’t know whether she checked on them or not, as every time I happened to wake up, she was either stretched out on my bed or on the dog bed beside it. At any rate, with the windows all open, I could have heard puppies cry but all was quiet.

34 Days (7/15) I carried the pups outside and put them down on the ground, and they followed me at speed to the puppy yard. I lifted them inside so they could potty while I fixed their breakfast. They were hollering for it when I returned; in fact, three had gotten out of the puppy yard somehow and were coming towards the house. I put the food bowl on the ground just inside the gate so I could lift the three escapees in, and Miss Pink immediately began eating. As soon as I got in the yard and picked up the bowl, they ran towards the puppy house, impatiently waited for me to open the door, and dove in as soon as I put it on the floor. I turned on the light, closed the door and left them to eat.

When I returned 30 minutes later, they had cleaned up the entire meal. Thankfully, Lovely thought there was enough left to clean up so she diverted the pups while I changed papers in the house, although Mr. Blue came in through the transition area and doggie door to greet me, which I was excited to see.

Since we had no rain last night and the day is already warm at 6 a.m., I hosed down the part of the puppy yard closest to the puppy house, especially around the lilac bush, so that they’ll be cool and comfortable this morning.

With hardly any dew on the ground overnight, I was able to mow the big puppy yard this morning before it got miserably hot. I filled the kiddie pool there (for Lovely) and then set a sprinkler on the baby puppy pen for an hour so it will stay cool this afternoon. After that, I ran the sprinkler in the big puppy yard so it would be cool for them when I moved them there later this afternoon.

I scheduled the puppies’ visit to Daybreak, the senior daycare facility, for the morning of July 24th. We’ll visit the entire facility at Sheridan Manor on the 25th, and the other nursing home, Westview Healthcare Center, on the 31st.

Before I moved them to the big puppy yard at 4 p.m., I ran the sprinkler for another hour. By 4, the big puppy house and the surrounding part of the puppy yard is shaded by the house so the puppies would be comfortable as they explored their new digs. I lifted them out of the baby puppy yard, turned off the fan and closed that puppy house door, then the gate, and called them to follow me to the big puppy yard, which is just about 15′ from the steps into the house. I put them, and Lovely, in through the big door into the puppy house. She would show them how to leave. I checked out the kitchen window several times and soon saw them following her around the new yard. All was peaceful.

They’d been there for an hour, and I was heading to out to check on them, when a big thunderstorm suddenly moved in. I could see from the window that they were under cover somewhere – whether the puppy house, transition area or lounging area I couldn’t tell – so I left them in peace.

Within the next hour, we had 3 more storms move through. Puppies remained out of sight. Shortly after 6, I took out their supper and called. They came out of the transition area, nearly totally dry and not stressed at all. I let Lovely out and put their supper in the puppy house. Until they learn to turn away from the gate to go into the transition area and then into the puppy house, I have to lift them over the bottom gate and put them into the puppy house for meals. I did that and they dove in. I closed the door and left them in peace to eat and then find their way out the doggie door. This puppy house has a window so I don’t have to turn on a light and then go back to turn it off.

After Lovely also had her super, I put her back in with them until about dark, when I brought them inside for their last night inside. I let them out of the puppy yard and played a bit with them to make sure they pottied well (and got their loving) before putting them in the whelping room. I didn’t turn on the light but quietly carried each pair of pups into the house and placed them in the room. After Lovely had her 30 minute rotation to just be a dog (rather than mom), wander around with Lively and have some cuddle time with me, I quietly put her into the whelping room. There was no noise or movement from the pups. They had to be tired after all the day’s adventures!

33 Days (7/14) This morning I lifted the pups two by two and carried them down the steps, putting them on the ground and going back for another pair. Once all were outside and on the ground, I started walking towards the puppy yard, calling them as I went. All six came runnin! And followed all the way to the puppy yard! Smart bunch of babies! I lifted them over the bottom gate and headed back into the house to get their breakfast. This morning I put all their breakfast into a larger puppy bowl, still with the high middle section which discourages climbing in and wallowing in the food. The single larger bowl works better in the puppy house, since the area between the old whelping bed and the doggie door /big door is small..

I let them eat on the ground while I changed papers and fleece pad in the puppy house. I turned on the light, started the fan, stirred up the leftover breakfast in the pan, placed it in the puppy house, and called puppies. All but Mr. Blue followed me into the puppy house and began eating again. I lifted him to the bowl, closed the door and left them for 30 minutes.

For lunch, I soaked 1/2 cup of kibble and left the other 1/4 cup dry until shortly before feeding. That way it won’t be totally soft and, mixed in with the soaked kibble and meat, will give texture and hopefully easier bites.

When I returned with Lovely, I also brought two nice heavy cardboard boxes from a shipment of birdseed from Wild Birds Unlimited. They use high quality boxes, which I save for puppy enrichment. They make great close-sided “tunnels” that the puppies enjoy exploring and dragging around. I put them close to the gate, tied open the puppy house door, turned off the light and brought the nearly empty bowl out for Lovely to clean out. I called the pups out of the house and gave them some loving while Lovely ate, then left her with them while I rotated all the other big dogs out of their crates.

I again crated Lovely while I did the first few ball sessions. After her session, I put her in the puppy yard for the last 3 ball sessions. Then I brought her in, gave the puppies their lunch, fed her, and put her out with the pups while I went to a 2 p.m. meeting.

When I returned at 3:30, puppies came out of the cardboard boxes to greet me. They like them!  The day was miserably hot so I hosed down the puppy yard, especially around the big lilac bush. The pups love to snuggle in holes around its base, so I made sure they had COOL holes before I left for Mass.

At about 6:30, I took Lovely out of the yard so I could feed them their supper, as usual calling them into the puppy house, turning on the light, closing the door and leaving them to eat. They now have that routine down pat. I give them 30 minutes to eat. When I took Lovely back out, I noticed they had left about half of their supper. Figuring it was too hot for them to be hungry, I took it into the whelping room.

I put Lovely in with the pups until 8:30 and then brought them inside. I made sure the pups saw their food bowl when I put them in the room and then left them for 30 minutes. When I put Lovely in, they had cleaned up all their supper. Adding the only-partially-softened kibble is definitely helping them learn to take bites of their meal instead of trying to suck it in, so I soaked less of the kibble for tomorrow morning.

32 Days (7/13) Lovely didn’t make a peep all night, which convinced me the reason she barked all day yesterday was not liking being isolated from me and the other big dogs. “Puppies are okay, you know, but not the reason for my existence.” Knowing that, I’ll begin working towards getting the pups into the big puppy yard. First they need to have figured out how to go inside the puppy house (when the door is closed) through the transition area, since that configuration in the big puppy yard is less logical to puppy minds for some reason.

Another thing I like to see them doing before the move is using all of the baby puppy yard. This morning, as soon as Lovely had her breakfast, I carried the pups to the yard and set them down just inside the gate. By the time I came out with the second pair, the first pair were running and playing to the left of the gate, further towards the end of the puppy yard. By the time I got out with the third pair, the four were busy exploring that area. Good!

I returned with breakfast and put it in the puppy house, calling the pups. All came running except Mr. Purple, who was visiting with Lovely and Lively (great-grandmother) through the fence. The others were already eating before he finally decided to come and he dove in too. This was a good lesson in coming when called. I had gently mixed the soaked kibble in with the meat and dropped it in dollops throughout the pans. I then left them to eat in peace.

They finished the lot. I put Lovely in with them and they nursed wile I cleaned the puppy house, propped open the door, turned off the light and turned on the fan. She’s now standing to let them nurse, though they’re having trouble reaching the teats. They’ll soon have it figured out. I’m sure, once I left, she sat or lay down so they could thoroughly nurse.

I soaked 3/4 cup kibble for their lunch.

I brought her inside and crated her just before I began ball sessions. I’ll leave her crated until she has her session, then put her in with the pups. She’ll be happier and the pups will begin to get used to her being gone for longer periods.

When I went to bring Lovely inside, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Miss Pink & Mr. Purple were playing by the gate and came running to greet me. I’m excited to see them taking advantage of the still-relatively-cool day, which is starting to warm up towards an expected high of 91. Rains last night left the ground nice and cool.

With Lovely crated in the house, I was able to do puppy yard poop detail as I did the rest of the yards, after Berakah & Hesed’s ball session. I always turn left (away from the puppy house) as I go through the gate so I can do most of the yard without “help.” It didn’t matter today; all the pups were totally crashed in the whelping room and never knew I was wandering around. I “let the sleeping dogs lie.”

I was just putting Lovely back in with her pups after her ball session when my friend, Joey, arrived to give a monthly massage to two of my older dogs. After she did that, she was willing to play with puppies so I could take photos and also hold them so I could do toenails. I knew there was something I had planned to do this morning before I put the puppies outside, but I didn’t remember until I got to the puppy yard with my camera: I was going to put larger collars on them. Joey played with babies while I ran into the house and got the collars so we could see which pup we were photographing.

Miss Pink’s left ear is beginning to stand up.

After Joey left, I did the last 2 ball sessions and then crated Lovely for her lunch and so I could feed the puppies. They didn’t eat all of their lunch so I only soaked 1/2 cup of kibble for supper.

I put Lovely back out with them for the afternoon. I had planned to leave them out until nearly dark, but we had a severe thunderstorm watch so I brought them in early, before I fed them supper.

The puppy yards have double gates – a bottom gate 18-24″ high which allows me to confine pups while either mom or I step/jump in and out, and another gait making the entire gate 6′ high. I again lifted all of them out of the puppy yard while I stepped in to turn off the fan and close the puppy house door. Then I stepped out, closed the gate, picked up two convenient puppies (which happened to be Mr. Blue and Mr. Green) and headed to the house, calling the puppies as I walked. They did fantastic, following me (and Lovely of course) all the way to the steps into the house.

The four stayed there, exploring, as I climbed the steps, put the two in the puppy room then came down for another pair and then finally the third pair. Good puppies! And there was very little of the nervous whining that young puppies usually do in strange situations. Having been cheated of their playtime (as the storm moved in the temperature had dropped and it was much more pleasant), they were pretty wild, grabbing the edges of the newspapers or the cloths over the ramp and attacking my ankles. Once the burst of wildness abated somewhat, I straightened the room as best I could and left them.

When I went to fix their supper, I realized I had forgotten to soak their kibble, which meant they had time for a good snooze before I took Lovely out and left their supper. They again left a bunch of their meal.

I think part of the problem is that it’s soft and they haven’t yet learned to work to get food when it’s been squashed into the pan. I’ll start going in halfway through their mealtime and stirring up the leftovers.

Bringing in them so early meant a mess in the room so I had to clean it before bedtime. They were again wild monsters as I tried to change bedding. It’s so much easier to do that when they are elsewhere! Yep, they need to move outside for good. I’m going to try to bring them in another two nights before moving them to the puppy house and bringing Lovely in at night. I gave them a little loving until they began to crash for the night and then left them.

31 Days (7/12) This morning, while the pups ate their breakfast in the whelping room, I cleaned the puppy house. Rainstorms during the night didn’t seem to move the humidity away with them, so I fastened the door open and turned the fan on high. At least the rain left all the ground nice and damp and cool. Just before I left for agility class (8:30), I put them outside, again setting them down outside in front of the puppy house so hopefully they’d potty, explore and then head indoors, keeping the newspapers clean longer.

I refilled their big outdoor water bowl, Lovely’s five-gallon water bowl and the sheep tub I had put at the far edge of the yard for her to use to cool off. Yesterday she “swam” in all three.

I put 1/2 cup kibble to soak. Since they’ll be outside, they can begin more substantial meals and I’ll begin poop detail.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s diary entry that twice when I checked on them Mr. Green was outside, in a little nook where the puppy house joins the fence, between the puppy house and the garbage can (for soiled newspapers). That would be a spot that stays nice and damp, and therefore cool.

Upon returning from agility, I checked the pups. Mr. Green was again in his “place,” while the others were in the puppy house. I called them and got them to all come out and potty while I visited with them. The whole mob followed me to the gate when I left.

When I took out their lunch, all but Mr. Green were in the puppy house; he was again in “his” spot. I got them to come out and potty before putting their bowls inside. They must have been hungry, because this time I didn’t have to fight to close the door.

When I returned with Lovely and to pick up their bowls, Mr. Green and Miss Pink were in “his” spot. I fastened the door open, turned off the light and picked up the bowls. Interestingly, they had totally cleaned up one bowl – meat and kibble. The other bowl had some kibble but no meat. Interesting that they ate the kibble in one and not the other; someone must have been hungrier than others and quite willing to try the new food. Everyone came out to visit. I put the bowls down on the ground so Lovely could finish the leftovers.

While she ate, I loved on the puppies. Miss Pink threw herself down so that I could rub her tummy. Boy, can she turn on the charm! The others visited in a more conventional manner. All of them followed me to the gate and as I walked away I saw them exploring farther from the house.

I again added 1/2 cup of kibble to their supper and closed them inside the puppy house to eat. They ate nearly all of it and all of the meat. When I took Lovely back out to them, Miss Gray, Mr. Purple, Mr. Blue and Mr. Green were in Mr. Green’s spot. It’s becoming popular! I took the opportunity of them mobbing Lovely to change the papers in the puppy house and put down a clean fleece pad.

I had hoped to leave the family outside all night, but Lovely began barking and won’t quit. She obviously feels abused out there in the puppy yard. That complicates my life, because they can only stay in the baby puppy yard while their mothers are with them. I’m going to have to move them to the “big puppy” pen as soon as I can and begin having Lovely away from them at night so I (and the neighbors) can sleep. I had picked up the soiled newspapers in the whelping room and washed the rugs after I put the family outside this morning but had waited to either pick up everything or else put down clean papers and cloths until I decided if they would move outside permanently or not. Now I set up the room again. I left them outside s long as I could so that hopefully they’d be mostly pooped out from the kibble at supper.

When I went out to bring the puppies inside just as it was getting dark, Mr. Green, Mr. Brown, Miss Pink & Mr. Blue were in the Mr. Green’s spot. The other two were in the puppy house. I lifted everyone out of the gate into the back yard so I could close up the puppy house for the night and fasten the gate. Then I grabbed a pair of pups, starting with those who had been outside (more active) so would have pottied first, and carried the inside, returning for the other “outside” pair and then lastly for the ones who had been asleep inside the puppy house.

I actually have two puppy pens with heated houses, doggie doors and transition areas. The “baby 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 “baby 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 “baby” puppy pen/house area only as long as their mother is with them during the night to repel any varmints. 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.

30 Days (7/11) They were a wild bunch this morning as I tried to change their room. Miss Gray was even biting my ankles, a first for her. My sweet, cuddly babies are disappearing.

After I did Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session and yard poop detail, I finished setting up the baby puppy yard. The day was already heating up so I fastened the puppy house door open and turned on the fan. I then moved the pups out. I usually put them in the whelping bed since it’s immediately familiar, but decided to do that after I got all six outside. I just placed the first two on the ground outside the puppy house and went back to get the rest in two trips. The first two never made a peep or acted worried, so I put the second pair with them. By the time I got out with the third pair, the others were so happy, busy exploring with noses down, that I decided to leave everyone there.

I checked on them after I finished the next ball session (Spirit), and they had made their way into the puppy house on their own and were stretched out, asleep and happy.

At lunch time I took out their food, put it in the puppy house with them and (with great difficulty) closed the door so the flies wouldn’t find the food. They were all going to tumble out and visit with me rather than eat. 

When I returned with Lovely, they had eaten all their lunch and were asleep, but did they wake up and come out to visit as I fastened open the door! I visited a little with them and headed to the gate, and darned if the whole bunch didn’t follow me several feet and Mr. Purple even followed all the way to the gate, probably 20′.

When I checked on them later, they again came out of the puppy house to visit and this time it was Miss Pink who followed me (and Lovely of course) to the gate. That’s unusual on their first time outside. The day was really heating up so I turned the fan on high.

I scheduled their first visit to be next Thursday at the Alzheimer’s Unit. The Children’s Librarian had contacted me, trying to schedule a visit for July 17, the day before she leaves for three week’s vacation. I hated to turn her down, but that’s the day they turn five weeks (the earliest I take them on visits) and I don’t want their first visit to be the mayhem of 40 kids at the library. I’m disappointed this litter won’t get that experience, but they won’t be mature enough for it next Wednesday. I’ll now start scheduling their visits to the other nursing home and to the senior daycare.

I cleaned the whelping room before bringing them in. Amazing how quickly that goes without help, when you can actually see the soiled papers and replace them with clean ones!

I had agility class tonight and it’s at a field about 30 minutes away. I didn’t want to leave them for 2 or more hours, especially since clouds were moving in. No rain is forecast but often we’ll have a thunderstorm build on an unusually warm day. I brought them in before I left. I grabbed the first two who came out and pottied (Miss Pink & Mr. Green) and took them into the house. When I came back outside, Miss Gray was nearly to the deck! She had followed us a good 50′. I praised her like crazy and then went to get a second pup (Mr. Purple). She just calmly sat down where she was and waited for me to come back to her so I praised her big time again. I put those two into the house and returned for the last two (Mr. Blue & Mr. Brown) who were much more reluctant to come out of the house. I carried them outside the puppy yard and put them down while I closed the gate. I then tried to see if they’d follow but they were having nothing to do with that. Instead, they turned back towards the gate, so I picked them up and carried them into the house, where all collapsed. Their first day exploring the outside world had worn them out.

They were monsters tonight when I cleaned their room; must have had too good a nap while I was at agility class. Everyone but Mr. Green was biting on me. He probably would have, too, except he was busy nursing on Lovely all by himself. I thought I was never going to get the big fleece pad folded in half and put in the back of the whelping bed. It was covered with puppies, who either grabbed an edge and tugged or chomped on my ankles or wrists.

Usually, as soon as I get it down, Lovely lies on it and nurses the pups, which gives me a respite in the battle of changing newspapers. Not tonight! Instead, they ran around grabbing edges of newspapers – either on the floor or in my hand – and shaking them. I swear each pup peed 3 times during the process, usually on the clean newspaper I had finally managed to put on the floor. Of course it didn’t help that I was very tired after running two dogs in a big outdoor field in 90 heat at class! We had two hoopers courses last night, which mean there’s no chance to catch up as the dogs jump or negotiate contact equipment so handlers must move really fast. Cantor has some decent distance which makes it easier, but Mercy isn’t there yet so I have to work twice as hard to be in the correction position to direct her to the next obstacles. I then took the dogs home, cooled them off, fed the others, and headed to the grocery store as I was out of nearly everything. So it was a little later than usual when I cleaned the puppy room. They’d had too much time to recuperate from their adventures!

I finally finished and sat down for a little cuddle time. By that time, thankfully, they were wearing down so they cuddled rather than bit. Miss Pink had me rub her tummy, and rub it, and rub it. She showed me she’d figured out how to roll over and back. So irresistible!!! Mr. Green again captured my lap and talked to me, giving some great eye contact. Mr. Brown stretched alongside my leg and crashed, giving little moans of pleasure as I petted him. Mr. Purple gave kisses. Mr. Blue got Lovely to himself and nursed. The only obnoxious one was Miss Gray who decided she’d chew on me. Eventually all moved away and stretched out, ready for bed. I turned out the light and went to my own bed.

29 Days (7/10) The pups ate all their breakfast – 12 ounces again – so I’ll continue at that amount. It’s time to start soaking kibble and adding it to the raw meat but that must wait until I can get them outside so that with more room it doesn’t make any difference that Lovely no longer picks up their poop.

They were pretty wild this morning when I cleaned the room. Mr. Brown & Mr. Purple at different times grabbed hold of my sweatshirt and pulled, the first real tugs I’ve seen. When I finished, I sat down so they could cuddle. Mr. Green again claimed my lap. The others visited, Miss Pink giving me kisses and even the two hellions being relatively sweet.

I had to loosen everyone’s collars again. The collars of the three big ones – Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple and Miss Pink – are at the maximum extension so I’ll put the larger collars on tomorrow. The three smaller ones – Mr. Green, Mr. Blue & Miss Gray – still could have a little more extension in their collars but I don’t do too much at a time or someone always manages to get a leg through.

I thought everyone was tired enough that I could weigh them but they still were super wiggly. I’m guessing these are reasonably accurate weights: Mr. Brown is 6.5#, Mr. Purple is 5.9# and Miss Pink is 5.6#. Next come Mr. Blue at 4.8#, Mr. Green at 4.6# and petite Miss Gray at 3.9#.

We’re supposed to have a couple of warm, dry days so this afternoon I mowed the baby puppy yard and began setting up the puppy house. I was going to be gone over two hours for training so I didn’t put them out. I always want to be around when a new mom’s first litter goes outside to be sure she’s calm and stays with the puppies – and no pup get lost in the much larger area. I’ll put them out tomorrow after I finish the ball session (so Lovely doesn’t run up and down the fence and cry as other dogs get to play).

I have two puppy yards – one for baby puppies and their mother that is outside my bedroom window; another, larger one for older puppies whose mothers are beginning to spend more time away from them. In the baby puppy yard 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 gradually begin to do.

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.

They ate all their food at lunch & supper, too.. 

We trained late so, by the time I rotated all the big dogs and cleaned their bed tonight, I was dead tired. I forgot to write down what I observed in the diary but went straight to bed. I can’t remember who was causing the most trouble – biting my ankle, pulling on the cloths as I tried to put them down on the ramp, grabbing the edges of newspapers and tugging – and who was especially cuddly once they tired. It was general mayhem.

28 Days (7/9) Since they’re now eating so well, I put a bowl of kibble in the room for them to sample and exercise their teeth on. I only do this just before I move them outside, as the moms quit cleaning up their poop once they start eating kibble. For now, they’ll mainly explore the new offering.

From the way they were chewing on me when I cleaned the room this morning, they may start eating kibble sooner than I expect. Mr. Purple first tried to pull my eyebrows and then settled on my wrist. Miss Gray found my slippers enticing.

After I (finally) got the papers cleaned, I sat down to let my little helpers visit. Mr. Green promptly asked for help to climb into my lap and stayed there for quite a while, sitting up straight as if ready to repel boarders. Miss Gray nearly made it up on her own but I had to lift her little butt up at the end. She stayed and cuddled, giving me some really nice eye contact, for quite a while before sliding down to the floor. She seems to think that was pretty cool because she came up, cuddled and got down three more times. Miss Pink came up but it was too tame for her and she’s not much on cuddling, so she was soon down and zooming around.

The others soon crowded around and, since my lap was too small for more than one or two, I lay flat on the floor and let them visit all they wanted. All of the, even Miss Pink, had a great time exploring my face and arms – this time Mr. Purple chewed on my nose. Mr. Brown got in a good cuddle. When all had collapsed, Miss Pink lying nearby with her chin resting on my arm – I left them to their nap and began ball sessions for the big dogs.

They ate all of their breakfast and lunch so for supper I thawed out 12 ounces of meat. They finished that off, too. I had to increase Lovely’s meat per meal since she’s no longer getting any leftovers from her pups.

Tonight they were again wild when I cleaned their room. It looked like a disaster area when I walked in. I couldn’t believe they had peed that much, but then I saw two different pups go to the water bowl and either try to climb in it or stick in a front paw and splash water out. The monsters!

When I knelt to change the whelping bed, I had Mr. Purple biting my ankle while Mr. Brown bit a wrist. Ouch! They’re starting to bear down with those needle-sharp teeth. Once I got the bed changed, we had a little love in before I proceeded to the ramp and floor. I got some nice kisses and cuddles.

While I was changing papers on the floor, Miss Gray followed me around while the others wrestled and headed for every piece of paper I tried to put down flat. She was quite pleased when I finished and sat down so they could climb and visit. She was sure in a loving mood tonight! Mr. Purple stretched out and convinced me to rub his tummy and Mr. Brown lay down with his chin on my foot. I like them better in this kind of mood. The others visited and moved off, came back to visit and moved off, gradually collapsing. The last couple awake started getting crabby and I figured they were saying to please turn off the light, so I did.

see more details and photos of pups 14 – 27 days old 

 

27 Days (7/8) 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.

In an effort to encourage them to potty on papers rather than fleece pads and sheets, when I cleaned this morning 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 Lovely and the pups go down it. I put the small fleece pad where Lovely jumps into and out of the room. Otherwise there’s just paper on the floor.

That’s working pretty well except all their galloping around pushes paper aside so I have to keep going in and making sure the floor is covered. It’s time to move outside. I’ll try to get the baby puppy yard mowed tomorrow and the house puppy cleaned and ready.

They were pretty mellow this morning and afternoon when I changed papers, but tonight they were on fire. I caught Mr. Brown chewing my slippers and the edge of the clean rug I had just put over the ramp and Mr. Purple tugging on my pant leg. The rest careened around, making it very hard to put down each fresh piece of newspaper. I persevered and eventually got the room cleaned.

They swam in the water bowl today, so I substituted a new taller-sided water bowl. Miss Pink watched me pour water into new bowl with great interest.

They ate all of all three meals today.

26 Days (7/7) 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.

This morning when I changed the room, I only put cloths down for traction on the ramp. I left the newspapers on the level part of the room uncovered. They did very well without the traction aids and were actually galloping around in short bursts.

Every time I changed papers, they mobbed me for loving. Tonight as I changed the whelping room, Miss Pink was kissing my face, Mr. Green and Mr. Purple draped themselves over my arms while Mr. Blue discovered my hair (of course I lean down farther than necessary as I talk to and pet the babies).

They ate most of their lunch and nearly all of their supper.

25 Days (7/6) 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.

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 cleaned the room, Mr. Green climbed on top of both of my legs and talked to me, while Mr. Brown & Mr. Purple gave me kisses on the cheek – another first. Miss Pink, meanwhile, decided to run down the ramp and did a pretty good job of it – and she didn’t even crash into the gate! I noticed that they were walking much better on the papers as I changed the sheets over them, one more result of all systems now being hooked up. Not having to cover the floor will cut down 3 loads of washing a day so I can hardly wait.

I then weighed and wormed them. Mr. Brown is now the largest, at 5.1#, followed by Miss Pink & Mr. Purple at 4.8#. Next were Mr. Blue & Mr. Green at 3.7# and last was Miss Gray at 3.3#

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 left a lot of their breakfast and lunch but totally cleaned up their supper.

Tonight while I changed the whelping bed, it was Miss Pink who bit my ankles, Mr. Purple who cleaned my face with kisses and Mr. Blue who draped himself over both my legs. Lovely only nursed them for a couple of minutes and then fled – and I soon saw why. They were VERY busy tonight as I tried to change the floor covers. Everyone was trying to run and all were talking. Miss Pink varied her exercise by running up the ramp, while the others were all over the room, even doing really cool rollbacks as if to show off their prowess. Even with the covers off and just newspaper to move on, their balance was amazingly better than just yesterday’s. I didn’t see a single pup sprawl with legs out from slipping on the papers. When I finally got everything changed, I lay down and let them climb on me and cuddle and visit until all were ready to crash for the night. The only one who didn’t do much cuddling was Miss Pink, though just before I got up she came and gave me kisses.

24 Days (7/5) Ears still aren’t open but the pups are super aware when I step into the room and come to greet me. I’m now hearing quite a few little barks and trills. They ate most of their breakfast.

They had their first big company today. Laraine, her two young daughters and her mother stopped to visit on their way through town, arriving just as I got home from agility class. They are getting one of the males. We’d had a huge thunderstorm with heavy rain go through during class – and of course all my windows at home were open because it had been warm and sultry early this morning. That meant the house was just too chilly to chance bringing the pups into the living room. I quickly changed the papers and pads on the floor in the whelping room so that all of us had dry spots to sit down and love on the babies (and Lovely, of course, who was quite glad for some diversion – she’s beginning to get bored with motherhood). Mr. Blue stole the show by remaining out on the floor so everyone could pet him long after the others had quit visiting and crashed in the whelping bed.

I waited a couple of hours after their visitors left before feeding them lunch, but they still weren’t very hungry. A couple opened an eye, looked at me, then went back to sleep. Only Mr. Green and

Mr. Purple were heading to the bowls as I left. I kept Lovely out of the room for over an hour but when I put her back in, I saw the pups had left most of one bowl and about half of the other. I’d guess several didn’t ever go eat. It’s hard work charming people when you’re so young.

They made up for a light lunch by eating all of their supper except for a bit they smashed against the sides and couldn’t get.

When I cleaned their room tonight, they were all over the place, talking. At one point I felt a pain in my ankle and looked down to find Mr. Purple testing his new teeth on it. Yes, bud, your teeth are sharp!

As I put sheets and rugs down, Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown and Mr. Purple followed me, little noses working industriously. They looked like they were inspecting the new cloths – especially the bath towels I use to cover small areas – to be sure they were clean enough to use. I had to keep lifting them off so I could straighten the towels. Unlike previous room changes, they didn’t crash quickly; in fact, they were still going strong when finished and left, though I’m sure turning off the light soon quieted them down for the night.

23 Days (7/4) Ears still aren’t open, but the pups sure acted like they were, coming forward to greet me as I opened the door to let Lovely out. I put down their breakfast and Mr. Green and Miss Pink marched over and began eating. I made sure the others were awake and left them. When I let Lovely back in later, they had cleaned one bowl and most of the other.

Now that they’re eating (and drinking) more, they’re piddling more often. When I went in this morning I saw several fresh LARGE wet circles on the rugs. Guess I’ll begin changing the room three times a day instead of two. Poor washing machine. Now is when I begin to wish they could go outside, or at least get those leg muscles developed enough that they can keep them under them on the papers so I don’t have to put sheets or rugs down for traction..

Everybody came to greet and climb on me. Lovely did help out by going onto the freshly changed pad in the whelping box and nursing the pups so I could at least get half of the floor changed. For the rest, I kept having to pick up and put aside pup after pup. Since each time I have to cuddle and pet the pups, it took a long time to get the room done.

For lunch, I increased the amount of meat I thawed to 10 ounces. They ate most of it so I thawed the same for supper. They didn’t eat as much for supper.

I had a lot of “help” when I changed the bedding both in the afternoon and evening. Everybody came to visit and climb on me as I knelt. When I stood up to begin putting the rugs and sheets down, they kept getting under them. I’d lift one out of the way and try to smooth down the material, only to have two others come over. They had a great time and were ready for a nap when I finally finished.

Lovely is now routinely sitting while they nurse so there’s room for every fat, fuzzy body. She tried standing to nurse them yesterday but they can’t reach that high yet and vigorously complained until she sat down.

Tonight I had to loosen everyone’s collars. They’re really growing fast!

22 Days (7/3) The pups are more aware when I enter the room. Most wake and head towards me. I checked ears but they’re not open yet. They ate most of their breakfast.

Zak and his eight-year-old son, Beowulf, who had come to get one of the QQ litter, asked to see the RR pups. Lovely was quite pleased to have them come into the whelping room and had no trouble with Beowulf holding a couple of them (one at a time of course). Beowulf thought they were pretty cool and asked to see them one more time before they left. Once they got on the road, I fed all the big dogs AND the RR’s. They again ate nearly all of their meal. All I’m doing now is making sure everyone wakes up – they can head to the bowl as they wish. Mr. Green, Mr. Blue and Miss Pink are usually the first to start eating.

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.

They didn’t eat quite as much of their supper as they did the two earlier meals, but they’re doing quite well.

Tonight I was greeted by a couple of barks when I entered. I had lots of help as I changed their rooms it seemed to take forever. Thankfully Lovely headed to the clean whelping bed and I was able to lift the pups in there to nurse while I started changing papers and pads. I didn’t quite get done but at least I got the area just out of the whelping box done so they had nothing to complain about.

I checked ears again – still not open but the ear parts are much more sharply defined so they could open anytime.

21 Days (7/2) I usually wake up about 5 a.m., crate the dogs who were out all night, let another pair out and go back to bed until nearly 6. This morning it was Lively’s turn to come out at 5, so I also let Lovely out. When I got up, I crated her and fed her breakfast there while I fed the babies.

Mr. Purple greeted with barks at the gate this morning. The others were asleep but woke and came towards me and I noticed the first greetings. I put the bowls down and immediately Mr. Green, Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss Gray headed there. The other two males, Mr. Brown & Mr. Purple, were slower to move but were heading purposefully to the food as I left. They ate nearly all of their breakfast.

Later I went in and opened up the entire room for them, except for a small area so they can’t get to the doggie door, since they’re telling me they’re ready to explore. I also put away the heater since they’re fat and furry even if their ears haven’t yet opened, indicating they can control their body temperature. I checked a couple of pups’ ears but they’re still closed.
I’m not too concerned that their neurological systems are not complete on this “magic” day when they’re supposed to be. Since Lovely whelped 4 days early, they may need an extra day or two to finish hooking up all the circuits. I’m not in a hurry to move them outside, either, since this is the “week from hell” when all my surrounding neighbors seem to compete to be the ones with the most powerful and largest supply of fireworks. I won’t put Lovely through the stress of worrying about her kids, or the pups through the stress of too-loud noises on their newly-opened ears. Thank goodness fireworks are only legal for a week. When sanity returns – and peace descends – the family will move out to the puppy yard. Until then, their slower development will leave them content in the smaller area of my whelping room.

I thought they were safely occupied nursing Lovely so I started enlarging the room. I had to take out the long 12″ board before I could put the shorter board up to keep them from the doggie door, then I began putting papers on the rest of the floor. Way too soon, before I got the papers and sheet down for traction, Mr. Blue & Mr. Purple came to “help.” They were not pleased when they kept sprawling flat but they kept gathering their legs and trying again to walk. Mr. Blue wanted to drape himself over the back of my leg while Mr. Purple just roamed around talking to me and getting in the way. Miss Pink came by to supervise. Finally they headed back to Lovely so I was able to finish the papers and then put down a sheet for traction.

Lovely obliged by going into the whelping bed (which I had changed first, so I lifted the pups in there hoping they’d continue to nurse while I changed the “old” floor section. That didn’t last long and soon I had them wandering around, complaining. They checked out the new area but all too soon came back to the old floor area where I was. I realized what they were complaining about when I finally got the light blanket down over the ramp and followed by putting the small fleece pad where Lovely jumps into and out of their area. They immediately headed to it and curled up for a nap. Already they have determination! I left them to rest.

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 rugs on top of the papers to give them traction for walking. The washing machine will go practically non-stop until they’re old enough to move outdoors to the puppy house and puppy yard.

Later, when I let Lovely 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.

They ate at least 2/3 of both their lunch and supper. I always put out more than I think they’ll eat, mainly so that there’s meat to greet them wherever they approach the bowls. Since I’m giving Lovely only 8 ounces of meat per meal (down from 1#), it doesn’t matter that the pups leave some because she’s very willing to clean it up and thus get the rest of her meal.

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

Tonight, after I cleaned the room, I took photos of their new “digs”. I even caught Miss Pink pestering Mr. Green. I then weighed them and left them for the night. Mr. Brown is now the heavyweight at 4.3#, followed by Miss Pink at 4.0#. Next were Mr. Purple at 3.9# and Mr. Blue at 3.1#. Mr. Green & Miss Gray were each 2.9#. I double-checked Miss Gray’s weight as it surprised me that Mr. Green had gained that much. He had gained a whole pound in a week, while she only gained 11.5 ounces. The meat is definitely an equalizer!

I checked ears tonight. The “cracks” seem more defined so I think they’ll be open soon.

20 Days (7/1) When I let Lovely out of the room this morning, I put down two bowls containing a total of 8 ounces of meat. Again I made sure everyone was awake and somewhat close to the bowls. As I left the room, Miss Pink and Miss Gray already had their heads down, eating. I crated Lovely after her thirty-minute rotation so that the ups had an hour with the food. When I put her back in the room, they had cleaned up one bowl but hardly touched the other, which makes me think that some ate while the others were uninterested.

I then changed papers and pads, doing the big fleece pad first since they were out in the main area. Then I lifted them into the whelping bed and convinced Lovely to go there to help keep them out of the way while I did the floor. It only worked partially, as Mr. Blue and Mr. Green sought me out and Mr. Blue draped himself over the back of my leg while Mr. Green curled around my arm so that I couldn’t move for a bit. Both boys wagged their tails as they interacted with me – the first I’ve seen. Eventually I had to disengage and finish the job as it’s again supposed to be warm and

I needed to start ball sessions so we’d finish before it was too hot for the dogs to enjoy running. Miss Pink also came to check me out but I didn’t see any tail wags from her.

I offered them another 8 ounces of meat when it was time for Lovely’s ball session. Unfortunately, we had a series of very active thunderstorms pass through so Lovely didn’t get her playtime. She did get about 40 minutes to hang out with me (and Lively) until it was time for everyone’s lunches. Meanwhile, the pups ate some, but not even half of their meat lunch.

Tonight they had an hour to eat while Lovely was away from them. I made sure everyone was awake and in the vicinity of the bowls when I put them down. I’m no longer putting Mr. Green and Mr. Blue at the bowls first. As I turned to leave, Mr. Green, Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss Gray were already at the bowls. They ate about 2/3 of their supper.

19 Days (6/30) Mr. Green only took a couple of bites of the meat this morning. His tummy was again full, so he’s obviously getting enough to eat. I’ve decided to quit the special nursing sessions.

I had “help” as I changed the fleece pads and traction cloths this morning: Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown came out of the whelping bed, where I had placed the pups after changing the big fleece pad. They were soon joined by Mr. Purple. The boys made it very difficult to get my job done, but I finally managed, then I remained kneeling and let them cuddle for a while. They are so cute right now!

As I did ball session for the big dogs, I got to thinking that now was a good time to introduce all of them to the raw meat, while they’re still in the small area so won’t be that far away from the meat bowls. Then, by the time I open up the whole room for them in a day or so, they’ll be used to finding the meat.

When it was time for Lovely’s ball session, I let her out of the room and put down 8 ounces of the raw meat cubes in 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 gave a high-pitched “Puppy, Puppy, Puppy” call as I entered the room with the meat. They learn from the beginning that coming brings rewards. I made sure all were awake and close to a bowl, only putting Mr. Green right up at the edge, then I left. After Lovely played and cooled off, I crated her rather than returning her to the whelping room, so that the pups had about an hour to investigate and eat if they wished. I was surprised, when I eventually put her in the whelping room, to find two empty bowls!

I did the same thing tonight, crating Lovely for about an hour while the pups had a chance to eat. I was surprised, when I finally put her back in, to find they had hardly eaten any of the meat. They were all asleep around the bowls so I knew they had at least known they were there. The difference was probably that they’d been nursing on her, as opposed to during the daytime when she is more interested in the other dogs going past her room out to and back from their ball sessions. We’ll try again in the morning.

18 Days (6/29) First thing when I get up, I let Lovely out in case she wants to potty outside of her special outdoor area, give her her early breakfast, check that all the pups are okay clean the room. Then I put her back in with them while I rotate out all the other dogs, letting her out with Lively when it’s Lively’s time to be out. When I offered Mr. Green the raw meat this morning, he ate with enthusiasm, taking it off my finger in small bites, chewing, swallowing and reaching for more. I think he ended up eating 3 cubes. Good boy! I put a bowl of water in the puppy area. He may not use it today, instead quenching his thirst by nursing on Lovely, but I want it there for the puppies to find before I begin feeding all of them, probably Monday. I want Mr. Green to be eating solidly enough that he’ll get to the bowl and get his fill before the others figure it out..

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 Lovely. 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.

Lovely came out with Lively for her hour afternoon rotation out of her crate and thoroughly enjoyed just being herself instead of “mom.” Just before her time was up, I took the raw meat in and offered it to Mr. Green. At first he wasn’t interested, thinking I was there to give him a special nursing session, but he soon began eating it. He’ll now take it off my finger in larger bites. He ate close to 3 cubes before he said he had enough. I put him in the new area, let Lovely into the whelping room, put Lively in her crate, got the next two dogs out (Quasi & GloryToo), then returned to do the thirty minute nursing session. Mr. Green had already crawled way back into the whelping bed and was sound asleep. He sure woke up when I picked him up, though and with Mr. Blue nursed delightedly for the entire 30 minutes. This time, when I put them back into the new area, he just collapsed where he was and was asleep before I got out the door.

Tonight he was absolutely not interested in the meat and would eat nothing. Hiss tummy was very full so I figured he’d been nursing. That was borne out when I put the two boys on Lovely for their evening nursing sessions: they barely nursed for 20 minutes before leaving her to stretch out. Before they went to sleep, I put them in with the others, then turned out the light and left them for the night.

17 Days (6/28) The pups are doing well enough that I began letting Lovely out for rotations with her “partner”, her grandmother, Lively. She is thrilled. She also got to go in the car when I had to run to the vet to pick up a prescription for Quasi and deposit a check – she was thrilled to get her cookie at the drive up.

Both boys nursed strongly at their afternoon nursing session. Mr. Blue finished first and wandered around the fleece pad we were on until he finally climbed up on me. When the thirty minutes was up, I put them back with the others and grabbed my camera. I was rewarded with shots of several of them having the primitive wrestling matches. I also got some photos of them walking well up on their legs, and of Mr. Green sitting – a first.

Both boys nursed the entire 30 minutes at their evening session.

The Velcro collars that I got recently have not been very satisfactory, the stickiness only lasting a little while, but the ones I really like, that last longer, are not currently available and similar ones don’t offer a pink collar, making me to try this particular brand. Tonight I was relieved to discover that the pups are now large enough that I can put on their first buckle collars. I had to chuckle, though because Miss Pink and Mr. Brown’s new collars already have to be taken out some, while the others’ collars fitted at their smallest option.

16 Days (6/27) This morning, when I entered the room, Mr. Purple and Mr. Brown were asleep on the floor. I’ve been wondering when they’d begin escaping the whelping bed, which is the indication that it’s time to open up half of the room for them. I returned them to the whelping bed and offered Mr. Blue and Mr. Green some raw meat diet while Lovely had her breakfast. Neither were very interested and their tummies were full, which tells me they nurse sufficiently during the night. I’ll discontinue the morning nursing session.

I then put up another 8″ board on the side where Lovely has been entering and leaving and lowered the front side to form a ramp. I put papers and a light blanket for traction over it and the floor, opened up part of the room and let the pups begin exploring. A 12″ board works nicely to define the initial space – Lovely can easily step over it to get to her water and the doggie door to go outside. I also took the pig rails out since even Mr. Green is now big enough that Lovely will notice if she lies on him – and he has good lungs and will let her know if she does! Lovely was mesmerized and watched all this so closely that I had to keep moving her out of the way in order to get everything done. She seemed to approve and checked that the pups were okay (all sleeping) while I grabbed my camera.  I took photos of their new living space and then left.

When I checked before starting the big dogs’ ball sessions, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, and Miss Pink were sound asleep on the floor on Lovely’s small fleece pad by the low gate that creates 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.

The three were still there when I opened the door for Lovely to come out for her ball session. They must have been nursing, because this time they were moving around as if looking for Lovely, who of course had jumped up as soon as she heard me coming. Then they began a little “play mouthing,” (“tasting”) and putting a paw on each other. That’s the first I’ve seen them noticing another pup other than as an obstacle to push aside in the search for a teat.

The same three were still out when I fed Lovely her lunch and again when I went in for the afternoon’s special feeding. My coming in and setting up a pad in Lovely’s “area,” and then picking up Mr. Blue, must have awakened the others, for as the two boys nursed, the other two came out and ended up stretching out in the new area. I only realized after Mr. Green and Mr. Blue were nursing that I had forgotten to bring in the raw meat so I didn’t offer that.

When I checked them in the early evening, was quiet and all six were still out in the new area, sound asleep. They adjusted to the open area extremely fast.

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.

Tonight when I went in to offer Mr. Green some of the raw meat diet, he was nursing all by himself in the whelping bed while the other pups slept on the floor. I picked him up and offered him a bit several times, but he wasn’t at all interested and even, when I placed a bit in his mouth, spit it out. I didn’t bother with Mr. Blue since he’s now heavy enough the bigger pups won’t push him aside from a teat.

Since Mr. Green obviously isn’t ready to eat, I’ll give him a break tomorrow and try again the next day. This litter is two to three days behind the last litter in development, which is understandable since they were born 4 days before Lovely’s due date. I’m thinking that Mr. Green is just going to be a smaller dog so I’m not worrying about him, just making sure he gets all the food he wants. When the breed was created, Von Stephanitz combined the best dogs from several isolated valleys in Germany. Thus we have all kinds of different genes in the breed’s gene pool and every so often a pup gets them – that’s where we get pups with such traits as heavy ear leather and ears that don’t stand up naturally, long coats, very large or very small sizes, blues, whites and so on. (One of the reasons I love breeding is because it’s fascinating to try to figure out where a pup got a certain characteristic – how many generations those genes “hid” before being expressed in it.) These pups have in their background some dogs that were small, 50-60#, and Mr. Green probably got those genes in the random mix that occurs at conception. All I’m doing is making sure he isn’t pushed away from nourishment by his larger siblings.

Mr. Green seemed irritated by my food offering and, when I put him down, marched into the far corner of the whelping bed and curled up. I had to chuckle. I decided, instead of first cleaning the bed and new area and replacing pads, that I would begin neurological exercises. I did the rest of the litter before disturbing him so he could get over his pout.

I knelt in the new area and just picked up a pup, did the exercises and then put it down. 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. All of them moved around a lot more than they have before, obviously stimulated by the additional room. They wandered around a bit before collapsing again. I did Mr. Green’s exercises and put him on the floor with them so I could change the whelping bed. Then I put all the pups in the whelping bed so I could change the papers and blankets on the floor.

When I did the stimulation exercises, Miss Gray watched me with great interest as I held her in the supine position, relaxed and trusting in my hands. Of course, she may not have been watching me exactly, but rather noticing the ceiling light, but she was sure aware. They are so cute with those big blue eyes, fuzzy bodies and smooth ears that flop out as I hold them!!!! Tonight’s neurological stimulation exercises are the last for the litter.

The small boys again got a special nursing session. They nursed vigorously for about 25 minutes and then fell asleep, so I put them in with the others (who were still crashed in the whelping bed), turned off the light and left them for the night.

Neurological Stimulation Day 14, Pups 16 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: All but Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: All but Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Green
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray
Verbalized: All but Mr. Green

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Green
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Moved off towel: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown

 

15 Days (6/26) This morning, while Lovely ate her breakfast in the kitchen, I offered the raw meat diet to the two smaller boys. I tried Mr. Green first, since he’s the smallest. I put a tiny bit of the meat on the tip of my finger and gently placed it in his mouth. He showed some interest in the meat but more in my finger as a possible nipple. I tried several times to be sure, but he isn’t quite ready to eat; he might have gotten 1/2 cube down. I put him back in the bed and tried Mr. Blue. Definite difference there! He came alive, sucked the meat off my finger and looked for more. I fed him several tiny bites (perhaps 1 cube total) and then put him back in the bed and let Lovely in with them.

People came to pick up their QQ liter pup this morning and asked if they could take a peek at the RR pups. I told them we’d try it and see if Lovely was comfortable with them seeing her pups, who are still in that helpless stage where mothers are often protective. She was fine, enjoyed visiting with them first outside the whelping room and then relaxedly let them into the whelping room. She even allowed them to hold puppies though she watched carefully yet calmly. Good mom!

I offered the two boys meat again before their afternoon nursing session. Mr. Green was more interested, actually allowing me to place a tiny bit in his mouth, chewing and swallowing it, much better than this morning when he only wanted to suck on it. I fed him about 1 cube. Mr. Blue, on the other hand, was immediately interested and even reached forward to take the meat off my finger, quickly chewing and swallowing then reaching for another bite. I gave him perhaps 1.5 cube.

They’re starting to get up on their legs in a primitive walk when they want to move a distance, rather than crawl.

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.

Both boys were more interested in the meat when I offered it tonight. Mr. Green reached for several bites while Mr. Blue was actively attacking my fingers to get the meat. I gave both about 1.5 cubes and then let Lovely in for their evening nursing session. Both filled up and crawled away from Lovely to collapse in sleep before the 30 minutes was up, so I terminated, put them in with the others, then pulled out the fleece pad so I could put in clean papers and another fleece pad. Those two remained asleep through the process but the others woke up and started moving around, noses going audible as the explored. I had to capture the first couple to do the neurological exercises. Then Lovely lay down on the soiled fleece pad and nursed them until I had taken the last one for the exercises.

After I did their neurological exercises and placed them in the whelping bed, Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Mr. Brown wandered around and ended up out on the ramp, cuddling against my legs, seeming to enjoy the cool wood. I have turned down the heater several times the last couple of days when they started burrowing under the fleece pad. I don’t like coming in to find hidden lumps in the bed – I always worry someone might suffocate or Lovely would hurt them trying to get to them. I figure it’s because they’re too hot and seek the papers which are cool. They now have enough body mass to generate heat, though they still can’t regulate their body temperature.

I trimmed toenails after I finished the exercises. All the pups were pretty tired and mellow so I had no problems.

I decided the two smaller boys are doing well enough that I no longer need to weigh them every night.

Neurological Stimulation Day 13, Pups 15 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray
Verbalized: Mr. Blue

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: ALL

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: All but Mr. Brown
Moved off towel: Mr. Brown

see more details and photos of pups 14 – 27 days old

14 Days (6/25) This morning, when I pulled out the fleece pad and pups 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. This time it was Mr. Brown who climbed up on the back of my legs as I changed papers and fleece pad in the whelping box.

The two boys nursed vigorously at all three special nursing sessions today.

All eyes are pretty much open now. Tonight, as usual, I pulled out the soiled fleece pad and pups so I could clean the whelping bed. Usually they snooze through the whole process, but tonight they moved around a lot, several getting onto the cool linoleum floor and one, Miss Gray, climbed up onto the two small fleece pads that I used for the special nursing sessions (to give the boys traction as they push to nurse) that I piled out of the way while I cleaned.

The pups who were relaxed during the supine part of the neurological exercises spent the time gazing into my face as I counted 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005. That was Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Gray and Miss Pink, though I must say Miss Pink seemed to be glaring at me more than just watching me. Of course at this age they can’t see anything very definite – more masses of dark as opposed to light, but she did seem to have some expression. It must have relaxed her though because she was quite relaxed on the cold towel on the next exercise.

Top gainers today, 3.5 ounces, were Mr. Brown (3.1#) and Mr. Purple (2.7#). Next, gaining 2.5 ounces, was Mr. Green (1.9#)! Mr. Blue (2.0#) gained 2 ounces, Miss Gray (2.2#) gained 1 ounce and Miss Pink (2.8#) stayed the same.

Neurological Stimulation Day 12, Pups 14 days old

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

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Squirmed: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown
Verbalized: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Green
Verbalized: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Moved off towel: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray

 

13 Days (6/24) After the morning special nursing session, as I was changing the papers and fleece pad in the whelping bed, I felt a furry body climbing on the back of my leg as I knelt. It was Miss Gray, who had left the old fleece pad that I had pulled out onto the floor to explore my body. I checked her eyes, since they hadn’t been open much last night and I didn’t expect her to be so exploratory, but they were still just open a tiny bit. They obviously were open enough for her to see me.

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’ll take it down to be copied tomorrow and mail the packets as soon as possible.

Miss Pink (now2.8#) gained 3 ounces, while Mr. Blue (29.5#) gained 2.5 ounces. Mr. Brown (2.9#) & Mr. Purple (2.6#) gained 2 ounces, and Miss Gray (2.2#) & Mr. Green (1.7#) gained 1.5 ounces.
Mr. Brown & Mr. Green joined Miss Pink in having their eyes totally open. The others’ eyes are about half open.

Neurological Stimulation Day 11, Pups 13 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: All but Mr. Green
Squirmed: Mr. Green

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: All but Mr. Green
Squirmed: Mr. Green

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Green, Miss pink
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Green, Miss Pink

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Moved off towel: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Miss Pink

 

12 Days (6/23) My day was interrupted with activities so I only got two special nursing sessions today.

Tonight Miss Pink’s eyes were mostly open, while eyes were half open on Mr. Brown and Mr. Green. Everyone else’s eyes were opening but are still just slits.

Mr. Brown gained a whopping 4.5 ounces and now weighs 2.8#. Mr. Green and Mr. Purple gained 3.5 ounces and now weigh 1.6# and 2.4# respectively. Miss Pink (now 2.6#) and Mr. Blue (now 1.7#) gained 2 ounces. Miss Gray (now 2.1#) gained 1.5 ounces.

Neurological Stimulation Day 10, Pups 12 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Gray
Verbalized: Miss Gray

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Blue
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: ALL

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Pink
Moved off towel: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green

 

11 Days (6/22) They’re getting up on their legs really well and trying to walk, though not having much luck so far. Tonight, when I went in to do the last special nursing session and neurological exercises, I found Miss Gray curled up on the floor. She evidently hadn’t let go of a teat when Lovely stepped out of the bed.

I continue to give the boys special thirty-minute nursing sessions each day. They’re growing nicely but still so much smaller than the biggest ones that I fear they can be knocked off teats and not get enough to eat. Once they turn 2 weeks on Wednesday I’ll start offering them the raw meat diet instead.

We’ve scheduled the Search & Rescue temperament test for Saturday, August 3rd, at 9 a.m. I’m still trying to get the police/narcotics test scheduled.

When I did the neurological stimulation exercises tonight, I noticed their eyes are opening.  Miss Pink’s eyes are about half open, while everyone else’s eyes are open a slit. Miss Pink stuck her nose straight up and howled during the “Head Held Erect” exercise. It was funny! On the other exercises she just yelled as usual.

Mr. Blue gained 2 ounces so he has now doubled his birth weight, making all of the litter pass this major landmark in development. Miss Pink and Mr. Brown gained 3 ounces, while Mr. Blue & Mr. Green gained 2.5 ounces. Miss Gray & Mr. Purple gained 1.5 ounces. They now range from 1.4# (Mr. Green) to 2.5# (Miss Pink & Mr. Brown). Mr. Blue is 1.6#, Miss Gray is 2.0# and Mr. Purple is 2.2#.

Neurological Stimulation Day 9, Pups 11 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Miss Gray
Verbalized: Miss Pink

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Miss Pink (howled)

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Moved off towel: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green

 

10 Days (6/21) Usually about this age I begin reducing the temperature in the whelping box, but we keep having VERY strange weather so I haven’t. Today we had a vicious wind for hours and three separate rains. I kept checking the pups and, when they seemed to be making more puppy piles (to get warm) than just staying in a bunch when Lovely left them after a nursing session, I even turned the heater UP a bit. They need a consistently warm environment in order to thrive since they can’t regulate their body temperature until they’re at least 21 days old.

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

Their eyes are becoming more defined and look like they’re about ready to open a tiny slit. Some litters will take up to 14 days to open their eyes.

The boys again nursed vigorously in all three of their thirty-minute special sessions.

Weights tonight:  Mr. Brown & Mr. Purple gained 3.5 ounces. Miss Gray gained 3 ounces. Mr. Blue and Miss Pink gained 1.5 ounces, while Mr. Green gained 1 ounce. They now range from 1.2# (Mr. Green) to 2.3# pounds (Mr. Brown & Miss Pink).

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.

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.

Neurological Stimulation Day 8, Pups 10 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue
Squirmed: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Pink
Verbalized: ALL

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Miss Pink

 

9 Days (6/20) I again gave the boys three special nursing sessions, though I think Mr. Blue (at 21 ounces) is past the need for it. But Mr. Green is not as vigorous at nursing yet and is still significantly smaller than the large pups (18 ounces vs. 35 ounces) and I’ll continue his nursing sessions until I can begin giving him some of the raw meat diet. Since I’m doing him, I may as well let Mr. Blue have the extra help.

Top gainer tonight was Mr. Purple, who gained 3 ounces. Interestingly, everyone else gained 2.5 ounces. Miss Yellow is now 2# 3.5 ounces, followed by Mr. Brown at 2# 1 ounce. Next come Mr. Blue at 1# 14 ounces, Miss Gray at 1# 11 ounces, Mr. Blue at 1# 5 ounces and Mr. Green at 1# 2.5 ounces. The new scale will give results in pounds so I’ll begin using that option tomorrow.

Neurological Stimulation Day 7, Pups 9 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Miss Gray, Miss Green, Miss Pink
Struggled then settled: Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink
Moved off towel: Miss Pink

 

8 Days (6/19) All six have survived the critical first week. Hurrah!!

The boys again nursed vigorously for nearly 30 minutes at their morning and evening special sessions. They were not as hungry at the afternoon session, falling asleep after about 20 minutes.

My new scale arrived tonight. Even with the question about how correct birth weights were on the old scale, it looks like Mr. Brown and Miss Pink have now doubled their weight, each having gained 3 ounces from last night. Mr. Brown is now 30.5 ounces while Miss Pink is 33.0 ounces. Mr. Purple had also gained 3 ounces and weighs 27 ounces now. Miss Gray had gained 2.5 ounces and now weighs 25.5 ounces. It showed losses for the other two: Mr. Blue down 1.5 ounce to 18.5 ounces and Mr. Green down 1 ounce to 16.0 ounces. Since both those boys are nursing well and definitely feel heavier when I pick them up, I’m not worried but will continue the three special feeding sessions tomorrow and then see what they weigh tomorrow night. They also showed more spirit during the neurological exercises tonight.

Neurological Stimulation Day 6, Pups 8 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Miss Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Verbalized: ALL

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Moved off towel: Miss Pink

 

7 Days (6/18) The mall pups didn’t need their entire 30 minutes to get full today, a good sign. They nursed for about 25 minutes at the morning and afternoon sessions, and only 15 minutes at the evening session.

After the afternoon nursing session, I finally got their toenails trimmed. That was a battle. The two small males are even squirmier than the others. The only one who didn’t wiggle and protest and try to climb up me was Miss Gray.

I needed to loosen collars since the pups are growing rapidly, so I decided to just put on clean collars and take photos. Miss Pink and Mr. Blue were the only ones who tried to walk during their photo sessions. The rest pretty much stayed where I put them and complained.
Tonight I again weighed the pups after I did the neurological stimulation exercises. Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green and Miss Pink gained 3 ounces, while Miss Gray and Mr. Purple stayed the same weight.

Neurological Stimulation Day 5, Pups 7 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: ALL

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Squirmed: Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Miss Pink

 

6 Days (6/17) I noticed today that Lovely 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 check pups. She’s starting to enjoy her time away from them. 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.

The boys again got their 3 private thirty-minute nursing sessions. Tonight both filled up and fell asleep after 22 minutes, a good sign that they’re getting enough nursing in between these sessions.

The fleece pad was soiled, and the newspapers under it had several damp spots, when I changed them tonight. The pups are now able to potty on their own – without depending on Lovely to lick them to stimulate urination and defecation.  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 Gray, Miss Pink and Mr. Purple had gained 3 ounces. Mr. Blue and Mr. Green had gained 2 ounces, while Mr. Brown had gained 1 ounce.

Neurological Stimulation Day 4, Pups 6 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Miss Gray, Mr. Purple
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Brown

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray
Struggled then settled: Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Miss Gray
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue, Mr. Purple
Struggled then settled: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Miss Pink
Verbalized: Miss Pink Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Mr. Brown

5 Days (6/16) Both boys nursed vigorously at their three thirty-minute nursing sessions. They actually fell full when I picked them up for each session, a great sign they’re nursing successfully without help.

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 Pink and Mr. Brown had gained 4 ounces while Mr. Blue and Mr. Purple gained 3 ounces. Miss Gray had gained 2 ounces while Mr. Green gained 1ounce.

Neurological Stimulation Day 3, Pups 5 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Purple
Struggled then settled: Miss Gray
Squirmed: Mr. Brown
Verbalized: Mr. Brown

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Brown

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Blue
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Blue
Struggled then settled: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Miss Gray, Mr. Green
Verbalized: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Miss Gray

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

 

4 Days (6/15) I again gave the two boys private thirty-minute nursing sessions this morning and this afternoon. They nursed enthusiastically, and Mr. Green easily found the nipple each time he was dislodged! He is also getting more ambitious and going for the higher nipples (as she lies on her side), which he wasn’t doing before. Mr. Blue has been aiming high for the last two days. Lovely has finally realized she’s getting 3 thirty-minute loving sessions daily while the two small boys nurse. She has decided that she likes that and is lying quietly, not changing position very often any more.

Tonight when I went in for their evening session, lo and behold the two boys were nursing all by themselves while their siblings slept. No need for me to bring them out of the bed for their session, so I left and did a couple of things. When I returned with Lovely’s supper, they were still nursing but fell asleep as soon as she got up, which told me they were nice and full. I didn’t worry about a nursing session but changed the bedding, did their neurological exercises, weighed them and put everyone to bed.

My scale claims that Miss Pink gained 4 ounces, while Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown and Miss Gray gained 3. Mr. Purple stayed the same (he had supposedly gained 5 ounces the day before) and Mr. Green gained 2 ounces.

While doing the neurological stimulation, I noted the pups need their toenails trimmed. I’ll do that tomorrow.  

Neurological Stimulation Day 2, Pups 4 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Struggled Vigorously: Miss Gray
Squirmed: Mr. Brown

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Brown, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Miss Gray

3. Head pointed down
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Miss Pink
Squirmed: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Relaxed: Mr. Green
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown
Struggled then settled: Mr. Blue
Squirmed: Miss Gray, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Miss Pink

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Mr. Brown

See detailed, illustrated explanation of the neurological stimulation exercises

3 Days (6/14) 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 Lovely 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 was content to eat her breakfast (raw meat diet) in the living room rather than insisting on it being brought into the whelping room. I had put her supper in the whelping room with her last night after the last nursing session. I was surprised to find she hadn’t eaten it, and then relieved that she ate her breakfast.

After I rotated the big dogs out for potty/play/breakfast, I headed to the whelping room to give the pups their special nursing session. Last night about all I could really tell from my messed up weight chart was that Miss Pink, Miss Gray and Mr. Brown were definitely gaining. Mr. Purple didn’t look like he had, so I got him out with Mr. Blue & Mr. Green for the nursing session so I could make sure he’s eating well. All three pups nursed vigorously for nearly 30 minutes. Mr. Green again would actively search for a nipple when he fell off, so I’m beginning to relax about him. Having only five siblings to compete with, the two smaller ones should be able to hold their own and manage to find one of the eight nipples, but I’ll continue the special feeding sessions to be sure they gain weight.

With Mr. Purple nursing just fine, I returned to doing the special nursing sessions only for the two small ones. Both nursed strongly for 30 minutes during both the afternoon and evening sessions.

Since the mowing took me until the dogs’ lunch times, Lovely didn’t get her ball session this morning. When I returned from a nosework training session, I fed the other dogs their supper and, while they ate, gave Lovely her playtime. 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. Tonight she was quite content to stay away from her pups that extra time. She also stayed out a few minutes each time I let her out during the day. She’s a little different from my usual mother dogs in that she’s not quite as fixated with them but is already asking for breaks and attention. Usually that doesn’t start until they’re a week old.

After I changed the bedding this evening, I did the first day’s stimulation tests. It will be interesting to see if any pups consistently respond to a test in the same way, so I made a chart. I also noticed, for the first time, that Mr. Blue has a tiny spot of white on his chest.

After I did each pup’s exercises, I weighed them before putting them into the whelping bed. At least Mr. Purple showed a gain so I’ll quit worrying about him. Mr. Brown and Mr. Green also had gained, but the one who is most vigorous and seems fattest and heaviest (Miss Pink), supposedly lost an ounce. I suspect my scale is no longer reliable so I’ll order a new one in the morning.

Neurological Stimulation Day 1, Pups 3 days old

1. Tactical stimulation
Relaxed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Green, Mr. Purple

2. Head held erect
Relaxed: Miss Gray, Miss Pink
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple

3. Head pointed down
Struggled Vigorously: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green Miss Pink
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Purple

4. Supine position
Struggled then settled: Mr. Brown
Squirmed: Mr. Blue, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Miss Pink, Mr. Purple
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Miss Gray, Mr. Green, Mr. Purple

5. Thermal stimulation
Squirmed: ALL
Verbalized: Mr. Brown, Mr. Purple

 

2 Days (6/13) All was peaceful first thing this morning when I checked the family. The pups were all together and the bed was comfortably warm. I let Lovely out to potty and then fed her breakfast and left her while I rotated out the dogs who had spent the night in their crates.

When I went in to give the two small boys their nursing session, I remembered that I had decided to give Mr. Yellow one, too, since he hadn’t gained yesterday. I got Mr. Blue & Mr. Green out, put them on the fleece pad in the room and then knelt to reach in for Mr. Yellow. I got a surprise when I picked him up – he looked awful. He was gasping and his face was cold. He had been in a group first thing this morning so I hadn’t noticed any problem, but it was obvious now. I was very glad that the other two began nursing strongly and Lovely lay quiet, so I could work on Mr. Yellow. I massaged and stimulated him but didn’t feel I was helping any. He also was throwing up some clotted milk, which would mean he hadn’t digested his last meal – that goes with being chilled and distressed. I kept checking the other pups, especially when Lovely moved, but both nursed strongly. I was very pleased to see Mr. Green enthusiastically searching for a teat when he fell off. He definitely acted like he knew what he was doing and was going full out to fill his tummy. What a relief. When both he and Mr. Blue were full, I put the three pups back into the whelping box. I made sure that Mr. Yellow was in a huddle of pups and turned up the heater a little bit. Can’t turn it up a lot or the others get too hot and then Lovely will start rolling up the fleece pad to get to the cooler floor.

I then went out to start ball sessions. I checked on him after the first session and he was worse. I put the heating pad down and put him on it, covering him with the extra part of the pillow case the heating pad is in. When I checked on him after Lively’s ball session, he was dead. It’s not unusual to lose pups at birth or in the week after birth, when things that go wrong in development come to light after the pup is no longer nourished through the placenta but is breathing and eliminating. It doesn’t happen often, but at least keeping close watch over them during that first critical week, weighing them each day to be sure that they were nursing properly and getting enough milk to grow, helps keep preventable deaths from occurring.

It was interesting that Mr. Blue had found the heating pad and was on it. Was it an accident or did her remember from being born, since I put it in the same place? I left it, rather than picking it up when I removed Mr. Yellow.

That also makes me wonder. Tuesday night when we were whelping, Lovely a couple of times picked up Mr. Green and placed him in that corner with the heating pad. At the time I was worried that she was rejecting him. They’ll do that, push or place a pup away from the others. I’ve wondered since then, but especially again last night as I changed the pad in the whelping bed, because she picked Mr. Green up and was trying to put him back in the whelping bed. Sometimes you really wonder what’s actually going through their minds. Is a certain action an accident, or is it part of the nurturing care of a mother for her pups?

Lovely gladly came out for her ball session and got some good exercise.

This afternoon when I let the little guys nurse, Mr. Green was all afire. He latched onto a nipple and began pushing with his feet and tugging so hard that he popped off a couple of times. He has this figured out now. Mr. Blue nursed enthusiastically but managed to hold onto his teat. They nursed for nearly 30 minutes.

Last thing tonight I changed the bedding in the whelping box and weighed the pups. I discovered that my baby scale was way off and, like an idiot, adjusted it before weighing the pups (I was really tired by that time). So now I don’t have a comparison of weights from last night to check for gains. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to be able to check, though all seem to be nursing strongly and are quiet.

After I changed the bedding I gave Mr. Blue & Mr. Green another nursing session. Mr. Blue went to town, but Mr. Green wasn’t interested. His tummy was full so I’m assuming he had just been nursing. When I entered the room, all six obviously had been in a pile and were squirming and complaining as if they’d been nursing when she leapt up to greet me.

Tomorrow I begin doing the neurological stimulations.  Here’s what the stimulations involve:

Methods of Stimulation

The U.S. Military in their canine program developed a method that still serves as a guide to what works. In an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called “Bio Sensor” was developed. Later, it became known to the public as the “Super Dog” Program. Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the individual.

The “Bio Sensor” program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized six exercises which were designed to stimulate the neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in order of preference, the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:

1. Tactical stimulation (between toes)
Holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds.

2. Head held erect
Using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds.

3. Head pointed down
Holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds

4. Supine position
Hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

5. Thermal stimulation
Use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

These five exercises will produce neurological stimulations, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. Experience shows that sometimes pups will resist these exercises,
others will appear unconcerned. In either case a caution is offered to those who plan to use them.

These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected, the result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance. Those who play with their pups and routinely handle them should continue to do so because the neurological exercises are not substitutions for routine handling, play socialization or bonding.

Benefits of Stimulation
Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises. The benefits noted were:

1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
2. Stronger heart beats,
3. Stronger adrenal glands,
4. More tolerance to stress, and
5. Greater resistance to disease.

In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non- stimulated littermates over which they were dominant in competitive situations.
Secondary effects were also noted regarding test performance. In simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, whined a great
deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions and when comparisons were made, the stimulated littermates were more calm in
the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only an occasional distress sound when stressed.
from “Early Neurological Stimulation, Methods of Stimulation” by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia

see more details and photos of pups 1 – 13 days old

1 Day (6/12) After the pups had had a chance to recover from the stress of birth, I took Lovely 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. The exercise stimulates the uterus to clean out any left-over fluids and begin contracting back to a more normal size.

At noon I placed a fleece pad on the floor, got Lovely to lie down, and gave the two small pups – Mr. Blue and Mr. Green – an individual nursing session. Mr. Blue nursed strongly on one teat the entire time, but Mr. Green was dislodged when Lovely moved and had a hard time finding his again. I did another session at 4 p.m. and neither male was extremely interested though both did nurse some.

Lovely is VERY proud of her family. She just glows. I left the family alone most 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.

I gave the two small males another nursing session tonight. Mr. Blue continues to nurse strongly. I noticed that Mr. Green does well until Lovely moves, usually stretching to get more comfortable. He’ll go flying and struggle to right himself, then seems to think it’s too much work to search for a teat again. After that happened the first time, I decided to see if I could help him stay connected while at the same time continuing to teach Lovely that during these special nursing sessions she needs to lie flat on her side and cuddle with me, not moving. She tends to want to jump up if I move my own position even a tiny bit. I also moved him to one of the middle nipples as opposed to the more-easily-productive back ones which put him on top of or against her back leg, vulnerable when she moves it. Once he attached and began nursing, I cupped my hand around him so I could hold him in place if Lovely moved. He nursed and nursed and nursed. And the one time he let go, he eagerly sought for the nipple, reengaged and nursed more. I got the feeling he was just learning now how to search for a nipple when he lost it. I used one hand to support him and the other to pet Lovely so she’d begin to enjoy these sessions, too. When both pups finished nursing, I put them back in the whelping bed, pulled the pups and fleece pad out onto the floor and changed papers and fleece pad.

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. 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.

After I changed the bedding, I weighed the pups as I put them back into the bed. All but Mr. Yellow had gained 3 ounces! Mr. Yellow had stayed the same. That’s not unusual; in fact, many will drop weight the first day, both from the stress of birth and because it takes a while for both the pups and the first-time mom to get into a good nursing routine. 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 add Mr. Yellow to the individual nursing sessions tomorrow so I can observe him.

When 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:

Man for centuries has tried various methods to improve performance. Some of the Methods have stood the test of time, others have not. Those who first conducted research on this topic believed that the period of early age was a most important time for stimulation because of its rapid growth and development. Today, we know that early life is a time when the physical immaturity of an organism is susceptible and responsive to a restricted but important class of stimuli. Because of its importance many studies have focused their efforts on the first few months of life.

Newborn pups are uniquely different from adults in several respects. When born, their eyes are closed and their digestive system has a limited capacity requiring periodic stimulation by their dam who routinely licks them in order to promote digestion. At this age they are only able to smell, suck, and crawl. Body temperature is maintained by snuggling close to their mother or by crawling into piles with other littermates. During these first few weeks of immobility, researchers noted that these immature and under-developed canines are sensitive to a restricted class of stimuli which includes thermal and tactile stimulation, motion and locomotion.

Other mammals such as mice and rats are also born with limitations, and they also have been found to demonstrate a similar sensitivity to the effects of early stimulation.  Studies show that removing them from their nest for three minutes each day during the first five to ten days of life causes body temperatures to fall below normal. This mild form of stress is sufficient to stimulate hormonal, adrenal and pituitary systems. When tested later as adults, these same animals were better able to withstand stress than littermates who were not exposed to the same early stress exercises. As adults, they responded to stress in “a graded” fashion, while their non-stressed littermates responded in an “all or nothing way.”

Data involving laboratory mice and rats also shows that stress in small amounts can produce adults who respond maximally.
from “Early Neurological Stimulation, Introduction” by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia

Lovely entered the whelping box as I weighed pups and put them back in it. As soon as all were quiet and against her side – the other five nursing while the two smaller ones, replete from their nursing session, content to cuddle against her, I left them for the night.

Prep

6/8 I cleaned the whelping room, set up the whelping bed, added what newspaper strips I had left over from whelping the QQ 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 Lovely’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 100.2.

She totally refused any kibble today so I will increase her raw meat. She has been getting 1# of the raw meat diet in the morning and 1/2# at lunch and supper, placed over some kibble. 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.

6/9 Morning temperature was 100.0. Her temperature at bedtime was 101.7.

I began giving her 1# of raw meat diet at each of her three meals. 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.

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. Lovely hasn’t started nesting yet but I’m still keeping her in sight.

Lovely 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.

6/10 Morning temperature was 100.1.

I found it interesting that, unlike al my other moms-to-be, at this stage she hadn’t 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. When I got them, I cut out a big hole in one side, 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. Lovely didn’t check a one.

The x-ray to determine how many pups to look for was 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.

The vet said she saw 9 pups. Poor Lovely, who normally weighs 77 pounds, weighed 99 pounds. That’s a gain of 22 pounds! No wonder she’s miserable!
Her temperature at bedtime was 100.4.

6/11  Birth Morning temperature was 99.3. I began to really watch her. This morning, although her temperature at 99.3 was nearing the “watch closely” point, Lovely ate breakfast and had a normal ball session. I had to take the QQ litter for their second distemper/parvo shot this afternoon, so I put Lovely, with her lunch, in the whelping room while I was gone. I brought the pups back and then had an appointment so I just left her in there. She wasn’t happy, feeling left out, but usually as soon as I leave they quiet down and rest.

When I got home, I let her out. I noticed she hadn’t eaten her lunch but thought she didn’t want to eat alone (she’s used to eating in her crate as all the other dogs eat in their crates). I decided to let her hang out for 30 minutes and then crate her with her lunch to eat as I sat on the bed and read.

I thought it strange that she was still agitated, panting and restless, after I sat down and started reading the paper. Instead of calming down, she got more agitated and I was just thinking maybe we’d better move to the whelping room in case she was going into pre-labor (a lot of panting and restlessness that often goes on for a couple of hours), when she jumped up and there was a puppy! On my bed. What a mess! I grabbed it and called her and we sprinted to the whelping room. Lively, Lovely’s grandmother and playmate, was quite excited and I had to dodge her. Lovely by this time was VERY agitated. It was just a LITTLE Western there for a while.

I got her into the whelping bed and tried to put the puppy with her but she was jumping up and down and really rough with it – the mothering instinct hadn’t kicked in because she hadn’t gone through the normal pre-labor where the hormones really get moving.

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 put down my foam pad and sat down, and as I calmed down, so did Lovely, although she still wouldn’t let the pup nurse. He was small, only 10 ounces, so I was a little concerned that he wasn’t able to nurse right away and get some strength. But that also explained why she had him so quickly and with no warning. They’re usually 16 ounces. I put a blue collar on him. He looks like a bicolor.

I usually wait to weigh a newborn. I wait to weigh and put on the collar until Lovely 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 Lovely licks them so vigorously she can definitely remove a collar.

At 5:58, Lovely had a large (16 oz) black female. I put a pink collar on her. After she was born, Lovely’s hormones must have kicked in, as well as the mothering instinct, because she really settled down and let the two pups try to nurse. That’s always a big relief. I really had to watch her as she didn’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 she was. I love an easy whelper but they make my job harder since they don’t do enough moving around to notify me another pup is coming.

About that time, I remembered I hadn’t gotten my camera out, so I left the whelping room to get it. When I came back, she had just had another bicolor male, who turned out to be 15 ounces. I put a brown collar on him and put his birth at 6:30.

At 7 I left to feed the big dogs. Upon my return, she greeted me with another bicolor male. He was tiny like the first one, only 9 ounces. I put a lime green collar on him and set his birth at 7:17.

At 8:21 she had another large female, a bicolor that I put a gray collar on. She weighed 15 ounces.

Then Lovely took a break, actually napping while the pups nursed. When she went a little over 2 hours from the last pup, I decided to take her out to potty and get her moving around a little, to get the kinks out of her muscles and refresh her. I had the whelping room door open and was calling her to come out when she stood up, humped her back and had a huge contraction. By the time I shut the door and came inside the room, she had delivered another bicolor male. Mr. Purple weighed 15 ounces. He was really vigorous and started trying to push his way to a teat through the other puppies. He soon found room and the family settled down to rest.

At 12:30 I gave Lovely an oxytocin shot to induce contractions so we could safely get the last three pups on the ground. At 12:33 she had another male, a bicolor. I gave him a yellow collar. He weighed 15 ounces.

About 1 a.m. she asked to go out to potty so I took her out, closing gates so she had only a small area and it was a lit by my outdoor light. It’s always possible they could have a puppy in the process, but she didn’t – just peed a lot – then came back in to her family.

At 2:14 I gave her another oxytocin shot. When it had no effect, I called my vet, who said to give her another one, which I did at 2:55. He told me, that if that shot produced no contractions, to give another one after 15 minutes. I gave the shot at 3:17. Other than passing some blood left over from whelping, she had no reaction so I called the vet again at 3:45. We decided I’d take her in for an x-ray to see what was going on, so I packed the pups in a box with a heating pad and headed to the clinic.

My vet had trouble getting the x-ray machine to come on. Yesterday a lot of Sheridan County was without power for about 45 minutes after a large bull snake climbed up into equipment at one of the substations and shorted everything out. That wreaks havoc with all the high-tech equipment and we sure suffered from that, as it took a good 30 minutes to get the machine up and running. Lovely was pretty good about waiting though she really wanted to climb into the box to care for her puppies. I pushed aside the towel covering them and she counted and cleaned them, naturally waking them up in the process so that they complained and she wanted even more to get to them. We survived with the box intact, though, and soon the x-ray showed no puppies left in the womb. Dr. Mark then looked at the x-rays that Dr. Cindy took Monday and he could only see 7 pups. I thought Dr. Cindy had shown me 9 heads and spines, but I wasn’t very close to the monitor as I was keeping Lovely quiet on the x-ray table which will move around if anything thrashes around on top.

It was 5 a.m., getting daylight, when I got home with the family. It took me until 6 to clean out the whelping bed, scrub and dry it, then put down newspapers and a big fleece pad and get the pups settled in their new home. The pad will wick any moisture away from the pups onto the newspapers below, keeping them warm and dry. Lovely 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. Once they were quiet and Lovely was resting, I began rotating the big dogs out of their crates to potty and have breakfast. Once that was done, about 8 a.m., I stretched out beside the whelping box and napped lightly while listening for any pup to complain that it had rolled away from mom and was lost. I only had to put Mr. Greenback, one time only, so the pups did super well. I then moved to my own bed and took a real nap.

 

Celhaus German Shepherds

4817 Big Horn Ave
Sheridan, WY  82801
celhaus@fiberpipe.net

Nu-Vet for Health
nuvet

Click for more information on Nu-Vet

The NuVet people had tried to recruit me for their breeder program for several years but it wasn’t until I was getting frustrated at my inability to get a soft, shiny coat on Quasi that I decided to try their products. I finally told the NuVet people I would never recommend any product without trying it first, and that I’d like to try their NuVet Plus on Quasi. They sent a free two-month supply and at the end of the trial period I was seeing enough improvement that I signed up for their breeder program.   [READ MORE]