SS Litter Diary
Whelped April 30th:  1 black and tan male, 3 black and tan females, 2 black females
This litter is all sold.  See plans for the next litters.

Mr. Blue went to Billings to compete in obedience, rally, nosework and barn hunt and to get Canine Good citizen titles.  His new owner was so impressed that she is now considering herding, too.  Miss White stayed here in Sheridan and will be a therapy dog working with the nursing home residents.  Miss Green also stayed here in Sheridan and will be a companion and fishing buddy.  Miss Pink went to Seattle where she will be a therapy dog in children’s hospitals and also train for cadaver work (Search & Rescue).  Miss Purple went to Wisconsin to compete in obedience and possibly Schutzhund.  I kept Miss Yellow.  She is a breeding prospect,  will compete in agility and nosework, and be a therapy dog.  

See the Search & Rescue Test Results

See the SS litter during Week 3
See the SS litter during Week 4

Newer entries are placed on top of this page; scroll down for earlier entries.

58 Days (6/28)  I was up at 5 a.m. to feed the puppies so Miss Purple had time to digest and play before leaving on her life’s adventure.  Kathy & Steve arrived about 6:40 a.m. and left with Miss Purple soon afterwards.  I have a VERY sad puppy left.  Miss Yellow had had a sibling with her all her life, so she had to deal with a BIG change.  GloryToo and I walked around, filling bird feeders, for a bit, after which she was tired.  I brought her into the house and put her in her crate for a bit with a stuffed toy and a bone, praising her each time I walked past the crate and giving her a treat.  She soon napped.  When I finished rotating all the big dogs out of their crates for potty time, breakfast and loving, I was ready to begin ball sessions.  I let her out of her crate and she came out with Berakah and Hesed.  They pretty much ignored her, being intent on chasing the ball. 

After their ball session, I always do poop detail in all the “big dog” yards.  I use a bucket, spatula and shovel, and drag the shovel as I wander around looking for poop.  She had a blast chasing the shovel, pouncing on it and being dragged along with it.  This first ball session in the morning usually lasts about 45 minutes, so she got lots of exercise and was diverted from missing Miss Purple.  She was ready for a nap afterwards, and content in her crate while I did Spirit’s and then Lively’s ball sessions.

Then it was GloryToo’s turn.  Miss Yellow was ready to play and enjoyed the two soft toys and ball that I took out with us.  I took photos so that I can email some to the activity directors of both nursing homes.  Due to the pandemic, the puppies weren’t able to visit so they don’t know Miss Yellow.  Photos will help them brainstorm possible call names for her.  They will print the photos and display them for the residents.

Miss Yellow was then quite happy to nap in her crate while I did Mercy’s, Lovely’s and Cantor’s ball sessions.  By the time we finished, it was raining and cool – great weather for a nap.  I put her, with her lunch, in the puppy house and she slept most of the afternoon.

This evening I played retrieve in the house with her.  She brought the ball to me several times before deciding to just play, play, play with GloryToo and me.  Tired out, a quick trip out to potty (she is pottying on command), and she rested quietly in her crate until bedtime.  I took her out to potty just before hitting the sheets, and she slept all night.  She didn’t move until the big dogs told me it was time to get up at 5 a.m.  What a good puppy! 

This finishes the diary for the SS litter.  All further news will be put on the SS litter’s page on my website, which will be up in a day or two.   I’m already receiving lots of photos of the pups in their new homes. 

57 Days (6/27)  It’s supposed to be in the mid-nineties today so we were moving early.  I had hoped to get all the ball sessions finished before Kathy & Steve arrived, but as the day heated up, I slowed down.  The pups did, too.  When it they came out with GloryToo, they were content just to chew on their toys under my chair.  GloryToo didn’t want to run after the ball, either.

About 1 p.m., I was heading out with Lovely for her ball session when Kathy and Steve arrived.  Their motel room wasn’t quite ready, so Steve stayed in the car with Rudi (Lovely’s son from the RR litter) to be sure he was cool enough while Kathy came in and did paperwork. We brought the pups in for just a few minutes so she could meet her new “Ava,” then they left. 

They came back about 7:30.  Even though it was still 93, the strength of the sun was waning and it was comfortable enough in the shade that Rudi could sit in the car while Steve got to meet Ava.  We took the pups to the obstacle run so they could show Kathy and Steve how they can now run it very fast.  Then we brought them in and let them play and visit for a while. 

I put them back in the yard (they were not happy to leave the AC!) and then got to see Rudi.  He sure looks like his mother.  What a sweet pup. The RR litter just turned a year old and he’s obviously a teenager – long and lean – but is going to be a very handsome boy.  They then left and I fed the pups and left them to rest before the big day tomorrow, when Miss Purple leaves on her adventure and Miss Yellow moves into the house and begins to learn our routine.

56 Days (6/26)  Miss Yellow did super well at agility class.  She is already responding to my “Go potty” request on leash and did so before we entered the building.  Of course the puppies as a group know that command when we go outside, but this is a different place, she’s alone, and she’s on leash.  Sometimes any one of those will make a pup forget what it knows to do at home.

She walked nicely on leash into the building, listening for me to click that she was doing well and looking for the resulting treat.  She happily visited with the instructor and other students.  One of them asked to hold her and she thought that was just fine.  While that was going on, one of the other students walked her dog in and Miss Yellow very calmly watched her and even leaned forward to get a better look.  When Vicki put her down, Miss Yellow even went up to the dog’s crate and touched noses before following me to “her” crate.  It’s bigger than the puppy crate and the elevated bed is higher.  She looked carefully at it and then stepped right in and settled down.

She was very curious, watching all the activity.  When she started to cry a bit, I waited until she stopped and frequently gave her treats, each time saying, “Good Quiet.”

She started to cry when I took Mercy out to run her, but our instructor, Jodi, walked over to her crate and fed her treats, all the time praising her, “Good Quiet,” when she was quiet, so she learned a new word this morning. 

After that, she was very good when others were coming and going, and I kept reinforcing the “Good Quiet” with treats.  Mercy, of course, got treats too, and thought it was great.  By the third time I ran Mercy, Miss yellow waited quietly in her crate – and of course Jodi rewarded her and I did, big time, when I returned. On the fourth and last time I ran Mercy, she curled up and napped, totally unconcerned.   

She pottied on command when I took her out of the building, loaded into the car and waited quietly until I brought Mercy out, and again while I put away the crates in the building.  What a good pup!  Definitely a thinker and one who notices things and remembers them.  I’m going to keep her.

She was quite ready for a good nap when we got home.  And Miss Purple wasn’t still yelling!  Definite improvement.  I left them to rest while I grabbed Lovely to go do out therapy dog visits which had to be rescheduled from Wednesday.  This was perfect timing, as I was able to talk to both activity directors and ask if the residents would again like to come up with potential call names for Miss Yellow. 

It just so happened that this was Miss Lovely’s week to do visits.  When I kept her, four years ago, the residents had a blast brainstorming possible names. They filed the huge white board in Westview’s activity room with ideas, voted until they had a handful of favorite names, and gave them to me.  “Lovely” was one of their favorites, and it went well with her registered name, “Celhaus Love Every Living Thing.”  I gave the activity directors what Miss Yellow’s registered name will be:  “Celhaus Song of Hope in Hard Times.”  It will be fun to see what ideas they come up with. 

From the second nursing home, I headed to deliver the local orders of GloryToo’s book.  Jocie, who owns Muddy PawPrints, had ordered one for her new granddaughter.  When I gave it to her, she was so excited by it that she asked if Muddy Pawprints could sell them, saying it was unique and she’d be proud            to have it available at her pet store.  I will take 5 copies to her next time I go to town.  It sounds like this litter is going to have a famous mother!

By the time I got home from delivering the books and spending forever in the Post Office, mailing the books to out-of-town people, it was 1 p.m.  The puppies were quite irritated that lunch was so late.

All of us relaxed during the hot afternoon, resting from the craziness of the last few days.  This evening I brought them inside for a while and we just spent time cuddling.  One of us was very ambitious.

I had hoped to finish the writeup of the Search and Rescue test today, but I didn’t quite make it.  Hopefully I can finish it in the morning before time to start ball sessions, but at least by evening I’ll get it done.  Kathy and Steve, from Wisconsin, will arrive about 1 p.m. for Miss Purple so I have to hurry the morning rotations and get started on ball sessions earl so all can have theirs before our company arrives.

55 Days (6/25)  Erika and Matt arrived at 7 a.m. and left with Miss Pink shortly afterwards for the long drive to Seattle.

At 8:30, Miss Yellow and I traveled to Jackie & Randy’s house.  When we pulled out of our drive, I could hear Miss Purple yelling. 

 When we arrived at Randy’s & Jackie’s house, I put on my training jacket (has pockets or salmon treats) and got out a 15’ longline.  I asked Randy to put Pearl on leash and sit quietly with her since Miss Yellow first needed a leash lesson.  They settled about 20’ away.  I got Miss Yellow out of the car and began clicking and treating her for attention first, then for walking towards me, and eventually for giving to a little leash pressure. The way I leash train puppies is to let them figure out that the best place in the world is by my side, and every time they come to me, they get rewarded.  I then moved away until there was a little pressure on the leash and stood ignoring her (but with one eye peeled her way) until she decided to come towards me, thus loosening the leash.  I then quietly moved a step sideways, closer to Pearl, stopped and pretty much ignored her while she decided to come towards me.  Eventually, at her own pace, we got close to Pearl, who could smell the salmon treats and really wanted some.  I spent some time alternating between giving Pearl a treat and clicking/treating Miss Yellow for calmly sitting and watching.  When she jumped on me for comfort, I ignored her or quietly pushed her down.  Then I made sure to clicked/treated for sitting calmly even with Pearl trying to get to me with the treats. 

Since she remained calm, I told Randy to take Pearl off the leash.  She remained pretty quiet because she really wanted the treats I had.  Randy had a phone call and moved away to talk, so I began walking slowly around the yard, Pearl bouncing around us, clicking/treating Miss Yellow when she moved with us and didn’t tighten the leash and didn’t jump on me for comfort.  After about 5 minutes, she moved forward on her own to sniff at Pearl and the look on her face told me she hadn’t really thought Pearl was a dog.  After that, she relaxed enough to follow her around and sniff at her, and I took Miss Yellow’s leash off.  The three of us meandered around the big yard together, with Miss Yellow tentatively grabbing at Pear’s featherings.  She almost, relaxed enough to play.  We headed back to the house and they drank together from Pearl’s water dish.   Friends now, but not yet playmates, but that was just fine with me.

Randy came back then, so he and I visited and pretty much ignored the dogs, who settled down quietly.  Miss Yellow had had a lot of thinking exercise and she showed she was about down for the count.  She moved over to visit some with Randy before stretching out, relaxed enough to think of resting on the lawn.  At that point I ended her lesson, thanks Randy and Pearl, and loaded Miss Yellow in the car.

We headed home by a roundabout route since I needed to deposit the checks from yesterday, so she also had her first experience of bank drive-up windows.  She had crashed as soon as I started the car, so she had to wake up to see what was going on and was pleasantly surprised by the little treat she got at the bank.  When we got home, she just stretched out where I put her down just inside of the puppy yard gate, and didn’t move for quite a while, no matter that I was back and forth with the big dogs, doing ball sessions.  That was good, because she’ll process all those lessons – riding alone in the car, walking on leash, and dealing with Pearl.

When we pulled into our drive, I could hear Miss Purple complaining.  When I took Miss Yellow around to put her in the puppy yard, Miss Purple was still complaining, pretty hoarsely.  I guess she didn’t like her first lesson in being by herself.

I decided to take Miss Yellow to agility class in the morning.  If she does well there, I’ll keep her.  I have two dogs in class on Thursday nights, and only one on Friday mornings, so I just left up the second crate for the puppy.  She will have a lesson on sitting quietly in the crate when I await my turn to work, and – the harder lesson – to remain quiet while I work Mercy.  Our instructor is great when I bring puppies and will stand by the crate and give them frequent treats when they are quiet.  She will have her second leash lesson, of course, and also work on sitting politely to be petted as we enter and leave, going past the other students. 

Needless to say, once I put her into the puppy yard, both puppies collapsed for a LONG time – Miss Purple because she was exhausted from yelling; Miss Yellow because she had learned so much.  When I came out with GloryToo for her ball session, I opened the gate to two very quiet puppies who ambled out with us and plopped down at my chair, just wanting some loving.  A tired puppy is a good puppy!!!

All of us needed a quiet day after all the excitement of the lest several ones, so I didn’t bring them into the house until after I returned from class.  Before I brought them in, I set up the puppy crate with the raised dog bed from K9 Ballistics that I use with puppies because it’s indestructible.  For agility class, I have large crates, also with the elevated dog beds, so this will give Miss Yellow an opportunity to get comfortable with that “picture” before she goes to class in the morning.  I scattered small pieces of the treats all over the bed and let the puppies discover the treasure trove, climb onto the bed and search for them.  The pups are already familiar with the elevated bed since I have a big one in the living room, but having one in a crate is something new.  Doing this tonight will help her feel more comfortable at class tomorrow.  They went back into the crate several times, searching for treats, while they were inside.

They were content to have a manding lesson and some loving.  It’s amazing how much easier-going a group of 2 puppies is than a group of 6.  Not much competition, no dominance tussles – very pleasant.  It was obvious that GloryToo is enjoying just having the two pups because she rolled on the floor, wrestling with them and invited them to climb on her and play with her.  I love watching the mothers do that.  When the pups began seeking sleeping spots, I put them to bed.

54 Days (6/24)  It’s supposed to be in the 90’s today, so I was up at five to feed puppies so that they had time to digest, potty and play before their Search & Rescue test at 8.  Janet and Bonnie are really fun people and they sure do enjoy testing the puppies.  Each time they come, the test is different as they let their creativity loose on setting up the test area.  The testing went well, but it’s too complicated – 23 tests in all – to summarize here.  I will hurry to type up the results for the website in a page all their own.

Mr. Blue again tested the best, which amazed those of us who knew him because he’s so easy-going at home.  Miss Yellow again tested well, and Miss Pink & Miss Purple tested better than yesterday.  Usually in every litter, some pups respond much better to the excitement generated by the SAR testers and score significantly higher than they do on the police/narcotics test, which is purposefully designed to see what the pups will dredge up from deep within them without a lot of stimulation from the tester.  That was the case with Miss Pink and, of course Miss Purple, who is known to deliberately start something, anything, if she gets bored.  Miss Green again showed that all she wants is to cuddle with a human and share their life.  Miss White had a bad day and didn’t do much at all, mainly because at the very first she got under Janet’s feet and Janet fell nearly on top of her.  After that, she just couldn’t summon any enthusiasm.

Janet did something new this time that will give you an idea how the pups tested:  she gave each of them an over-all rating of how likely she thought the pup could achieve success I serious training, specifically as a SAR dog (but a good idea for any other forms of training).  She said a score of 6 or greater indicated that they would be successful in training and certifying in SAR and the work involved to build drives if needed was worth the effort.  Out of a possible high score of 10, here is how the pups rated:

9:  Mr. Blue
8:  Miss Purple, Miss Yellow
7:  Miss Pink
5:  Miss Green & Miss White

After the test, I took the pups home and fed them while I studied the test results on Miss Purple, to decide if I would keep her or not.  I finally decided I would not, mainly because Janet identified her as being a dominant female, which I do not need.  It’s hard enough keeping breeding bitches separate – who are ALWAYS by instinct trying to be the dominant bitch (who in the wild is the only one who gets to breed).

After Miss Yellow’s refusal Friday to ever interact with the Golden Retriever at the home we visited, while the other five had a fantastic time playing with her, I had eliminated her from consideration as a breeding prospect.  But with all three testers commenting about what nice drives she has and how solid she is, I decided to reconsider.  I contacted Jackie, the Golden’s owner, and asked if I could bring Miss Yellow again for a short visit, by herself, and see if would react normally.  I will take her early tomorrow morning, before it gets hot, and decide tomorrow if she stays here or goes to a working (but not breeding) home.     

Here is where the others went:
     Mr. Blue went to Billings to compete in obedience, rally, nosework and barn hunt and to get Canine Good citizen titles.  His new owner was so impressed that she is now considering herding, too.  Way to go, Mr. Blue!!!
     Miss White stayed here in Sheridan and will be a therapy dog working with the nursing home residents.
     Miss Green also stayed here in Sheridan and will be a companion and fishing buddy.  These three headed to their new homes at about 2:30.
     Miss Pink will leave tomorrow for Seattle where she will be a therapy dog in children’s hospitals and also train for cadaver work (Search & Rescue).
     People from Wisconsin will be here Saturday to either take Miss Purple, or if I decide not to keep Miss Yellow, to choose between the two.  Whichever pup they take will do obedience competition and possibly Schutzhund. They have a male from the RR litter and are so pleased with him, they wanted another.
     If I do not keep Miss Yellow, I will contact the people on my waiting list looking for a working prospect and see where she will best go.

Erika and Matt, who are getting Miss Pink, stayed a while after the others left and we visited until the three remaining pups crashed.  Then we put the pups in their yard and we humans joined them in a good rest after all the intensity of the last two days.  They will pick Miss Pink up at about 7 a.m. tomorrow and head for Seattle.

54 Days (6/23)  Busy day, today, starting as usual with letting the puppies nurse and interact with GloryToo while I set sprinklers.  Then, as the other dogs had their morning rotations and breakfast, I finished assembling all the “Going to home” packets.

I only had until noon to do ball sessions so I did as many as I could.  GloryToo got hers but without the puppies since I wanted them rested for their Police/Narcotics test at 1.  Naturally, today the heat is supposed to return; sure wish it had waited until Thursday.  Thankfully The test site is a combination training arena and irrigation/landscaping service and Sure got her husband to empty one of the bays so that I could drive in and the puppies would be as cool as possible.

The puppies pretty much slept through GloryToo’s session, probably because I started early in order to get as many ball sessions in as possible.  But they were awake and complaining at the gate when I went out with Mercy.  They followed along the fence and complained where I sat next to it.

I loaded them at 12:30, quickly put all the big dogs out in various yards, and headed to the arena.  The pups did really well. 

Quick explanation of some of the tests that aren’t obvious by their names: 
Fear: sudden loud noise behind them, in this case a can of nuts and bolts dropped from about 2’ elevation
Aggression/Courage:  Scary objects, in this case a loud horn and a moving, whistling battery-operated train engine (if they got different ratings for the two objects, that is listed; otherwise they rated the same on both)
Surprise:  umbrella opened suddenly as they pass by

Another comment:  my female line typically has booty drive come in first (desire to possess the toy) and being very obvious now, with the retrieve drive coming in later than the age at which we do the temperament testing, so it’s common for few to get a high retrieve rating on the temperament tests.

I’ll put up detailed results later, but here is a summary (in order of how they rated):

Mr. Blue
Excellent:  Attachment, Confidence, Pain Sensitivity, Perseverance, Fear, Aggression/Courage (horns & train), Submission
Above Average:  Surprise
Average:  Prey Drive
Minimal:  Retrieve
Comment:  very solid, nice boy

Miss White
Excellent:  Pain Sensitivity, Prey Drive, Perseverance, Fear, Aggression/Courage (horns), Surprise
Above Average:  Confidence, Aggression/Courage (train), Submission
Average:  Attachment, Retrieve
Comment:  Very nice girl

Miss Yellow
Excellent:  Attachment, Confidence, Pain Sensitivity
Above Average:  Fear, Surprise, Submission
Average:  Prey Drive, Perseverance
Minimal:  Retrieve
Comment:  More solid, can build these drives

Miss Purple
Excellent:  Confidence, Pain Sensitivity
Above Average:  Attachment
Average:  Perseverance, Fear, Aggression/Courage, Surprise, Submission
Minimal:  Retrieve
Comment:  Personable, looking for acknowledgement

Miss Green
Excellent:  none
Above Average:  Attachment, Confidence, Pain Sensitivity
Average:  Fear, Aggression/Courage, Surprise, Submission
Minimal:  Prey Drive
Insufficient:  Retrieve, Perseverance
Comment:  likes people, easily encouraged

Miss Pink
Excellent:  none
Above Average:  Pain Sensitivity
Average:  Attachment, Confidence, Fear, Submission
Minimal:  Aggression/Courage, Surprise
Insufficient:  Retrieve, Perseverance
Insufficient/Unacceptable:  Prey Drive
Comment:  none

All the out-of-town people came about 5:30 to play with the puppies.  Our Search & Rescue testers, Janet & Bonnie, arrived around 6, so we trooped out to see what they thought of the Puppy Obstacle Run.  Miss Purple and Miss Yellow took off in a different direction (I think back to the air-conditioned house), but the other four put on a great show for the company, giving me an enthusiastic approval from my SAR friends.

After Janet and Bonnie left, we went back inside the house and played with puppies until they tired.  I fed them supper and left them to rest up for tomorrow’s SAR test.

53 Days (6/22)  Miss White’s ear that was previously straight up has decided to wrap around the top of her head.  It makes me laugh.

It was cool last night so I heard the pups playing very early this morning, having a great time.  By the time GloryToo and I came out to let them out to nurse and follow as I set sprinklers, they were pretty calm.  I enjoy those no-ankle-biting times.  They have realized that GloryToo has hardly any mile, so the nursing is very quickly over and is more a comfort action than nourishment.  As we came around to the back of the house, they made a beeline to the puppy house door, very ready for the breakfast they knew I put inside when I let them out.

When GloryToo and I came out later for her ball session, Miss Pink was the only one who grabbed my pant legs and tugged.  They chased after GloryToo when I threw her ball and four split off and headed back to the far end; they have definitely discovered the joys of exploring.  Miss Green and Mr. Blue, as usual, soon came looking for me, followed later by Miss White and, eventually, Miss Yellow.  Miss Pink and Miss Purple didn’t show up until about the time I finished doing poop detail in the puppy yard.

Erika and Matt arrived from Seattle about 4 p.m.  We brought the puppies in to play and I put down totally new toys, some that I usually take when we visit the nursing homes.  One, the Pawsfun Crazy Bouncer, vibrates and barks and carries on – and is always a great hit with the pups.  The only problem is that it shuts off after just 20 seconds but often as a pup pounces on it and picks it up, they hit the button and it begins vibrating again. It was funny watching the pups’ heads shake as they carried it, and even more fun when two or three played tug with it.  All those heads vibrating made us laugh.

The other noisy toy was a battery-operated fire engine that has sirens and flashing lights.  They’re getting pretty used to my weird toys and usually sniffed it as it came past (or into) them.  After I turned it off, one of the pups (I didn’t see which one) carried it into the kitchen.  Later Mr. Blue must have thought it looked very suspicious as it lay on its side and barked at it as he oozed towards it, then drew away, then oozed towards it, then backed up.  He eventually got up to it, nosed it, and immediately lost interest.  It’s always fascinating to see what sparks a pup’s interest and suspicion.  Was the fluorescent light bouncing off it in a way that made it look unfamiliar?  Did it just present a different picture on its side.  One never knows.

Once they quit playing, I got out the clicker and we had another clicker lesson plus the beginning of manding.  Manding was a practice new to me until Jane Killion’s Puppy Culture DVD series, but I immediately was its value and have incorporated it into my puppy-raising routine.  I show it to the new owners when they take their pups because it’s a great way to begin their bonding with the pups.  If they can notice – and affirm – their pup’s nice efforts to communicate with them, the pup will soon quit jumping on people, which is the most irritating habit dogs have.  Here are my notes from Jane’s explanation of manding in her DVDs.

Manding – one of the most important skills for any social creature.

  • By default, puppies will mand by jumping up and pawing at us. This is one if the chief behaviors that dog owners complain about. 
  • So we teach the puppies the core concept that if they want something, they can sit to ask for it instead of jumping up.
  • Jumping up is appropriate puppy behavior with adult dogs – please play with me, feed me, etc. Our task is to change the cue to human presence to mean sit instead of jump up.
  • We do this by presenting a cue – in this case a human – and then clicking and treating the puppy for sitting. Jumping is the program that the puppy came with.  You’re just substituting the sit behavior for the default behavior.  The profound part of it is that you’re teaching your dog to talk to you. 
  • At first, we click the puppy even if he just backs off from jumping on us. Once he seems to understand that, we ask for more.  We wait until the puppy is actually sitting before we click. 
  • We’re not training the puppy to sit on command; we’re training the puppy to sit automatically with humans in front of him. Therefore, we will not be adding a verbal cue to sit or off.  The presence of the human IS the cue for the puppy to sit.
  • The pup will at first offer the automatic response of climbing up, but quickly learns that the sit is what elicits the praise.
  • The need to be heard is a deep emotional need for all social animals. Your job is to give the puppy a voice to communicate with you.  We’re taking his most primal need and saying to him “You have a voice.  I’m going to listen to you but I’m going to show you how to speak to me.”  He learns that he matters and is heard – and that will form his whole life.  If you just correct him, you deprive him of his voice and that is incredibly damaging psychologically.

Miss White was the first to respond to the clicker noise.  And the only one to sit and remain sitting, against my legs as I sat on the floor.  Manding is easier to do while sitting in a chair but I knew if I got up the pups would all jump up and get excited, so I just stayed on the floor, which of course made it easier for the pups to climb towards the hand holding the clicker AND the one holding the salmon treat.  Miss Green was the next to sit, watching me and waiting nicely for her treat; Miss Purple was the worst for combing all over me as she tried to get her treat each time I clicked.  Miss White, Miss Yellow and Miss Purple stayed engaged the longest in this new, fun game.

When I ended the clicker session, we took them outside so they could show Erika and Matt the obstacle run.  They definitely know the routine now and take the obstacles at speed, going through the three “curtains” so fast that jugs swayed wildly.  Of course, a couple of them were going too fast to hit the center of the curtain that has the freezer racks on each side and hit them, bouncing off; but they just calmly redirected through the center and got back up to speed.

This morning I had removed the footballs from the walk-through-the-bottles section, but Miss Pink especially looked everywhere for them.  She had really liked those footballs and would grab one and hunker down to chew on it while everyone was racing past.   

A nicely tired bunch of pups followed us back to the house.  Well, three of them:  my two perennial sidekicks, Mr. Blue & Miss Green, were joined by Miss White.  Miss Yellow and Miss Pink trailed in later, and Miss Purple (true to form) was last.  Of course, I had put more salmon treats into the search pool when we got back into the house, and she even lucked out to find a few pieces the others had left.

After that, they were ready to crash, so we put them in the puppy yard to rest.  They didn’t eat much of their supper, probably due to all the salmon treats, but they were hungry at bedtime and ate all of their late supper.

52 Days (6/21)  Today, instead of our regular ball sessions, I mowed.  During GloryToo’s time I mowed the puppy yard and surrounding areas.  The pups were fine until I turned on the mower blade; then they left and I didn’t see them until I turned it off and called them. I had closed the doggie door into the house since I didn’t want them to be inside unattended, so most of them wandered to the front yard, where it had to have been quietest.

I had found some small knuckle bones at the meat shop but hadn’t wanted to give them to the pups until I had mowed their yard (less things to pick up before mowing).  After I put the pups in the puppy yard, I got out the bones.  I thought I’d see if the pups would continue chewing on them while I mowed the back yard, of which their south fence line is a boundary. Nope, they left the bones and retreated out of sight into either the puppy house or transition area, and remained there until I finished all the mowing.

I had planned to bring them in tonight but I was still trying to finish some of the handouts to give their new owners.  Last winter I watched Jane Killion’s “Puppy Culture” DVD series, which had all kinds of suggestions for breeders and puppy buyers and then bought her Breeder Handbook that enlarges upon what she covers in the DVDs.  I was so impressed, I took tons of notes and have been incorporating them into the materials I give my puppy buyers.   AND, I have broken my support mailings into smaller segments:  instead of getting one handout when they take their pups that will cover things to do with them up to four months, that handout only covers the 7-8 week period.  Their first mailing will cover 8-9 weeks; the second will cover 10-12 weeks; then the third will cover 13-16 weeks.  Hopefully, those frequent mailings will inspire the puppy owners to do all the oh-so-important socialization trips these puppies should have in order to develop their full potential.  After that I go back to my every-three-months handouts.  One thing that spurred this change was her assertation that the prime socializing period ends at three months, rather than the four months that had previously been considered to be the end of the very important first phase of their lives.

Since they didn’t get a play time, tonight I spent more time with them as I gave them a chance to nurse GloryToo and follow us around setting sprinklers.  They were disappointed not to come inside the house, but tomorrow the puppy buyer from Seattle and a good friend from Denver who has one of the HH litter and is ready for another one, come.  Tuesday and Wednesday are the temperament tests, so the pups will have a lot of activity and spoiling.

51 Days (6/20)  I did the pups’ third worming for roundworms first thing this morning.  One more “before they leave” chore done!

Since I was using the weights from Thursday’s vet appointment (adding a bit more Pyrantel to cover any weight gain since then), it was easy.  I opened the top half of the puppy yard gate, noticed which puppy was close, drew up enough Pyrantel for its weight into the syringe, and squirted it into the open mouth.  Then I picked that puppy up and lifted it out of the puppy yard, where it raced to GloryToo and started nursing.  No need to keep track of who had been wormed or who was next, so it went really fast.  Then we walked around to set sprinklers.  Done with that, I put the pups’ breakfast in the puppy house and they streamed in. 

I have been gradually decreasing the proportion of meat in their meals, mainly by increasing the amount of kibble to 4 cups of kibble per meal.  They usually don’t eat all four meals, so I refrigerate the leftovers and use the leftover kibble to start the next meal, so for the day they generally get ¾# of raw meat diet instead of 1#.  This morning I cut the meat down even more, giving them about .17 cup of meat in the 4 cups of kibble.

 Miss Green’s other ear is nearly up!

 I decided what to do with the tunnel in the puppy obstacle run, so this morning during ball times I headed back out to work.  One end of the tunnel absolutely refuses to stand up.  Tunnel bags (what we usually put on the ends and sometimes middles of tunnels to hold them in place) make it worse.  I was unable to follow my original plan, which was to gradually stretch out the tunnel and eventually curve it, so that at the end it arced around the corner of the obstacle run.  Instead, I was going to have to stretch the tunnel totally out and brace it up.  I decided the only thing to do was puncture the tunnel fabric close to a metal rib, run a wire around the rib, and tie it to the fence.

 During Lively’s ball session I got most of that done.  Then it was GloryToo’s and the pups’ turn.  The day was heating up and the pups thought the shade in the tunnel was fantastic.  It was probably cool, too, with the tunnel fabric holding out the heat of the sun.  Every time I stretched the end of the tunnel to secure it to the fence, at least one pup decided right that second to plop down right there.  Finally, after many tries, I got them far enough in the tunnel AND STAYING, that I could work on the end.  Then I barricaded from the tunnel to the outer fence so that the pups had to navigate the tunnel when they ran the course.

 My last project was to cut one of the hog panels in half and place it at the east edge of the run to help create a little “corral” where I could hold the puppies and then go to the corner and call them.  I loosely wired two panel pieces so they would fold back against the outer run fence for storage, but would open and make the corral as needed. 

 By that time, GloryToo’s ball time was up and I was hot, as our cool front moved out last night.  I had hauled my fencing equipment to the back in the cart since it gets heavy to carry.  I loaded everything into the cart and looked around for puppies.  Only my faithful sidekicks – Miss Green & Mr. Blue – were around.  Those two prefer to hang out with me to anything else the others might do and will only seek out shad if it’s close at hand so they can keep track of me.  They will go check out other-pup activity, but they always come back and seek me out.  They followed me around as I put everything where it needed to be, then prepared to follow alongside the mower.  As we went past the closest shade, Miss Purple and Miss Yellow joined us.  They had been watching my activity but weren’t as dedicated to keeping me in sight as the other two are.  We didn’t find the others – Miss White & Miss Pink – until I parked the mower in its usual protected place, at the front of the house.  They had found some nice, cool, shady concrete that was damp from the sprinkler hoses I use on a flowerbed there.  Smart girls!

I put away my tools and all of us trooped around the house and the pups headed directly for their yard, quite ready for lunch and a nap.

Tonight we went back to Claudia’s and Steve’s.  This bunch definitely has the “get in the car and go have fun” attitude down pat.  In fact, I now have to be very careful unloading them because they want to leap out of the crates rather than wait to be safely lifted out.  They hardly make any noise during their rides, either.

I had challenged Claudia and Steve, since it was a second visit, to make it very different from the first so that it truly was a new experience – and they rose to the occasion big time!  Besides having invited different people to help socialize, they had scattered a great variety of objects for the pups to investigate, many of which contained little plastic containers with treats.  They had a ladder lying on the ground (treats between each rung), a little plastic pool, an old dog house, a tire, a five-gallon bucket on its side and a teeter made from a piece of pvc pipe and a board.  They had a couple of treat-dispensing toys, soft Frisbees, tug toys and a soft hedgehog that was the pups’ favorite.  They had left the straw bale in the yard from last time and it provided a great place around which to run while playing keep away.  Later, they scattered treats on top of the bale, and the pups had to stretch as high as they could to find them. Miss Pink begged for help to get on top so she could get more of the treats, so Claudia helped her up.  I think Miss Green did, too, though I didn’t get any photos of her on the bale as the light was fading fast with a thunderstorm moving in. All of us had a great time on this, the pups’ last socializing visit.  They were beginning to slow down at the end of an hour but raindrops began falling, so we picked up all the toys and loaded the pups so none got wet.  A happy group of pups headed home. 

See the Puppy Obstacle Run! and Read How We Built It

50 Days (6/19)  I was quite late getting the pups out for their (and GloryToo’s) playtime.  I had been working on the handouts for the “Going to New Home” packet.  When I finished them, it was just after 9 a.m.  Instead of beginning ball sessions as usual, I jumped in the car and took the folder to Epiphany to have copies made (due to the pandemic, they are only open to the public from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.).  Once I got home, I started all the ball sessions, but I was about an hour late.  That meant it was nearly noon when I got to GloryToo and family.  The pups had played a lot before that and were beginning to get sleep as the day warmed up, so I didn’t bother with the puppy drag, or toys.  Sure enough, they were content to hang out with me in the shade and didn’t even chase GloryToo.  Miss Yellow asked to sit in my lap and soaked up some extra loving, but the others just lounged in the grass, which I had watered that morning.  When GloryToo’s ball time was up, I cleaned the puppy house and did puppy yard poop detail as usual, but no one complained at having to wait outside; they didn’t even go into my house, they just hung out.  Finished, I opened the gate and they sauntered in.  I fixed their lunch, took it out, and they raced into the puppy house and fell upon it, since it was a little late, too.

I left them to lounge all afternoon so they would be rested for a big visit tonight.  We were going to a new house, one which was inhabited by a very playful Golden Retriever, and I wanted them well rested. 

Sure enough, when we arrived at Jackie’s house, the pups were enthusiastically greeted by a VERY bouncy Golden.  She was on leash and pretty quiet when I unloaded the pups, so they had a sedate meeting, but then the leash came off and Pearl started bounding around, offering them toys and trying to get them to chase her and play tug.  Five of the pups gave chase and had a ball chasing Pearl, but Miss Yellow said “No way!” and retreated under my car.  Jackie and Randy immediately wanted to rush and comfort her, but I restrained them.  Miss Yellow needed to figure things out for herself.  People usually don’t realize that, when you comfort a dog who is scared of something and tell it “It’s okay.”, all you do is convince the dog that there IS something to be worried about.  You need to be matter of fact, give the pup space to figure out on its own that there’s nothing to fear.  When the look at whatever is bothering them, and especially if they approach and investigate it, you praise them and acknowledge the thoughtful approach to the problem.  When I’m socializing a pup I have a special word I use in these instances (often on a walk, a fire hydrant will blow their minds and we’ll take 15 minutes to approach and touch it).  I use a quiet “Good LOOK” as an affirmation that they are thinking and responding to something rather than giving a brain-off avoidance reaction.  During that slow approach to the fire hydrant, for example, every time the pup looks at the hydrant, I’ll calmly comment, “Good look” and ooze an inch or two closer to it.  When the pup finally approaches it and sniffs it all over – and its body relaxes, showing me the pup has come to terms with whatever bothered it, we have a party with enthusiastic praise and lots of “GOOD LOOKS!!!!!”, and usually a treat or two right there at the hydrant. (I often think it has to be light reflection off a part of that particular hydrant because we can pass others with scarcely a glance.)  After a couple of times of handling adverse reactions, the pup gets the idea it can handle anything in life and will quickly march up to investigate something that looks weird to it – and look back at me for the affirmation and enthusiastic praise, which it always gets.  Conversely, if you baby it and tell it it’s okay anytime something scares it, you can create a dog that is bothered by EVERYTHING.  Maybe people don’t mind that life attitude in a lap dog, but it’s definitely not desirable for a German Shepherd.

If Miss Yellow had raced off to possibly get lost or hurt, I would have (nonemotionally) intervened and brought her back (definitely not holding her close but just carrying her back to where the rest of us were), but otherwise I just kept an eye on her and ignored her.  The big deal is not for a pup to be bothered by something, but how it handles the fear and stress – and how soon it deals with it and bounces back.  In the hour that we were there, Miss Yellow didn’t bounce back at all, which knocked her out of the possibility of my keeping her as a breeding prospect.  Eventually she came out from under the car and sat in people’s laps, but her body was still stiff and she never took her eyes off Pearl, ready to retreat if Pearl approached.  Only when the others tired out (and Pearl was content to mostly chew on one of her toys), did Miss Yellow relax and eventually sleep a bit.  At the very end she remained calmly in the open as Pearl moved about, but she never really engaged with her.

Miss Green, on the other hand, won kudos from all of us because she engaged with the whirling golden, chased her, played with her, contested for toys with her and was the only one who actually tried playing tug with her, which is what Pearl wanted them to do.  All the other pups were great about bouncing back when run over by the big dog; they played and played and played, taking breaks to come visit with one or two of the humans before jumping back into the fray.  And they did this for an hour!  That was amazing.  When the last one finally crashed (I think this time it was Miss Pink), we watched them sleep for a bit before Jackie and Randy finally let me load them for the trip home.  There was hardly a peep on the way home and they led me around the house to their yard and practically begged to go into the puppy house.  They were still there when I took out their supper a few minutes later and could hardly move to get to the bowl, they were so tired.  But, boy, were they happy!!!!

49 Days (6/18)  Miss Green’s right ear is up this morning!

Pat (who is getting Mr. Blue) came again to visit and to retest them on the rat.  To keep the pups from heading into the house when I let them out of their yard, I closed the doggie door down.  They were not pleased, but it sure made it easier to get them into the adjoining yard where there was deep shade to keep them and the rat cool.

We had an incredibly different reaction to the rat:  all six mobbed the cage, no holding it for them to sniff today!  Miss Green and Miss Yellow, and I think Mr. Blue, had nose to nose interactions with the rat.  Miss Green had the most enthusiastic reaction, talking to the rat, then barking, and biting at the cage repeatedly.  Mr. Blue was nearly as enthusiastic.  A couple of times he wandered away but he soon reengaged, and he was wild when Pat lifted the cage to take the rat away, jumping up to try to grab it.  Miss Purple was funny:  she didn’t even notice the rat at first, she was so busy trying to visit with me, but when she finally turned around and saw/smelled it, she was all over the cage, climbed over the top, and tried to push the others away from “her” rat. 

We didn’t want to stress the rat so we soon ended the session and put the cage out of the way.  Then we grabbed some salmon treats (in case we needed lures to get them to try the a-frame and dogwalk)       and led the pups out to the obstacle run.  We didn’t have any luck putting them into one end of the run – when Pat headed down to the gate in the corner so as to be able to help them, all followed.  So we both walked down there and let the pups in at the corner.  They immediately headed for the tunnel and ran through it, then settled down inside although the day wasn’t hot so that they needed shade.  They just thought it was a fun place.  We did the downhill (heading north) leg first because it had the easiest obstacles.

The first “curtain” to push through had chest freezer trays on each end, an exercise in being able to see but not go through an obstacle.  They had to figure out that they needed to go through the milk jugs hanging in the middle.  Miss Yellow had a very tough time figuring that out and cried a lot as she sat in one of the trays.  Eventually she figured it out.

Next was a pile of scattered boards, then another curtain of BIG jugs.  Once through that, they had to go over an old beat-up plastic kiddie pool and next over a pile of rocks.  After that they waded through a section of small bottles and footballs, pick their way through the bee forms, jump over a length of pvc pipe hung about 3” above the ground, and finally through a double curtain of big jugs.  Miss Pink and Mr. Blue grabbed footballs and tried to lie down and just chew on them.  We finally got them to carry the footballs through more obstacles.

We then called them back up that leg, and they raced through it even though this time it was uphill going.  All sure looked like they had learned they could push through the jugs – no one got hung up in the freezer trays this time.  Then we navigated the tunnel and began the east-west leg of the run, heading west.             

First they had to learn the A-frame.  We were impressed that they figured it out pretty quickly, even though it was quite a climb. In fact, they liked it so much that several turned around at the top and went back down the east side, then turned around and went back up and came down the west side.  So much for worrying that it was too steep for them!  Once we got them on the ground, they faced the coiled and piled garden hoses, and had no problem picking their way through them.

That took them to the dogwalk, which I also thought might pose a problem.  To keep them safe and not allow them to fall or jump off the edge (bad habit for potential agility dogs!), I had put agility gates along each side.  It actually looked more like a tunnel that was open at the top than a dogwalk, and it was only about 8” wide, possibly claustrophobic for the pups.  It will definitely get them used to tight places!!!!!  They hesitated at the entrance then pretty much trotted the length of the dogwalk. What good puppies!  On this obstacle, too, they had so much fun that they turned around and went back.  We finally got the all on the west side of it, where they encountered the Leaf Loader Lawn Cleanup Tool, which they thought was great fun to walk across and make change positions almost like a teeter.  I thought for a moment they would use it for a trampoline, jumping up and down on it, but they just enjoyed moving here and there to make it wave beneath them. 

Last was another curtain, this time of sections of sprinkler hose and milk jugs.  They were done!  Instead of resting on their laurels, they reversed and gaily raced over the leaf loader, dogwalk, hoses and up and over the A-frame to collapse in the tunnel.  We decided that was plenty of exercise and finally convinced them to come through the corner gate and head to the house.

We put treats into the pool and, once they had found post of them, toys down to play with.  I repeated having the train wander around the room since I hadn’t been totally pleased with their reactions on Tuesday.  All were fine with it, and Mr. Blue pursued it some.  It’s fun to watch reactions as the train bumps into something, reverses and takes off again, heading straight for a puppy. 

This afternoon I took the pups to the vet for their health exam, vaccinations and microchipping.  Mr. Blue had a great time by attacking the tech’s pant legs, tugging enthusiastically. She had to pry him off several times.  He was dedicated!

All passed their exams with flying colors.  Mr. Blue has one testicle down.  Miss Green weighed 13.2#, Miss Yellow was 13.8#, Miss Purple weighed 14.2#, Miss Pink & Miss White weighed 14.4#, and Mr. Blue was heaviest at 15.2#.

Linda and Claudia, who had helped build the obstacle run on Sunday, came tonight to help put the pups through it.  All of us had a great time.  The puppies took every obstacle at speed.  The only problem was the footballs in the wade-through-bottles area.  Because most of the pups stopped, and grabbed a football and plopped down to chew on it or play tug for it, we decided to remove those and look for more small plastic bottles to take their place.

After the pups ran the obstacle run several times, we brought them into the house to play.  I was impressed that they weren’t tired after all the running.  Sure enough, they dove into the pool and searched for treats, then pounced on the toys.  They now really like the balls and can pick them up and carry them.  Mr. Blue and Miss Pink were mesmerized by the WigglyGiggly ball, a 6″ diameter hard ball that makes a very weird noise as it rolls, and pursued it all over the living room.

They got their second (and last) dose of Ponazuril tonight, so the coccidia should be long gone before they leave.  After that, they were ready for supper and, soon, bed.  It had been an eventful day.

48 Days (6/17)  It’s cool today (55), and I thought the pups might be wild, so when we went out for GloryToo’s ball session I got out my puppy drag, which is a piece of rope I can fasten around my waist.  Gunny sacks are attached to the rope and move enticingly as I move around, so the pups focus on biting and tugging on them rather than my feet and legs.  The only downside is that when pups are attached to the drag, it gets pretty heavy and makes it hard for me to move. 

Miss Green and Mr. Blue showed immediate interest while the others raced after GloryToo.  Those five stayed way out by the obstacle run for quite a while so I sat down in my chair.  The two pups chewed on the burlap sacks while I did.  When GloryToo returned, followed by puppies, I got up and began walking around so that the puppy drag moved.  The other four showed immediate – and much more intense – interest than Miss Green and Mr. Blue had.  Soon they were tugging on the sacks and putting their whole bodies on them so that I drug them around.  Miss Pink and Miss Yellow particularly liked to tug while they were being drug.  When ball time was up, all but Miss Yellow raced after GloryToo, hoping to nurse, but Miss Yellow enjoyed a ride all the way back to the house.

See puppy drag photos

Tonight they went to Georgina’s house.  They are following me happily around the side of the house to the car and loading eagerly, obviously knowing that we’re going someplace that will be fun.  That they enjoy going places is shown by the fact that they hardly made any comments as I drove – a huge improvement.  The test will be tomorrow, when their trip is to the vet for their health exams, microchipping and first vaccinations.

Luckily, the rains moved through earlier, so we had a dry, though chilly evening visit.  Tom again provided the toys they had enjoyed so much Saturday.  A very popular “toy” was a pair of outside shoes that had been sitting by the door – not something I want them to imprint on.  Several of the pups had a great time packing a shoe around.  They were definitely into “ankle biting” mode so all of us had trouble walking.  

They are now definitely interested in balls.  I thought we might even see some retrieves, but even if a pup headed towards a human with a ball, they either changed their mind and veered off – or were jumped by another pup who wanted that particular toy.  It’s so funny to see them content with a toy until they see a pup with a different toy and decide it MUST be better.  We had quite a few tug battles, and plenty of dominance spats.  Unfortunately, I forgot to check my camera battery the last couple of days and it announced shortly into the visit that it was dying.  I only got a few photos.

After they wore off most of their energy, Georgina brought out her standard poodle.  A gentle soul, she was intimidated by the mob of puppies who rushed her, barking.  She sought the safety of a lap for a while, but every time she got down the pups pestered her, excited by her bounding movement.  She wasn’t going to put them in their places, so we put her back in the house.  The monsters immediately settled and soon drifted off to sleep.  They were actually quiet going home. 

47 Days (6/16)  The weather continues to be cool, great for working on the obstacle run.  What a relief.

Linda stopped by this morning to see what I did on the obstacle run yesterday.  She was inspired to head to the Dollar Store and returned a bit later with a box of small containers AND 11 small footballs.  Those definitely livened up that walk-through-bottles area!  I moved one board to double that area so it will be more of a challenge to the pups.

During ball sessions, I finished putting up all the fence.  I had found three forms from bee boxes left over from years ago when a friend had bees on my place.  They form open squares about 5” high and fit perfectly in a line across the run, a good exercise for the pups to carefully step in and out.  I also took a variety of lengths and thicknesses of boards and placed them haphazardly so the pups have to pick their way over them.

I had also found a nice piece of 2” diameter pvc pipe just long enough to go across the run.  I strung a rope through it, hanging it several inches off the ground so the puppies have a choice to either go over it or else push their way under. 

During GloryToo’s ball session, since with puppies “helping” I couldn’t get a lot done, I hung flagging tape along it so the big dogs don’t run into it as they chase their balls.

I was running out of time before I had a vet appointment, so I let Mercy and Cantor out together for a joint ball session and continued working on the run.  We are supposed to get rain tonight and tomorrow so I really wanted to finish and get all the tools back where they belonged before they got wet.  I had two more “stands” and just enough jugs left to make two more curtain obstacles, and I got one finished and placed before I exchanged Cantor and Mercy for Lovely, the last ball session for the day.  The skies were getting darker so I drove the mower and cart up to the front to its protected space under the big roof.

I had just enough time to finish the last “curtain” before I needed to feed dogs and head to the vet, so I raced out – only to not be able to find my big roll of garden twine.  I looked everywhere.  The scissors were there where I had left the twine roll, but no twine anywhere.  Exasperated, I looked where the cart had been and followed our path all the way to the house, thinking perhaps absent-mindedly I had set the twine on the cart and it had rolled off.  I looked in the cart, through all the empty boxes that had held the jugs, everywhere – no twine.  The skies were getting darker and I was really becoming irritated.  I raced back to the obstacle run and carefully looked everywhere I could think of.  Still no twine, so I threw the ball for Lovely a few times before grabbing the scissors and heading inside to feed the dogs.  I would have to stop at the hardware store on the way home from the vet and get more twine, I supposed.  Where in the world did I put the twine?????  And the sky continued getting darker.

Racing to potty my two old ones before they headed for their monthly pain-management appointment, I happened to look down.  There, on one of the dog beds, almost hidden between it and the wall, was the roll of twine.  Either Mercy or Cantor must have (for some unknown reason!) grabbed it instead of their ball.  Or probably lost their ball as they wrestled and chased each other and grabbed the twine for something to carry.  Since they proceed me back to the house and to their crates, I never saw it in one of their mouths nor did I see them drop it on the bed.  At least I can come straight home from the vet and finish the run…

When I got home, I finally put together the last set of hanging jugs and placed it.  The run was done except for figuring out how to support the old tunnel a friend donated.  It wants to slither to the ground rather than stand up, and the tunnel bags aren’t working well on it.  That will take some thought.     

Just as it began to rain, my friend Michelle arrived to play with the pups.  She is the children’s librarian and excited me by asking for four copies of GloryToo’s book instead of the one she had previously ordered, so that she could give one to each of the branch libraries in the county as well as the main library here.  I was honored, since she’s an expert on children’s literature.

Before we brought in the puppies, I scattered treats in the pool.  Michelle had seen the very first search-in-the-pool last Tuesday, and she was amazed at the intensity tonight.  Once the pups finished the treats, I put down some new toys, ones I usually take on the nursing home/puppy playtime visits.  I also put down a battery-operated train engine that rolls all over, reversing when it encounters furniture or a wall, all the while whistling and flashing lights.  The pups weren’t sure about it – Miss Green especially.  Mr. Blue was the only one who followed it around, even when it reversed and headed directly towards him. Good boy, Mr. Blue!

The pups had a ball visiting with Michelle and trying to chew on her skirt hem.  We had several three-way tug battles with toys and once a four-way tug. 

I set the timer for 15 minutes, and when it went off we trooped outside for a potty break.  When we came back in, I put more treats in the pool and we had a great time laughing at the competition to find them first, which was almost frantic at times.  It was time for their early supper, so they must have ben quite hungry.

Once they began to tire, I started introducing the clicker, which is what we call a secondary reinforcer.  The clicker is a tiny “box” with a metal tongue that makes a distinctive click when it is pressed.  The noise – different from any noise they usually hear – means “That was the right choice and a reward is coming.”  To introduce it, you first click and then give a treat, repeating over and over so the pup learns to associate the click with a food reward.  Then you begin coupling it with behaviors a pup offers, such as a sit, good attention, not jumping up for attention and so forth.  (If you wish, as training progresses you can change the reward to something other than food, such as a toy.)  The beauty of the clicker is that it’s totally different from anything the pup knows and it instantly lets the pup know that it has done right. 

So, I sat on floor with salmon treats handy and the clicker in my hand, just waiting until a pup wandered over to me.  This is also their first time taking treats from my hand, so the soft salmon treats are perfect since they are easy to break into very small bites.  Miss Pink showed immediate interest – and the most sustained interest all night.  From the beginning she offered great eye contact and interaction with each click.  She picked up right away that the click meant food, though she kept looking on the floor for the food.  Eventually she had an “aha” moment and began looking at the hand with the treat when I clicked. 

Miss Yellow & Miss Purple quite interested in the click/treat lessons and came back several times as I worked with the others.  Miss Green was funny because she insisted on sitting with her back to me.  I had to put my hand around in front of her to give her each treat.  Soon, though, as she got the idea, she turned to face me and sat as close as she could. Miss White had been napping so she was the last to have a lesson, but she was the quickest to catch on.  She gave great eye contact, waited for me to click, then looked for the treat.

Mr. Blue got the idea right away but fell asleep in the middle of his lesson.  Poor tired boy, it’s so hard living with a bunch of females.

Once all crashed, I trimmed nails.  They were so deeply asleep, I didn’t even have to ask Michelle to help.

After Michelle left, I headed out to take photos of the completed obstacle run before it rained again.  I know everyone is curious about what the run looks like, so I’ll ty to edit those photos and get them on the website ASAP.

46 Days (6/15)  Miss Yellow’s left ear is up straight this morning!

Crisp, cool morning.  Hurrah!  Hopefully today won’t get too hot and I can finish the obstacle run. I can hardly wait to work the pups on it.  To get ready – and give them something to think of – after I let the pups out first thing this morning and they got to nurse, I called them out of the back yard and closed the gate so they couldn’t go back through it and into their yard. Then we walked around to the front and I loaded some more things for the obstacle run into the cart and started the mower.   I was pleased that they hung right there and weren’t worried by the noise.  They followed me as I did the (slow) circle to get it headed to the back and carefully maneuvered through a gate.  It wasn’t until I revved up the mower in the open area and headed to the back that they bailed. That was just TOO much noise.  I called gaily at them as I passed them (they were hung up at the closed gate, trying to get to the safety of the puppy yard) and they followed, though at a distance. That was just fine with me.  They came most of the way out with me before faltering.  When I turned off the mower by the obstacle run, I called them and they came racing to me, very happy to be reunited. 

We then walked back towards the front and they “helped” me set sprinklers, mostly by grabbing my pant legs, the monsters.  Eventually we got up to the house, I opened the yard gate and then I opened the puppy house door for them.  I had cleaned the house and put down their breakfast earlier, while they nursed, so food awaited them as a reward for their bravery in following the mower.

Rooting around in a shed, I found a Leaf Loader Lawn Cleanup Tool that was supposed to have made it easy to bag raked leaves.  You raked the leaves onto it and supposedly it turned into a funnel and the leaves easily slid into your lawn/leaf bag.  Right.  All it ever did was refuse to form a funnel and then suddenly pop open, scattering leaves everywhere so I had to rake again.  It was more trouble that it was worth but still too expensive just to throw out, so I set it aside “in case I ever needed it.”  Well, today I remembered how it tended to be always moving and never laid flat, and thought it might make a great “unstable surface” object for the obstacle run, so I took it out there.     

This morning I worked on the obstacle run a little during ball sessions for the dogs who prefer that I move around rather than sit in my chair as I throw the ball.  During the night I had realized that we needed to be able to walk inside the run to help any pups who have trouble, so this morning I exchanged the agility gates on the outside of the dog walk for boards that will stop the pups (redirecting them to an obstacle) but allow humans to step over.

I cut one of the fence panels to close the west entrance to the obstacle run.  The panels are tall enough to contain the pups but short enough that we can easily lift the pups over to start the obstacle run. 

I set up the tunnel at the corner where the two legs meet.  Right now it is straight and only about 6’ long, but once they will run through that, I’ll lengthen it and eventually have it curve around the corner.  Most dogs new to tunnels won’t go through them if they can’t see an opening at the end, so to make the tunnel easy to learn, I start with it short and straight and then slowly lengthen it and curve the tunnel to allow them to run through happily even if they can’t see the whole opening.  Once they know the tunnel, it won’t bother them to go in on faith that there IS an opening out of sight. 

Sunday when we set up the fence, we left a space between the fence panels at the corner, because we need an opening where the big dogs can get in to retrieve balls that bounce into the run AND for us to get in to help the pups, especially at first, with the A-frame and dog walk.  One of the agility gates works perfectly to allow us access and also a way close off the opening when the puppies are running. 

As I worked on the run during GloryToo’s ball session, the pups got bored and all except Miss Green headed back to the house.  It’s typical of Miss Green that she prefers being where I am to anything else.  Actually, it was the other four pups who headed back towards the house, because Miss Purple never joined us until we were nearly back to the house.  When I entered the puppy yard to do poop detail, Miss Green and Miss Purple followed me along the fence line, but the other four were in the house. 

Finished, I lifted those two into the puppy yard, but I had to chase the other four down in the house and carry them one at a time outside and to the puppy yard.  Finally, I got all 6 where they belonged and was able to sit down for a few minutes to catch my breath before going out with Mercy for her ball session.

My goddaughter texted today to order one of GloryToo’s books for her stepdaughter who is crazy about German Shepherds.  She asked if the kids could come play with the puppies tonight when she brought out the check for the book – son Lucien, 7, and stepdaughter Allison, 11.  I told they could come, but that I HAD to work on the obstacle run, and that the kids could play with the pups back there where I was working.  That was fine with them, and soon I had them all helping me.  With Becka helping hold the 16’ fence panels as I figured out where to pound the posts, it sure went faster than with me doing it by myself.  I got the fence up past all the obstacles we had set up Sunday, the last being the small-bottles-on-ground area.  I set up boards to contain the bottles and spread out the bottles (I really need more small bottles with lids but no handles).  

Now I just have to decide if I want the run to end there or if I want to add more obstacles and extend the fence further, but the hard work is done – just the creative stuff left. I have plenty of fence panels so I can easily add more obstacles and make a longer run either now or at a future date.  Once I’m done for now, I’ll close off that south entrance to the run so that we can start the pups at either end. Those “gates” at the ends will also open so we can let the pups out.

We had room in the fenced area to put in a section of rocks for the puppies to work their way across.  I had the kids hunt for smooth rocks and of course we found lots since my place was part of an auto race track in the 40’s and 50’.  Over the last 40 years, as I’ve planted trees and created flowerbeds, I’ve created piles of rocks I dug out of the ground as I planted; the only problem tonight was finding them in the tall grass.  But we were successful and found enough to create a section of rocks for the pups to navigate.  I drove the cart around to the different piles so we didn’t have to carry the rocks, and all the pups hung out with us; in fact, I often had to stop because a pup was in front of me.  They have definitely gotten over being afraid of the riding mower! 

I’m really pleased with the run and can hardly wait to finish it and put the puppies on it.  They had quite a lot of fun tonight “helping” all of us work on it, or more truthfully getting in the way.  I swear every time I started to pound in a fence post, at least one pup decided just that place was the only one to curl up and watch the doings.  We did as much removing puppies as we did work, but they also got to work on the obstacles that were already set up – the bottles on the ground, the hanging curtain of big bottles, the old beat up kiddie pool that makes great noises when you tromp over it.  Searching for rocks did give them a reason to chase the kids, so it was a very tired group of puppies who followed us as we quit and headed to the front.  I drove the mower and cart.  Miss Green had kept an eye on me the whole time, alternating playing with the kids and following them as they ran around and, later, searched for rocks, and coming to check on where I was.  When I got ready to start the mower the last time, she was right there, so I scooped her up and asked if she’d like a ride to the house.  She calmly sat on my lap as if she’d done it many times before and seemed to enjoy passing the mere pups and humans who had to walk.

After our company left, the pups begged to go into the puppy house.  I was quite glad to get off my feet, too.  My only regret is that I was way too busy to take photos of tonight’s visitors.  I let the pups rest for a couple of hours and then, just before dark, took out their late supper.  They were ready for it! 

45 Days (6/14)  A cool front moved in during the night and it was quite pleasant this morning.  Linda and Claudia came at 8:30 to help me put the puppy obstacle run together.  After we hauled everything back to the area with the riding mower and cart, we brought the puppies out.  We had puppies playing, we had puppies wanting attention, we had puppies following GloryToo as she kept coming to check on each of us.  We had great fun!  Claudia and Linda were trying to create a “curtain” of strips of the sprinkler hoses and some milk jugs – something that the pups would have to push their way through (similar to what is used with horses at courage clinics, but of course downscaled a lot).  They had lots of help and commented that that wasn’t a hard obstacle for the pups at all, since all of them pushed their way back and forth as they assisted the work.  Mr. Blue decided a strip of sprinkler hose was a great tug toy.  I ran for my camera but couldn’t get back in time to catch him pulling for all he was worth.

The pups then showed me that having the dogwalk against the fence wasn’t going to work: two different pups decided it was great fun to squeeze their way off into a nice little niche (that looked like it was too small) between the walk and fence for a nap in the shade under the dogwalk.  So I redid that, putting it in the center of the run and using my old agility gates to create barriers on each side to keep the pups on the walk.

We decided not to use the hanging planters because Claudia, as she worked with them, found too many sharp wire ends.  We have enough stuff anyway, especially since the dogwalk and A-frame took up a lot of room.  That and the A-frame also took most of our time because we worked so hard to make them safe for the puppies AND to create barriers that funnel them onto them.  It was a great relief to get those figured out.

It was over an hour before all the puppies finally crashed.  We put them in their yard and I crated GloryToo, then I brought out Berakah and Hesed, who kept all three of us busy throwing balls for them for an hour as we worked.  Spirit got an hour out with us, too, complete with lots of retrieving, before Claudia and Linda left at noon. In 3.5 hours, we got the long leg of the obstacle run totally done and were well started on the second leg.  And it still wasn’t 80 degrees, so we enjoyed our work!!  I’m so grateful to have had help with the obstacle run.

When I let them in tonight, more noise CDs greeted them, as well as the pool of treats, this time with ALL the bottles in it so it was nearly full.  They had to work a lot harder to find the treats and most soon gave up.  Searching, they knocked some of the bottles out of the pool and Mr. Blue had a ball pursuing one and, eventually, picking it up and carrying it around.  Miss Purple and Miss Yellow were the most intense searchers.  I saw both return to the pool several times.

The day had already cooled off nicely, so I was able to turn off the AD and create a little distraction to their search by going around and opening all the windows.  A couple looked up at the movement but went right back to searching.          

I put down several toys and sat down for cuddles since they hadn’t had any today.  The new tracks on the CD first had airplane noises, which didn’t bother the pups at all.  Then, though, came a screaming baby (which drives me crazy).  Miss White barked, and all the pups stopped what they were doing and looked everywhere.  We survived that one, and next was barking dogs, which had ALL the pups barking and running around; Miss White even hid under a bench for a minute before coming out. 

The fifteen-minute alarm went off, so all of us trooped outside to potty.  They didn’t mind going out tonight because it’s nice and cool outside.  In fact, when I headed back inside only Miss Green and Miss Pink came in with me.  I rewarded them with more treats in the pool and, without the mob, they were able to find some.  I called, and Miss Purple found her way inside the house, followed by Miss Yellow, then the other two.  Everyone headed to the pool and dove in, throwing more bottles out as they searched.

I restarted the CD and this time they pretty much ignored the barking dogs.  Next were cat noises, which didn’t make much impression, nor did the appliance noises which followed.  They were too busy racing up and down the hallway acting very proud of themselves that they had figured out on their own how to come into the house. It was so quiet for a few minutes that I realized they had gone out on their own.  Soon, though, they came back in, really wild with success. 

When the timer went off again, I picked up their toys and let GloryToo out to clean the pool before we headed outside.  She found very few treats, so they really searched well despite all the bottles. Good pups!           

I waited to feed them their late supper until bedtime, so they had had time to digest the salmon treats.  Being able to leave their meals in the puppy house really helps me know they’re getting enough, since if they’re too tired to eat then, they’ll head to it when they’re hungry.  This is quite the hang-out-in-the-house bunch.  By this age, most litters don’t go into the puppy house unless I’m calling them into it for a meal and then leave immediately.

44 Days (6/13)  I was supposed to take the pups to Tom’s house this afternoon, but due to the miserable heat, we moved that to this morning, as soon as I had rotated all the big dogs out of their crates and fed them breakfast.  I fed the pups as soon as I got up so they had time to digest well before our trip.  Unfortunately, it was already (or still) hot, so I had to turn on my house AC at about 7 a.m.  The temperature was already 85 as we left the house at 9 a.m., but the pups still had energy to yell a lot on the way, especially Miss Green, who protested nonstop.  Tom told me they heard us coming from a distance.

They cheered up when we got to Tom’s and were greeted by some great toys.  They really liked one long one and we had some three-way tugs over it.  Several of them packed tennis balls around – a first.  Me. Blue, Miss Yellow and Miss Purple even offered them to us, the beginning of the retrieve drive showing up.

Tom had a heavy sprinkler sitting on the lawn a good 25’ away from us.   Three different times, Miss Purple headed out by herself to check it out.  It must have looked different from different places in the lawn because these were obviously checking-out expeditions.  Good girl, Miss Purple!  The only other one to notice it was Miss Yellow, who froze halfway to it and stood staring until Georgina walked with her to it.

Eventually they petered out.  We visited for a while as they slept before I decided I’d better get going before the day got any hotter.  We had to work at getting them up and moving enough to potty before loading them into the car.

My Nulo dry food shipment was in, so I detoured by Muddy Pawprints to pick it up and let Jocie see the pups.  Naturally, they were awake enough by that time to tell her vociferously how abused they were.

Even thought it was quite hot (90) by the time we got home at 11 a.m., they insisted they were hungry so I fixed a regular meal rather than putting just kibble in the puppy house for the day.  They only ate a little before stretching out to rest, so after a bit I picked up the bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

During the heat of the afternoon (100), I brought them into the cool house and let them hang out.  The kiddie pool with salmon treats greeted the pups when they came into the house, and they beat me into the living room and jumped into the pool before I got there to grab my camera.  In the kiddie pool, to make them search harder, I had placed several plastic bottles.  That didn’t bother them at all.  I also added some of my turkey treats, which require more chewing.  It was funny to watch one chew and chew and chew on one of those.  A good use for those teeth rather than my ankles!

Since the big dogs didn’t get ball sessions this morning and won’t get them in the morning (only 80 degrees forecast for the high tomorrow) due to an early-morning build-the-obstacle-run project to which Linda and Claudia are coming, I had given the big dogs some raw beef knuckle bones.  After they were searching well in the pool, I put down six of the bare-but-yummy bones. They were funny as they tried to decide which they wanted more:  treats or bones.  They frequently changed from one to the other.

While they were eating, I put a “scary sounds” desensitizing tape in the CD player.  I have two of those which have sounds of fireworks, thunderstorms, crowds, vehicle noises, voices, barking dogs, yowling cats, crying babies and so on.  Of course, the pups are exposed to normal household sounds, and I never worry about dropping food bowls or garbage can lids around them when I’m cleaning the puppy house, but I’ll play these CD’s often to expose them to a lot of different noises.   The tape started with firework explosions and suddenly I had pups racing down the hallway, barking as they tried to locate the sound.  I was still at the CD, which is next to the computer, and they mobbed me as they located the noises.  They soon went back to the bones and pool, so I sat down at the computer to write this up and then to edit puppy photos.  I knew, with the heat, that they would soon crash and, besides, they’re getting lots of attention today:  besides going to Tom’s this morning, we go back to Denise’s tonight. 

Every so often one would seek me out, bravely coming into the noisy office off the living room/kitchen.  As soon as I would praise it, others would come for their praise.  The second track was thunderstorms and didn’t elicit much reaction, but then we’ve been having those.  They would then race down the hallway before going back to the bones and pool. 

I set the timer for 15 minutes to remind me to take them out to potty as we work on our next stage of potty training – going out to pee rather than squat just anywhere.  I had thought they’d be crashed by then but they were still having a ball when the timer sounded and I began trying to get them to go out.  They followed me well enough but kept pivoting and returning through the doggie door as soon as I lifted them out.  I finally went out on the deck and called them through the doggie door.  Everyone pottied and we headed back inside, with them doing the same thing, coming back to where I was on the deck, so I went inside and called them.  Eventually they connected coming inside with the cool air and I got them all in, by which time I was pretty hot.

They raced into the living room and into the pool, so I followed and crumbled some more treats into it and then added more bottles to make them work harder.  They again alternated between the pool and the bones, with Miss Yellow and Miss Purple occasionally tugging hard on the flannel runner for a little variety.  When all were occupied, I returned to my computer.

As the noises changed, pups would come check on them and visit with me before going back to the bones.  The third track on the noise CD was honking car horns and sirens, and they did come bark at them.  The next three tracks were general traffic noises with occasional sirens, and they listened but seemed to be accepting all the noise.  They were also tiring, and most were curling up for a nap when 5 p.m. came and I said time to go outside.  I wanted them nicely rested for their visit to Denise’s but they didn’t want to leave the AC. Only Miss Green followed me down the ramp, so she got a piece of salmon treat as a reward.  I put her in the puppy yard and headed back inside, to find all the others in the living room.  I had to pick up one or two at a time and carry them outside to the puppy yard. By the time they were “imprisoned,” or so they whined, I was beat.  I was quite glad to turn off the noise CD and take a break myself.

Marlene and Bob were delayed, so only Denise and Hayden greeted us when we arrived.  The pups got a little too enthusiastic at chasing Hayden (the sheltie) and trying to grab her long flowing hair (especially her tail), so they got a good lesson in manners when she snapped at them.  After that they were quite respectful, even leery of her, but it’s better to learn how to interact with dogs now than be obnoxious when they are past four months and all dogs expect them to act as adults with manners.

Tonight Miss Purple again – and more intensely – attacked the planter that interested her Thursday.  Miss Green got into the act by chewing on the wire supports.  Mr. Blue found one of the little plastic four-pack containers Denise hadn’t picked up after planting more annuals and had a GREAT time with it until Miss Purple also grabbed it and the tug battle was on.  When Miss Purple became diverted by something else, Miss White joined in, and she and Mr. Purple ended up falling over in the process and continued the tug battle on the ground.

The pups were about played out in the heat (still 94) by the time Marlene and Shiloh arrived.  They still had enough energy to greet Shiloh – pretty respectfully, except for Miss Purple who jumped in her face and thought she might grab Shiloh’s tail.  It was just too hot to do much, though, and she soon just followed her around.

Miss Purple and Miss Yellow had a great time crawling all over Denise when she lay down in the grass.  Most of them ended up crawling all over her though at least they didn’t play King of the Mountain on her.  Miss Yellow ended up going over and working on the planter instead.  Bored with that, she tried to pick up Denise’s cell phone and, when she couldn’t quite get it in her mouth, spent some time licking and mouthing it.

They were pretty much passed out by the time Bob arrived, too tired even to visit much.  Miss Green was the only who made much effort to visit, thought Miss White did enjoy a belly rub.  At least they got to meet another guy, even though they wouldn’t play with him.  He even tried running off and calling them, but at the most a couple of them raised their heads and watched.  When he came very close to where they lay, and sat down, they finally visited a little.  We sat and enjoyed the sleeping puppies for a while, then Miss Yellow suddenly got up and took a walk about WAY out in the yard.  We watcher her, mesmerized, until we realized she was searching for the perfect place to potty.  Then we wondered whether her intent when she took off was to go potty, or if she was exploring and, because she was walking around, got the urge (the best way to get a puppy to potty is to make them walk around).  Who knows?  It was fascinating to watch her, though.  That done, she came back and attacked a huge tennis ball, trying to get it in her mouth.  She did, but she just couldn’t pick it up, so she gave up and instead climbed on Denise some more.

We got a kick out of Miss Green doing her best to nurse on Shiloh.  They are still figuring out that all dogs don’t come with a milk bar.  Before Marlene got her, Shiloh had a couple of litters of pups and is super with babies; she just stood and let Miss Green try and try before she gave up.  Then Miss Green followed her around quite a bit, which was fine with Shiloh, who is a very gentle soul.  

We enjoyed the puppy antics – and being together, so we just watched the sleeping puppies for quite a while and visited.  Usually we train together and see each other a lot, and this pandemic has been hard on us, so we enjoyed our get together.  Eventually, I remembered I had other dogs at home to care for, and we loaded the pups to head for home. 

When I got home, I let GloryToo out as I unloaded pups and let them follow around (and nurse) while I set sprinklers before I put them in their yard.  They were pretty tired and crashed at the gate for a while.  I waited until it was almost dark to take out their supper.  By that time, it was cooling off and they were perking up.  They raced into the puppy house – I didn’t even have to call them – and fell upon the food.  After that, I could hear them playing for quite a while, enjoying the blessed coolness.

43 Days (6/12)  It was hot this morning when I got up and as soon as the sun was well up, a hot, dry wind started.  The pups, having more skin in proportion to body mass than adult dogs do, are more prone to overheating (and chilling), so first thing I got a sprinkler going on their yard to create cool resting spots.

I let the pups follow GloryToo and me around as I set sprinklers (it was mercifully too hot for any ankle biting), then sat on the grass for about 10 minutes for a love-in and so GloryToo could nurse them if she wished.  She eventually came to us and let the pups nurse.  She now prefers me to be there when she nurses them – the joys of motherhood are fast fading.  When she said “Enough,”, I put the pup into the puppy yard and then took out their breakfast.  They now have the routine down and come racing through the transition area into the house as soon as I call.

Miss Green’s ears are really coming up.  Mr. Blue and Miss White are starting to work on getting theirs up. 

When they came out for GloryToo’s ball session, they didn’t attack my pant legs or chase her very much; they plopped down under my chair, which was in a spot I had run the sprinkler on last night, and enjoyed a love in.  In the heat, I didn’t feel like any activity either.  It was too hot to do anything on the obstacle course.  All I managed to do, during Lively’s and Lovely’s ball sessions, was roll up the old hoses and tape them with duct tape so they stay rolled. 

It was also too hot to mix meat in with their kibble because even the insulated puppy house eventually heats up.  For their lunch and early supper, I put just kibble into a couple of bowls and set them in the puppy house so the pups could nibble as they wished.  They never eat much during extreme heat.  Wise puppies!

Linda came at 5, planning to help me work on the obstacle run, but we decided it was just too darned hot (95) even though the sun wasn’t shining directly in the back (east) area.  Instead, we brought the puppies inside to enjoy the air conditioning, crated GloryToo and got out some toys.  They played soon but really enjoyed the cool floor and soon stretched out and fell asleep, non in our (too hot) laps but ranged around us so they were cool AND being petted.

Last night, the pups acted like they weren’t hungry (very unusual) and this morning I saw a few loose stools, so I collected stool samples and took them to the vet.  As I suspected they would, they found a few coccidia in the samples.  I was not surprised, though, because today several turned away from the food bowls when I put them down.  Several years ago, a dog I took back evidently was shedding the coccidia parasite although he himself was not affected (typical, it normally doesn’t bother dogs out of puppyhood).  I normally do not allow any outside dogs on my place when I have a litter – for this very reason.  But it was one of mine and the owner decided suddenly she no longer wanted him, called me while I was whelping the litter and wanted to bring him back the following day.  I managed to get her to wait until after the critical first week, but no way was she willing to wait until the pups left.  I had that dog for nearly 7 weeks before placing him and by the time, the pups showed symptoms and we figured out what was going on (and where it had to come from), I had coccidia on my place.  And it never goes away, becoming especially active when we are getting a lot of moisture or I’m running the sprinklers a lot.  At about six weeks, each litter does the same thing – the pups totally lose their appetite, turning away from the food bowl as if nauseated and not wanting to nurse as much – just before loose stools appear.  When I was the director of the Dog & Cat Shelter, we used Ponazuril when any dogs or pups came in with coccidia, and it was super effective, so we use it for my litters.  Now I act immediately at the first sign of food refusal/loose stools, before the parasites can really get started in the pups, and we knock them out immediately. 

This afternoon I picked up the Ponazuril from the vet and gave them a dose.  Almost immediately it kills those parasites and the pups regain their appetites, just as these did – they cleaned up nearly all their late supper (which was their usual raw meat diet mixed with kibble since I didn’t feed them until after dark when the world was cooling off).  The pups will get a repeat dose in a week, but usually the first dose amazingly wipes out the coccidia. 

When I went to bed I could hear puppy noises as they enjoyed a round of play in the cooler night air.

42 Days (6/11)  This morning, when I let GloryToo out of her crate, I put her in the puppy yard and closed the gate.  Yesterday, leaving the top half of the gate open so she could nurse the pups and leave when she wished, didn’t work; she’d check on them and then come find me in the house.  So this morning I left her in with them for about 10 minutes, then went out.  On a whim, I decided to let them out while I set the sprinklers, one in the ball area and one in the front yard.  That was a mistake!  Mr. Blue and Miss Pink immediately attached to my pant legs.  Miss Purple soon joined, and I think someone else, but I was having so much trouble disengaging them so I could walk that I couldn’t see the other collars.  Those teeth hurt on bare ankles!  Eventually I made it out into the ball area and, thankfully, as I was setting the sprinkler, GloryToo ran off, barking at something, and the pups followed her.  I made it to the timer and turned it on before they returned, but at least after their big run they were a little calmer on the pant legs.  They then followed me all the way around the house to the front and supervised my setting and turning on the sprinkler.  Back around the house we trooped, until we got to the puppy house, where I produced their breakfast which I had set on a shelf in the puppy house when I went out.  I opened the baby gate and they streamed in; as they munched I closed the puppy house and the gate and left them to eat.

It looks like my Search & Rescue friends are not going to come to help me build the obstacle run, so I’ll have to do it by myself.  I got to thinking that perhaps I could do a little each morning during the ball sessions of the dogs who prefer me to be moving when I throw the ball rather than sitting in the chair:  Lively, GloryToo, Lovely & Cantor.  During Lively’s turn, I drug out the miniature dogwalk and A-frame and started trying to put them together.  They will take up the most room in the run and need to be on level ground (of which I don’t have a lot), so I wanted to get them positioned first.  I got the boards of the dogwalk fastened together.  I won’t use the stand since it’s way too high for puppies to learn on; I have some concrete blocks to put it on to start with.  The way the stand pieces are constructed, I can run a bar between them and create another form on which to hang things for the pups to push through.

When it was GloryToo’s turn for her ball session, I opened the gate and called the puppies, hoping they wouldn’t be the ankle-biters they were early this morning.  Hot weather has returned and it was already 80, and they were pretty quiet.  They followed us out and headed to my chair, then noticed I had continued walking.  The looks on their faces were funny.  They came out and were way too much help for me to get the A-frame connected, so I began bringing out the old agility stuff that I will use:  gates (NADAC no longer uses them in competition) will work great to channel the pups onto each obstacle; and I had a couple of pvc frames I had used to teach contacts; standing up they will work to hang jugs and other things on for the ups to push through.  I had to replace the sprinkler hoses on all my flower beds this spring and I think, cut into pieces, they’ll work great to hang in strips to form a moving curtain the pups have to push through.

The pups soon decided it was too hot in the sun and retreated to the nearest shade, so I went back to working on the A-frame.  GloryToo was quite happy that the pups disappeared and kept bringing the ball for me to throw so I’d have to put down what I was carrying in order the throw the ball.  When her time was up, I called the pups and all of us headed to the puppy house, where they were glad to stretch out in the cool.

During Lovely’s ball time I finally got the A-frame hooked together – with only one person it was quite a job to get the two pieces totally aligned so I could run the bar through the connectors.  I carried out enough agility gates to know that two of them, on end, are high enough to keep the puppies form falling off the highest part of the A-frame, and a gate set the regular way on either side of those protects the lower part.  I put the A-frame tight against the agility-field fence, which forms one side of the obstacle run fence.  It should work great. And I have some more chain to add to what came with the A-frame so we can have it set very low until they learn to go up and over it.

I decided that was quite enough work in the sun and that poor Cantor would have a boring ball session with me sitting in the chair in the shade, but I just couldn’t sit still the whole time with my brain going in creative mode.  Eventually I got up and wandered around looking for my concrete blocks, and in the process discovered some old garden hoses I had stored just in case I ever had a use for them.  Chaos, the puppies’ maternal grandfather had been a devil about hoses.  He destroyed my entire drip system on my shelterbelts by digging up the hoses and chewing them in pieces.  While I would be at work he would bored and hot and would attack the garden hoses hoping to create sprays of water that he could chase.  Duct tape would work just so long, so I’d set aside the (unintended) soaker hoses in case I needed one. 

I decided these old hoses, rolled up, would be great obstacles to teach the pups where to put their feet – do I step over the hose into the empty space in the middle or is there any way to go around? By the time I drug them all out, Cantor’s ball session was over.  Tomorrow I’ll haul the hoses and concrete blocks and other goodies with the cart I can pull with my riding mower.  I can’t do any more today because now it’s too hot in the sun and the pups go on another visit tonight at 7; by the time we get home it will be too late to work on the obstacle run.

The other day, I was going to throw away some hanging baskets which I haven’t used for years and which are starting to unravel, but then I thought they’d be great in the obstacle run, a totally new form of footing for the pups to negotiate. I thought I could alternate them – one right side up, the next upside down – to make them an even more interesting challenge to navigate through.  I was confirmed with that thought by watching Miss Purple last night mouthing with great interest the fiber “cup” of the planter.  The planters are already in the cart ready to be hauled back to the obstacle run.

By the time we headed to Claudia’s & Steve’s house for our visit, it was cooling off and the pups were read to play.  A friend, Jackie, came to the puppy party, too.  I was very pleased to see two intrepid explorers – Miss Purple and Mr. Blue – make a big circle to check things out in the new place before returning to visit.  The pups know Claudia but Steve and Jackie were strangers.  I’m particularly pleased to get them around men – and men wearing hats – as part of their socialization.

After visiting a bit, we moved into the huge run that will be Claudia’s pup’s special yard.  Claudia and Jackie had a great time alternately calling “Puppy, Puppy, Puppy” and watching the pups race from whoever had them to whoever called.  The pups got lots of exercise!  And lots of cuddling.

After the last pup collapsed (Miss Green this time), Jackie, Claudia and I sat and visited for a long while, just enjoying the pups’ recumbent forms.  Then Jackie left, and Claudia and I visited some more.  We tried to quietly get up so I could show Claudia a copy of GloryToo’s Reading Dog book, but heads popped up immediately.  We called the and got them moving – Miss Pink saying she was just too tired to get up and move – and let them mill around a bit (and potty) by my car while Claudia enjoyed the book.  Then I loaded them up and we headed home.  We had bene gone a good 90 minutes, quite an adventure for the pups. 

When I got home, I let GloryToo out of her crate before unloading the pups.  We then walked around as I set sprinklers and she let them nurse a tiny bit.  I then put the pups in their yard and quickly took out their supper so they’d eat before they crashed.  Adventures make them hungry and they jumped to the bowl and began chowing down, only Miss Green hesitating long enough to tell me good night.

41 Days (6/10)   I usually wake up about 5 a.m., but unless I have to be somewhere really early, I just crate the dog who was out all night, let Berakah & Hesed out, and go back to bed for another 45 minutes.  They love that early morning cuddle session, and Berakah will talk to me from her crate if I try to sleep in later than 5 anyway.  This morning, instead of letting them out, I let GloryToo out and put her in with her pups for a bit since she had been away from them all night.

The pups were very happy to see me (and breakfast) when I let GloryToo out.  From the way they fell on their meal, I didn’t think she let them nurse much at all.  Weaning is definitely happening.

When I went out for ball sessions, the pups were lounging at the gate in the cool shade but, for the first time, didn’t get up and whine and beg for attention.  They must have figured out that most of the traffic in and out of the back door doesn’t concern them, and that I’ll let them know when it’s their turn to be out.

I took out new toys for the pups to play with while GloryToo had her ball session.  They had a lot of fun playing tug, though they keep dropping the toys and beginning to wrestle.  They are now starting dominance battles to determine pack order. 

GloryToo was reluctant to let them nurse.  She didn’t stand as we got out to the ball area, and she “hid” the whole fifteen-minute play session.  Neither did she didn’t stand for them as I cleaned the puppy house either, but kept walking around.

I didn’t do poop detail in the puppy yards as I’m in a hurry today.  I need to be on time, or even a few minutes early, at the nursing homes so I can get home, load up the pups and head to my friend Denise’s house as close to 3 p.m. as possible.  Our mutual friend, Marlene, is meeting us there.  The pups will have their first car ride, go to their first new place AND meet their first two non-German Shepherds, a sheltie and a lab/pit mix.  Luckily we’re still having cool weather, so it should be a great day for an adventure.

When I cleaned the puppy house, the soiled newspapers finished filling the lawn/leaf bag so I decided to drag it up to the front of the house, where I’ll put it on the sidewalk for garbage pickup next Monday.  I was hoping the pups would follow me, since that is also the route to the car for today’s trip, and they haven’t             yet gone from the back to the front of the house.  Last week, after the visit, they had gone down the front steps and around the house from the front to the back, but puppies don’t generalize – because they have walked one way of a route, they’ll remember that, but going to opposite direction is a totally new experience.  Five pups followed GloryToo and me with the garbage bag and then back around the north end of the house to the puppy yard.  We started out with six but they kept darting off to explore this and that, returning, while another took off in a different direction.  But five is plenty to remember the route this afternoon!

Since the pups hadn’t nursed, I mixed in 3 cups of kibble with their 8 ounces of raw meat diet for their lunch.  They ate it all.

When it was time to head to Denise’s house, the followed me to the car like troopers.  Such smart puppies! They took turns yelling as we drove, but it wasn’t far.  Marlene and Denise helped carry the pups into Denise’s yard, where they met Hayden (sheltie) and Shiloh (lab/pit mix).  Both these dogs are GREAT with puppies and were excited to see them (and me, too, since before the pandemic we trained together and saw each other frequently).  The pups were shocked at first, but by the time I got there with my camera, after locking the car, they were tentatively chasing the big dogs who kept inviting them to play.  All of us had an absolute ball, including lots of laughter from the humans.  The pups alternated following the big dogs around with cuddling on all three humans, a great socializing experience.  Miss Purple explored a flower basket that Denise had on the ground, and after everyone else had collapsed she managed to grab Denise’s cap off her head and take off with it before she, finally, also collapsed.  I took them home to only occasional half-hearted complaints.  They followed me around the house to the puppy yard, headed for the water bowl, then collapsed right there.  I left them to rest, which they did for a couple of hours as their brains processed all the new impressions.

I didn’t bring them into my house tonight to play as I wanted those new experiences to go deep into memory. They were not happy. 

They didn’t eat all their supper so I figured they were still pretty tired.  At least, with GloryToo not in during the night, I could leave it in the puppy house in case anyone was hungry later.  This bunch hangs out in the puppy house more than most litters do, so they’ll take advantage of any food I leave.

40 Days (6/9)  It seemed like GloryToo barked off and on all night, a signal that she’s done spending all night with them.  Tonight she’ll sleep inside the house. Maybe I’ll get some sleep, too.

Miss Pink’s ears are up!

When I opened the puppy house door to put in their breakfast, two pups were curled comfortably on the blanket in the crate.  The others came in from the transition area.  They ate every crumb.

No puppies greeted me at the gate when I took Berakah & Hesed out for their ball session.  None played as we played, nor watched as we picked up poop in the back yard.  No one came out during Sprit’s ball session.  Nor Lively’s.  I was beginning to get a little worried.  But when I came out with GloryToo and opened the gate and called, they came boiling out of the transition area.  I took several toys out for them to play with.  First, though, they had nothing on their minds other than nursing and they mobbed GloryToo – and got a lesson in manners when they did so.  Crushed, they came back to where I was for some attention. And then they were ready to play.  I photographed quite a few tug battles.

When GloryToo’s time was up, we headed back to the puppy yard.  I cleaned the house and did poop detail to the cries of nearly everyone wanting to get back in and take a nap.  Mr. Blue yelled quite loudly, going along the fence line parallel to me as I looked for poop, to be sure I realized he was unhappy.  I was relieved to get done and put everyone in the yard.  Quiet descended abruptly.  I fixed their lunch and put it in the puppy house, where 4 pups were already curled.  The other two came in from the transition area.

I saw no puppies during Mercy’s ball session, or Lovely’s.  I didn’t see any life when I went out with Cantor, but while I was watching him return with the ball, a “WOOF!” split the air.  I jumped.  He jumped.  I looked around and there was Miss White racing on the long level ramp of the obstacle course, chasing Miss green and Miss Yellow who were running under it.  When I said something laughingly to Cantor, the pups heard me and came running.  They evidently had gone out to the back of the yard while I was inside the house and they didn’t know I was out there either.  They spent the rest of Cantor’s playtime talking to me through the fence and trying to chew on the fingers I pushed through to pet them.

My friend, Michelle, came to visit the pups tonight.  For their new experience, I put down a plastic kiddie pool and sprinkled treats in it.  I even put three tennis balls in the pool for them to have to move around as they searched for the treats, an introduction to the bottles I’ll begin to put in the pool next time.  Each time the come in, they’ll find more bottles hiding the treats to make them work harder.   The pups definitely understood the game and worked with great intent to get into the pool – and to exit it when they’d cleaned up the treats.  Throughout Michelle’s visit I periodically sprinkled more treats in the pool without calling attention to it, and watched to see which pups would check out the pool every so often.

I set the ex-pen sections to make one small opening at the entrance to the living room.  After a while I complicated matters by extending the sections to make a couple of dead-end v’s on either side of the opening.  The pups calmly backed out of the dead-end “v” and turned to find the opening.  Miss Pink and Miss Green found it great fun to grab the edge of the flannel runner and try to pull it through the “v.”

I put down a bunch of new toys plus some newly-arrived packing material – a bubble wrap and some long streams of brown paper.  They had a great time playing and visiting with Michelle (and me).  The bubble wrap didn’t last any time at all; those sharp puppy teeth quickly deflated it.  They had fun dragging around the paper strips, though.

After the pups crashed, Michelle and I continued to visit for quite a while since we hadn’t seen each other for months.  Four of the pups fell asleep cuddling by me, one by Michelle and Miss Yellow fell asleep in the pool after she searched thoroughly for any last crumbs.  I really wanted to get a photo of her napping there but didn’t dare move and disturb the pups leaning on me.  Eventually she woke up, noticed Michelle, climbed out of the pool and went over to cover her face with kisses.  I knew soon she was going to need to pee after her long nap, so I quickly got up, called all the pups, raced them down the hallway and out the doggie door and down the ramp.  Amazingly, I managed to accomplish all that before anyone peed.  Once they were on the ground and moving, I put them into the puppy yard for a well-deserved nap.  Since I started the nose games, they haven’t eaten much early supper after munching on the salmon treats, so I skipped that meal.  I fed them a big late super just before bedtime, and they cleaned that up.  Then I put GloryToo in with them, leaving the top part of the gate open so she could come out when she was done.  She only stayed in with them about 15 minutes, then spent her remaining 15 minutes cuddling with me.  When her time was up, I crated her, closed the puppy yard gate, and left them for their first night without mom.  Today have been chilly and the puppy house seemed a little cook, so I turned the heater on very low so they had an option to stay warm on this first night alone.

39 Days (6/8)  When I let GloryToo out of the puppy yard this morning, not a pup was in sight.  Sensibly, they were curled up somewhere staying dry after last night’s multiple storms.  As I opened the door, I saw Miss Green and Mr. Blue inside the house.  I decided to step into the puppy house and see if I could call the pups in rather than have to lift them.  I closed the door so that the sound of my voice would only come from the transition area as I called.  Two more pups must have been in the transition area, because they came speeding in.  I had to call a little more, and bang on the side of the transition area, before the other two came, and they came into it from the lounge area.  I was tickled that all came so easily.  Usually at least one hangs up at the gate where they can see mom waiting for me; sometimes the whole bunch remains there, yelling, the first time I try this.  This has a built-in reward:  the first ones who come get to eat immediately with no competition.  While I was in the puppy house, I decided to untie the flap so that it will hang normally, though from being tied up it will have a curve that makes it easy for the pups to figure out to push their way out.  The mosquitos have come out with a vengeance the last couple of days and all the rain will bring out more, so I want it harder for them to find their way inside.

Right now, not knowing how much GloryToo is nursing them even when she spends a lot of time with them, it’s hard to estimate how much food to give them.  It’s a little nippy this morning (43 degrees), so they may want a big meal.  Also, they didn’t eat all their supper last night.  I offered them 2.5 cups of kibble mixed with the 8 ounces of raw meat diet.  GloryToo wanted back in with them after her thirty-minutes of just being a dog and hanging out with me, so instead of crating her as I had planned, I put her in the puppy house.  They cleaned up every crumb.  She looked disappointed; she probably hoped for a nice extra snack like she had last night.  I left her in with them for a while and then brought her inside.

Miss Purple’s ears are up!  The tip of one is a little floppy, but it’s up.  Miss Green’s are starting to come up.

When I went out with Berakah and GloryToo for their ball session, Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow were playing chase around the trunk of the tree close to the puppy house.  They had a great time going around and around and around, though it made me dizzy to watch them.  I could see a couple of other pups running around way in the back by the obstacle course but couldn’t see collar colors.  When we did poop detail in the back yard, all the pups came out from the lounge area to follow us along the fence.

It’s cool this morning so I had my chair in the sun farther along the fence line of the puppy yard, in front of the drive-through gate at the far end next to the obstacle course, rather than under the tree.  As I was throwing the ball for Lively, I saw movement. Out from under the obstacle course came Miss Yellow and Miss White.  Miss White seemed to be limping, so I looked closely and saw that her collar was loose enough (probably from a puppy tugging on it) that she had gotten a front leg over it.  I squeezed through the big gate and fixed her, but they escaped as I tried to go back through.  Lively loves babies, and these are her granddaughters, so I figured they’d be fine out with us until we finished.  She is a sable, so they learned that dogs come in different colors but still smell the same.  The pups were too busy visiting with me and convincing me to lift them into my lap to even notice Lively until we got done.  They followed us to the house and investigated Lively.  She gave a low growl when they tried to nurse, which seemed to hurt their feelings.  They haven’t been around anyone other than their mother except visiting through the fence as the big dogs check them out.  Miss White came to me while Miss Yellow turned the other way and climbed the first two deck steps.  I corralled both of them and gave them hugs before putting them in with their siblings.

GloryToo’s ball session was next.  When we came outside, I opened the gate and puppies came racing out – three from way back in the yard.  They headed towards the gate to the ball yard as fast as they could go, Miss Purple tugging on my pant legs as I tried to walk.  They were close enough to her when I threw the ball to follow it, and all six thundered after her.  Of courses she outdistanced them, but they stayed WAY out in the tall-grass area (I don’t mow the back part of my place until about the first of July to give the wildflowers a chance to bloom and seed).  When she returned with her ball, she let them nurse a bit before heading back to me for another throw.  They heard me greet her and came racing back and were so busy visiting with me that they didn’t see her leave for the next throw.  After that throw, she stopped a ways out from us and did quite a long session of CARROTing, the first I’ve seen since she whelped.  It’s still cool and the damp ground must have felt super good. 

Clouds kept coming over and spitting raindrops so I had to put an old tarp over my chair to keep it dry.  The pups found it quite interesting to tug on and that it made a neat little “cave” under the chair. 

Several of the pups insisted on being helped up to sit in my lap – Mr. Blue first, then Miss Pink and Miss Green.  Miss Green said once she was up, she was staying and spent quite a while giving me intense eye contact.  She is SO cute!  I think “Sprite” should be her call name.  She continues to campaign to be the pup I keep so we had a discussion as she sat there.  I told her cute wasn’t enough, that she had to have better retrieve drive, intense drives all around and a better nose than the others if she wanted to stay.  I told her she’s a definite therapy dog prospect, which I also look for, but that isn’t enough.  She listened intently to all this and, as soon as I finished talking, leaned forward and tried to nip my nose.  What a character.

GloryToo came back for another ball throw and the pups again followed her out partway, though this time they came back to me.  By that time, it was quitting time so I got up and GloryToo led all of us back to the house.  The pups tried to get her to nurse them while I cleaned the puppy house but didn’t seem to have much luck, because when I looked up, I saw Mr. Blue, Miss Yellow and Miss pink heading up the ramp onto the deck.  Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow stretched out to rest, but Miss Pink went to the doggie door and was trying to figure out how to get into the house. 

Meanwhile, Miss Green sat at the baby gate keeping her out of the puppy house and watched me replace papers.  Since it’s still cool, I decided to put a blanket in the old fiberglass crate that I have inside the puppy house.  I mainly use it during the winter as a totally draft-free bed for them and hadn’t set it up since it was so hot Saturday.  Maybe they’ll rest in it and not pee on it.  We’ll see.

I then climbed over the half gate to do poop detail in the puppy yard.  Miss Purple was not happy and sat at the gate and yelled; I think she was getting tired and wanted to go to bed.  I ignored her and cleaned the yard.  Already I’m seeing puppy poops at the far end, beyond the obstacle course, which is where GloryToo always poops.  Either they’re following her when she goes back to poop or they have already found the great place to play under the obstacle course ramps and landings. As I did poop detail, I noticed Miss Green and a couple of others had followed GloryToo back out to the ball area.

When I finished and came out, I could only find 5 pups.  Uh oh, I thought, has someone gotten into the house?  I needed to fix their lunch anyway, so I went in.  Yep, there was Mr. Blue, all happy with himself.  While I fixed their lunch, Miss Purple came roaring in and leapt onto GloryToo to try to nurse.  She was insulted when GloryToo growled and go up.  She really has a sense of entitlement.

While I was inside, I grabbed my camera to see if I could get photos of them on the deck and out in the ball area – especially shots of those ears that are standing up.  I had planned on mowing before I took photos of them in the ball area, but the storms last night ended my plans of mowing after Mass.  I put the food bowl inside the puppy house and called the ones who were on the deck with me to join the others by my chair.  I tried to get group photos but Miss Green kept following me around so closely that I couldn’t get her in the photos.  When she finally stopped, I shot a few of her.  They were getting tired and crabby but I got a few photos before we walked up to the puppy house and I put them inside with their lunch.  They weren’t too tired to eat, though!

When Cantor and I headed to the house after his ball session, the pups were just beginning to stir outside the transition are.  That reminded me that yesterday they had been visiting with him and me through the fence as I threw his ball.  They didn’t play as hard, nor were they out as long with GloryToo and me, yesterday so they had rested and were playing by the time I brought him out.  Today, though, we managed to wipe them out.

The grass dried off enough to allow me to mow late this afternoon, so the pups had the new experience of a riding mower roaring past them on one side as I mowed the ball yard and then the back area, then on the other side as I mowed the back yard and then the front yard.  I mow for about 40 minutes, “helped” by one or two of the big dogs, then we go inside and they cool off for about 10 minutes before I crate them and let another dog out to help on the next bit of mowing, so the pups had a chance to relax before the mower came close on the other side.  When I started the back yard, several of the pups were by the front gate, so I called to them.  They were not impressed, and all disappeared into either the transition area or the puppy house.  I didn’t have to mow their yard yet; when I do GloryToo will be with them and the gates will be open for them to leave as they wish.

I arranged the pups’ first visit:  Wednesday afternoon they go to visit my friend, Denise.  I’m trying to arrange trips to safe yards of people I know since they will be unable to go to the nursing homes.  At least they will learn to ride in the car and that doing so takes them to fun places to explore.

Before I brought them in tonight, I set up some “new” things.  Instead of an obstacle of boards to go over, they had two sections of ex-pens blocking off part of the kitchen hallway.  Originally, I set the first about halfway along the kitchen hallway and the second at the doorway into the living room.  On the first barrier, they had to find the open space which was to their left as they came into the house; on the second, the opening was on their right.  Once they barely slowed as they changed directions while racing back and forth down the hall, I moved the first section and put about a foot away from the second section, on the other side of the hallway, so that they had to slow down to weave between the two.  They figured that out amazingly fast; only a couple of times did anyone hang up at a section of ex-pen and try to climb rather than look to right or left.  I managed to get photos of Miss Green figuring that out.  One time a couple of them were wrestling and knocked down a section with a crash, but they just moved over and went back to wrestling.  Towards the end Mr. Blue was having a ball weaving between the two and then roaring down the hallway.  Then he’d turn and come back full speed, then check to weave through the barriers before bounding into the living room.

As they entered the living room the first time, they found a little collapsible pool. They didn’t pay much attention to it until I crated GloryToo and crumbled salmon treats into the pool.  Then they did a lot of leaning over the edge, trying to grab a bit, before eventually they began crawling – not very gracefully – into the pool.  Miss Yellow at first was reluctant to get into the pool and sat there looking at me, which I ignored.  Eventually she got in.  Miss White got in but couldn’t seem to figure out to put her head down and search for the treats.  Of course, the bodies pretty well filled the pool so the later entrants didn’t have much of a chance.  Miss Pink wasn’t very interested in the pool; she kept searching the floor where they found them last night.  Sorry, Miss Pink, the game has changed.

After they cleaned up all the treats, I put a bunch of new toys on the floor and everyone left the pool for the toys.  Once they were engaged, I quietly crumbled more treats into the pool and watched to see who would find them.  Miss Green and Miss Purple were first.  Miss White climbed in by herself and finally had a chance to see what was there. I’ll soon substitute a larger pool, and once they know the game, will begin adding plastic bottles that they have to push aside in order to get to the treats.

They alternated between playing with the toys and cuddling with me for about 25 minutes, then began to crash.  Mr. Blue got all agitated and kept heading down the hallway.  In case he was trying to go outside to potty, I got up, called the girls and hurried down the hall.  I lifted him out first, then the girls.  As soon as they made it down the ramp they all piddled.  Then I put them into the puppy yard through the gate, crumbling a bit of salmon treats just inside to encourage them to go through.

I left them to rest and digest the salmon treats before I took them their late supper.  They didn’t eat all of it, which thrilled GloryToo when I put her in with them for the night.

38 Days (6/7)  Only one pup was outside, lying near the gate, when I took out their breakfast.  GloryToo was on the lounge area roof, unaccompanied by any pup.  The others were either in the transition area or the puppy house.  I didn’t get the bowl into the house soon enough to stop five of the pups from coming to the gate, so I lifted them into the house.  Miss Purple was missing, so I called, and she came into the puppy house from the transition area.  She must have been asleep in there.  After GloryToo had her thirty minutes to visit with me and check out my two acres, I crated her instead of putting her back with the pups.  Now that they’re in the big puppy yard, she can begin spending most of the day away from them.  Because she’ll be nursing them less as we begin weaning, I cut her own meals back.  She still gets 4 meals, but less kibble and less meat at each.

When it was time for GloryToo’s ball session, the pups got to join us.  I opened the 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.  All of them came bouncing out.  Of course, they saw GloryToo heading that way, which helped.  This was a new area but you would have sworn they’d been there 100 times already.  They calmly followed, bounced and played with each other, and made not a sound of complaint. 

Because of a foot condition, I try not to be on my feet any more than necessary so I have a chair that I sit in to throw the ball.  GloryToo 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.  When she returned with the ball, she lay down in the shade about 20’ away.  None of the pups saw her because they were too busy visiting with me.  Miss Yellow tried to climb into my lap and kept trying until I lifted her up, at which she was very happy and settled down to visit.  Miss Green, as is her custom, sat as close to me as she could ad looked up at me until I finally put Miss Yellow down and picked her up.  She isn’t as much of a lap sitter as Miss Yellow is and was soon ready to get down.  The others were content to be petted on the ground, including Miss White who was busy untying my shoelaces.

GloryToo lunged in the shade the entire 15 minutes and I had a feeling she was hiding from them.  She got up when I did and led the pups back to the back yard, letting them nurse while I cleaned the puppy house and did poop detail.  I had put a small fleece pad in the new house to make them comfortable, thinking perhaps they wouldn’t pee on it, but they did, so no more fleece pads from now on.  While they hung out with GloryToo, I went into the house and fixed their lunch.  They had eaten all their breakfast so I again mixed 2 cups of kibble with 8 ounces of meat raw diet.  I opened the puppy house door, put down the bowl, and called.  Five came right away.  The missing one was Miss Purple, which somehow didn’t surprise me.  She had turned left and was busy exploring behind the open door.  When I called again, she bounced into sight and joined the others, who already had their heads down, eating.  I fed GloryToo her lunch in the house and then crated her.

I had intended to feed the pups before I left at 4:15 for Mass, but I was in the car before I remembered.  I had been so intent on editing puppy photos that I lost track of time until the alarm went off and it was time to change clothes and go.  This is the first weekend back to regular Masses after the shutdown.  We have to be there 30 minutes early since seating is controlled to maintain social distancing and we have to wait for ushers to take us to a pew.  I’m not used to the new schedule and was blissfully enjoying the cute puppy photos instead of remembering to get moving early.  Since the pups were now in the safe puppy yard, GloryToo was able to go with me and enjoy sitting in the car during Mass.  She was thrilled.

We had several WILD thunderstorms move through during Mass, with torrential rain and pea-sized hail.  As it roared on the church roof, I worried about the pups.  Nothing I could do about it, but I hoped they were safely in one of the sheltered areas and not too bothered by all the thunder.  When I got home, I raced to check on them.  All were dry and happy – and hungry.  I fixed their early supper and took it out, and they ate all of it.  I then put GloryToo in for a few minutes to nurse them, then took her out until bedtime.  We continued to have storms move through so I didn’t try to bring the pups into the house for a playtime and chance all of us getting drenched when it was time for them to go out.

I doubted they would eat all of their late supper since the early one was so late (6:30), but I fixed the usual amount just in case and fed them about 10 p.m.  Thirty minutes later, I put GloryToo in with them.  She made a beeline for their bowl, happy to supplement her reduced rations. 

37 Days (6/6)  I noticed when I took them breakfast that Miss Pink’s ears are both up, and Miss Purple’s left ear is up.  I increased the kibble to about 2 cups, at the same time reducing the raw meat to 8 ounces.  They ate the lot, so I will continue doing that at all their meals today. 

They have pretty much flattened the smaller cardboard box, so I removed it.  They still like to run through the larger one so I left it.

A hot, dry wind blew all night, making things miserable, and it was 80 degrees when I got up this morning.  After feeding the pups and crating GloryToo, as I rotated dogs this morning, instead of editing photos, I started getting the big puppy yard ready for occupancy.  With no dew on the ground, during Spirit’s thirty-minute morning rotation I was able to mow the big puppy yard before 7 a.m.  During Lively’s morning rotation, I chopped down all the weeds in front of the lounge area.  There is barely room to walk between that and the fence so it’s impossible to mow, and cheat grass tries to grow there.   I filled the kiddie pool that goes about halfway back in the long yard (for GloryToo right now, though the pup will eventually drink from it as they play in the back half of the yard), set a sprinkler going so the big puppy yard would be cool for them when I moved the pups there later this afternoon, and also set a sprinkler on the baby puppy pen so it would stay cool until the move. 

I moved them to the big puppy yard at 5 p.m.  By that time, the big puppy house and the surrounding part of the puppy yard have been shaded for an hour as the sun moves to the other side of the house, so the puppies would be comfortable as they explored their new digs.  I called them out of the baby puppy yard and led them to the big puppy yard, which is just about 15′ from the deck steps.  GloryToo led them in through the big door into the puppy house and showed them how to leave through its doggie door into the transition area. 

As I stood at the fence filling their water buckets, I could hear puppies crying in the house, so I called them.  Soon 5 came out.  Where was #6?  No one was crying in the puppy house, but as soon as the buckets were full, I checked to be sure.  No one there.  Strange.  I called, and the only ones who answered were the five in the big puppy yard.  I walked back to the baby puppy pen and there was Miss Purple, happily chewing on a toy, oblivious that she was missing all the excitement and selectively deaf.  I carried her to the big puppy house and lifted her in.  She would have to figure out how to come out all on her own.  I called after a couple of minutes, and eventually she came out and joined the rest. 

While I was waiting for her, I could see Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow racing full tilt around the large grassy yard, enjoying being on cool lawn.  After cleaning up the baby puppy house and carrying the garbage can to its new position, I left them to explore without the distraction of wanting to visit with me.

I gave the pups an hour to get used to their new location and then took their early supper to them.  When I got outside, I could see GloryToo on the roof of the lounge area.  That was no surprise, because it’s a favorite spot of the moms when they want to get away from their babies.  The surprise came when she flew down the ramp:  Miss Yellow was up there, too.  The pups usually take about a week to brave climbing the ramp to get on the roof, but not her.  I let GloryToo out and put the food bowl into the puppy house, whose door opens into my back yard. I no longer have to go through the puppy yard to get into the puppy house.  The transition area in this yard has two doggie doors; the pups can choose, once they come out of the puppy house, to turn left into the lounge area or right to a small area where there is a gate looking towards the deck.  The lounge area is a three-sided, south-facing place that offers a place in the summer to stretch out in the shade or when it’s raining without going into the puppy house; in winter, a protected, sunny spot.  The roof is flat and offers another lounging area that is accessed by two ramps, on facing the deck, one on the south side and then a set of metal steps off the east side.  The pups love it.  They usually don’t use the metal steps until just before they leave here as they present quite a challenge.  They’re the old steps my mobile home came with, very open, with big spaces between each step, and the steps are grills rather than solid.

Feeding the pups presents a problem the first few days.  When they first move into the big puppy yard, they generally hang up at the gate that faces my deck and can’t figure out to turn away from me (and the food bowl), go into the transition area and then into the puppy house.  Until they learn to turn away my presence by the gate, I have to lift them over the bottom half-gate and rotate to the left to 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 over the doggie door which seems to help them find their way out – it’s getting into the house that doesn’t make sense to them.

After they ate, I put GloryToo in with them for another hour.  When I went out to bring the whole family into the house, GloryToo again was on top of the lounge area, with Miss Yellow lying beside her. She looked so much like a real GSD, lying there with both ears alertly up.  Without other people distracting them, the pups had little trouble finding the entrance to the ramp. After they followed me up to the deck, I lifted them into the house through the doggie door and (barely) managed to get inside myself before they started tumbling back out onto the deck.  I got the girls to come to me, but Mr. Blue insisted on going out, so I had to go to the doggie door (on the house side), lift the flap and call until he finally found the opening.  He was, of course, wandering around the deck, crying and looking for the others.        

As we came into the house, the pups looked both for barriers to jump and for toys and seemed disappointed to find neither.  While they raced up and down the kitchen hallway, I grabbed them one at a time, weighed them and wormed them.  I had to weigh a couple of them a second time to be sure I had the weights correct as they didn’t hold very still on the scale.  The digital scale is great, but it does need a couple of seconds to register the weight.  Mr. Blue is still the largest (10.4#), but he is pressed strongly by Miss Pink (10.3#).  Miss White is next at 10.0#, then Miss Purple (9.8#), Miss Yellow (9.7#) and finally Miss Green (9.1#).

I was just too tired tonight to get very ambitious or dig out new toys; I just put down the puppy adventure box and crumbled some salmon treats inside it.  GloryToo was going to hog all the treats, so I crated her and put more treats out for the pups, who remembered from last night and seriously searched until they found all the pieces.

I sat quietly on a dog bed and just waited for them to notice me and come for our love-in.  Miss Green, naturally, was the first to find me and enjoyed my lap after giving me some beautiful eye contact as she sat by my side.  She is a cuddler supreme.  Miss Yellow was next, then Miss White, then Miss Purple, who first had had to race up and down the hallway and attack several objects on the adventure box.  She is a pup who definitely likes to make things happen.  Mr. Blue wasn’t in a cuddly mood tonight and didn’t come into my lap, preferring to stretch out close by.  They were much better on “no bite” tonight and quickly gave kisses instead.

Miss Purple, Miss Yellow and Mr. Blue made a game of racing to the elevated dog bed, jumping up on it (well, trying to jump up), running across it, jumping down and tearing off.

When all had had enough loving and were crashing, I led them to the doggie door and lifted them out.  All of them followed me down the ramp except Miss White, who started to try the steps but chickened out and had to pull herself up onto the landing before joining us on the ramp.  I opened the puppy house door, called the pups and sprinkled a few salmon treats on the floor to reward them for coming and for going into the new house.  Then I left them for a while before feeding them their late super and putting GloryToo in with them for the night.  They didn’t eat all their supper; in fact, they fell asleep around the bowl.  It had been an eventful day for them.          

36 Days (6/5)  Miss Yellow’s ears are totally up!  Miss Pink had her right ear up.  I love it when their ears start coming up and they begin to look like real German Shepherds.

They mobbed me at the gate this morning, so I set the food down right there.  I had the inspiration that I could change collars while they ate, so I got them from the house where I had them ready.   I had gotten the out yesterday since they are now large enough for real collars.  Perhaps photos will be easier (and quicker) to edit as these bigger, wider collars show up better through their fuzzy hair.

I added 1.5 cups of kibble to their 8 ounces of meat and they cleaned it up.  Obviously, GloryToo is beginning to wean them, so as I increase their food, I’ll begin decreasing hers.  Once they move to the big puppy yard, I can leave a bowl of kibble in the puppy house at night, though it’s too hot to have it there during the day.

They were obviously expecting a love in, but it will have to wait since I’m trying to get all the dogs cared for before leaving for agility class.

It’s time to begin looking for a natural desire to use the nose and search for things, and to teach them how to ask appropriately for attention (sitting rather than jumping up), so this morning, while it was still cool, I baked a batch of my salmon training treats.  Canned salmon, eggs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and flour–very simple, and nicely smelly and irresistible to dogs.  Plus they’re soft so they are easy for the puppies to eat when they find pieces, an immediate reward.

I had just enough time after class and before my next appointment to do poop detail in all the yards and to clean the puppy house.  Again, they were not pleased that I didn’t stop to visit, but I promised them that Claudia was coming this afternoon and she would play a lot with them.

We had hoped that the puppies could go visit her, having their first ride in the crates in the car and a new place to explore, but the temperature was close to 90, way too hot.  So Claudia came here and we brought them into the cool of the living room.  They followed us nicely to the deck and only needed a little help to go up the ramp.  I lifted them through the doggie door while Claudia hurried inside to call them so they didn’t try to come back out to me.  I had put down a taller board as a barrier, which didn’t faze them at all.  I had also put down the puppy adventure box since Claudia wanted to see them interact with it.  Once I crated GloryToo, I put down a bunch of toys AND crumbled the salmon treats into small pieces onto the floor in the middle of the adventure box.  Miss White, Mr. Blue and Miss Purple immediately started eating them.  The others were too busy playing with the new toys and visiting with Claudia, so I put pieces on the floor between Claudia and me, where they’d get a sniff as they played.  Heads went down and most of the pups ignored everything else until they had consumed most of the treats.  Long after the others left the treats, Miss Pink continued to search, even going under the table to get ones that had bounced.  She got the award for best use of nose tonight.

They played a lot, including hauling toys over the barrier into the kitchen, where they seem to just like lying on the flannel runner.  They’re getting better at getting over it with the toy rather than losing the toy on one side as they figure out how to get to the other side.

Tonight Miss White figured out how to get up on the elevated dog bed.  She, Miss Yellow and Miss Purple would detour to get close to it and get on it. Miss Purple even crawled under it and thought about staying for an undisturbed nap, but soon came out because she was afraid she was missing something.  She and Mr. Blue also spent the most time going back and forth through the adventure box and mouthing different hanging objects.  Miss White and Mr. Blue really enjoy “rough” tummy rubs, where the human not only rubs their tummy but also rolls them back and forth from side to side.  She also played with the adventure box objects.  

Finally all the pups crashed. They were so dead to the world that I was able to cut everyone’s nails and didn’t even need Claudia’s help holding anyone.  That’s unusual at this age.

After that, we carried the pups down the hall and put them out the doggie door, Claudia going out to call the down the ramp so they didn’t try to come back inside.  They followed us to the puppy yard and collapsed at the gate, though they tried to summon enough energy to while that we needed to pet them some more. 

As soon as Claudia left, I fixed their early supper and took it out as it was late.  I barely got an eye to open from the puppy huddle against the gate.  Miss Pink was the only one who made the effort to go to the bowl that I put on the ground close to everyone.  She ate a pretty decent amount, very slowly.  Mr. Blue leaned his head over the edge of the bowl and took a couple of mouthfuls before falling asleep again.  Meanwhile, I was cleaning the puppy house.  When I finished, they were still comatose, so I took the bowl to the fridge and left them to sleep.

They didn’t finish supper, either, and were still sleepy.  Between the heat and playing so hard in the cool house, they were zonked.

35 Days (6/4)  Since the pups had no fourth meal yesterday, I was up earlier than usual to give them breakfast.  They met me at the gate and cleaned up the lot!  This morning, Miss Yellow’s ears are nearly up, so cute.

When I went in to do poop detail, Miss Green and Miss Purple were awake.  Miss Purple came right up to me but Miss Green hesitated, unsure until I spoke.  Then she recognized me.  It was the first time they’ve seen me with the shovel and poop bucket so I must have looked strange, perhaps not human, at first.

I sat on the grass and we had a nice love in, with all the pups giving kisses instead of biting.  Amazing!  I had forgotten to take my light gloves off and they were quite fascinated by them and tried to chew on them and eventually bite.  But that was okay and we ended our love in with no “NO bite” lessons.

I found puppy poops at the very far end of the puppy yard.  That means they’re utilizing all of the yard and it’s time for them to move to the big puppy yard, which is at least 3 times as large.  I just need to mow that yard again and to clean that puppy house and chop out some weeds that grow right by the lounge area which I can’t get to with a mower.  Hopefully the weather listens to the forecast and we have a couple of cooler days so I can get that done and move them.

After GloryToo’s ball session, I brought her in and crated her rather than put her out with the pups.  She’s asking for more time away from them and I don’t have to go anywhere until agility class at 5.   I fed the pups much earlier and can feed them their early supper before I go to class.

It’s not supposed to be as hot today, but just in case, I turned on the sprinkler as I left the yard.

I kept thinking, as I wrote yesterday’s diary entry, that I was forgetting something.  It wasn’t until I took out the pups’ lunch today that I remembered.  Yesterday, when I took lunch out, three of the pups had been in the bigger cardboard box, so they must be enjoying them.

I let GloryToo spend a couple of hours in the house, putting her out with the pups just before I left for class, after she and they had had their early supper.  When I got home, I brought her in for another couple of hours.

Since they had cleaned up every bit of the days’ three meals, tonight when I fixed their late supper, I added another ¼ cup of kibble.  When I took it to them, Miss Purple raced through one of the cardboard boxes to get to me.  The pups had trouble deciding whether to visit with me or eat.  Since I wanted them to eat so we all could go to bed, I left the yard.  A couple followed me to the gate while the rest pounced on their food.  I didn’t hear any crying so I’m sure those two turned back to supper before it disappeared.

They were obviously expecting a playtime inside, but by the time I do agility class and then the weekly grocery run, it’s too late to bring them in and still rotated all the big dogs out before most are crated for the night. 

When I took GloryToo out, they had eaten every morsel, so I’ll begin offering that much at every meal. 

34 Days (6/3)  Even though it was a little cool this morning, the pups were all out in the yard.  They must have been hungry because our greetings were perfunctory and they just about led me to the puppy house so I could put their food inside.  GloryToo and I set sprinklers before going inside so she could have her breakfast and get a little loving, then I put her back with the puppies until ball sessions begin.  She didn’t have many leftovers to clean up from the puppies’ breakfast.

They were in the transition area when I wet in to do poop detail, but no one came out until I picked p the empty food bowl.  I think Miss White and Miss Green were looking for me, because they were at the bowl almost instantaneously.  The others came charging out shortly afterwards, so I sat on the grass and we had our morning love in. I noticed immediately that Miss Yellow’s ears are way up from the base, starting to work on standing up.  Miss Pink’s and Miss White’s are starting to come up.

Several pups had to have “NO bite!” lessons this morning.  Then Miss Yellow, Miss White and Miss Purple crawled into my lap and gave me lots of kisses, like they were really trying to understand what I wanted and didn’t want.  I have them lots of praise, “Good kisses!” and leaned my head down so it was easy to kiss my cheeks.

I then changed the newspapers.  The lawn/leaf bag was nearly full – and would be full after this morning’s batch of dirty newspapers, so when I took the metal can lid off, I dropped it to the ground from about 10” and then left it.  All the pups leisurely went over to check it out and walk over it.  I left it there; I’ll put a new lawn/leaf bag in the can ad close it up when I let GloryToo back in after her ball session.

After I left the yard, I rummaged in the big puppy house for several “outdoor” toys, mostly small Jolly Balls with ropes tied in the handles.  I threw them over the fence into the baby puppy yard so they landed past where the pups were.  As I walked away, I could see pups heading forward to investigate but couldn’t see collars to know who was.

They got lunch a little early as I had to leave to do therapy dog visits.  When I took it out, Miss White and Mr. Blue were curled around one of the toys, sound asleep, while Miss Green was contentedly curled in a hole at the base of the lilac bush, a nice cool spot.  Today was miserably hot, so they didn’t eat quite all of their lunch.  When I returned, I let GloryToo into the house to enjoy some air conditioning.  The pups were sprawled out in cool spots from the sprinkler.

A woman from Casper had asked for help with her pup (not one of mine), so I had arranged for her to bring him up at 5, and for some trainers from Gillette to come help with the evaluation.  Since the pups are still in the baby puppy pen (vulnerable to varmints), I never leave home without GloryToo being in with them. She wasn’t excited about going back out in the heat while we people headed to our shadiest local park and found the coolest spot possible to work with the pup.  That done, all of them wanted to play with the pups.

Before we brought the pups (and GloryToo) into the house, I set up two wooden barriers, slightly taller than the fleece roll, and gathered up new toys to give them after I had crated GloryToo to keep her from stealing them.  The pups came boiling out of the puppy yard to enthusiastically greet everyone and head with us to the house.  All but Miss Pink followed me up the ramp; she got lost trying to keep track of the extra people.  We lifted them inside through the doggie door.

My visitors got a huge kick out of the pups acting like they were in a steeplechase, racing down the kitchen hallway and trying to jump the boards without slowing down.  They didn’t do that too well as they tended to jump straight up and come down on the board instead of past it, but by the end of the evening they were doing quite well.  I put both boards in the kitchen so that the fleece runner gave them good traction to work on going over the boards.  Tonight, my guests settled on the end of the living room close to the kitchen and I was on the other end, so I didn’t get any photos of pups negotiating the boards. 

GloryToo got to greet the visitors again (she had met them when they first arrived), then I crated her, put down the toys, and the play began.  The pups had a great time playing with the visitors, two of whom were men – their first experience with men.  At one point, Greg quit playing with Miss White to say something to us, and she looked him in the eye and barked to get him working HER toy again.  We all got a good laugh out of that.

One of the toys I put out was a thin (fragile) squeaky toy.  It depresses easily so they could pick it up.  They had a great time both exploring the noise (and resulting air puff) and following it as it rolled before they grabbed it.  Miss Purple especially liked that ball. 

I didn’t see any puppy tug battles tonight because, with three people, they were too busy playing with humans.  Miss Yellow figured out how to get on the elevated bad and walked across it to get to me.  She was QUITE proud of herself.

At 7:30, my visitors reluctantly tore them selves away from the puppies since they had miles to go to get home.  I decided to have the pups follow them out the front door, which has stairs off the landing into a mudroom – new experience.  We got them all out onto the landing and then squeezed past them onto the flor and then out the door. The pups didn’t think they could do steps – always a scary experience the first time since their eyes aren’t mature enough to give good depth perception – but they wanted to come to us.  After a little protest, Miss White and Miss Purple went down the steps pretty gracefully and came proudly to me, very proud of themselves, and of course got lots of praise from all of us.  Miss Green was next.  The others would go down a step and then try to turn and go back up it, almost go off the edge and have to be put back fully on the step, but eventually, with a lot of verbalizing, all negotiated the steps.  Whew!  That was really hard work, Grandma!

After helping praise the pups, my visitors headed to their cars.  A couple of the pups followed along the fence as they walked by, while the others went the opposite direction, exploring.  I called them and eventually got all of them together and facing the right direction so they could follow me around the house to the back and on to the puppy yard. They hadn’t been in any of this area yet so it was a slow process as I allowed them to explore and we had to go through two gates that offered enticing distractions to the right and left.  They did quite well, though I could tell they were getting really tired from all the excitement and new experiences to process.  I shut them into the puppy yard and quickly fixed their supper, taking it to them and shutting it, and them into the puppy house.  I gave them 30 minutes to eat before putting GloryToo in with them, taking out the food bowl, and leaving them for the night.  No way were they going to want a fourth meal tonight.

33 Days (6/2)  Cheerful little faces greeted me this morning as I carried their breakfast out.  Four were again out to the left of the gate, while two came from the transition area.  Once they begin using all of this puppy yard, it is time to move them into the “big puppy” yard.

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.

When I returned with GloryToo, I again turned on the sprinkler, this time moving it further to the right so it will cool about ¾ of the puppy yard, including the area by the gate.  I have a big lilac bush just to the right of the gate, a perfect place for puppies to dig holes, chase leaves and have a great time.  It’s even better when they can find cool, damp spots around its base for playing and resting.  They’ll be resting in the puppy house or transition area so the sprinkler won’t disturb their play, and it will shut off before I do poop detail and open the puppy house door for the day.

The pups were safely in the puppy house when I arrived to do poop detail.  I picked up two puppy poops way at the end so I knew they had been playing back there.  Soon they will begin going WAY away from their sleeping area to poop, which is fantastic since that way they aren’t playing in poop before I get out to pick it up.

They didn’t wake until I opened the door.  They were slow waking up, moving around and pottying, so before I tried to clean the house, I sat on the grass for our love in.  Mr. Blue was the first to get enough petting and wandered off to visit with Hesed through the fence, though he wasn’t too sure about that strange dog, who is a sable and thus looks VERY different from mom.  Then he turned and headed down the fence line towards the back part of the yard.  Great!  I thought.  He’s one who is using the whole yard.  He stopped about 5’ past the gate and pooped.  Good boy!

Back at my lap, Miss White and Miss Yellow were getting a little obnoxious about biting my hands so we had a “No bite!” session.  They are more insulted at having their lips pinched against their teeth than connecting it with biting, but it will come.  Above us, a wren was singing away, irritated that we’re using HIS yard.  I told him he only had a couple more days to put up with all the activity.

Everyone eventually was happy so I got up and headed to clean the puppy house.  For the second day in a row they had peed on their fleece pad, even though it was doubled to make it smaller and higher.  That’s it; they just lost that privilege.  No more fleece pads; they’ll only have newspapers in the puppy house.

After GloryToo’s ball session, I put two nice heavy cardboard boxes from a shipment of birdseed from Wild Birds Unlimited in the puppy yard for the pups to play in.  WBU uses high quality boxes, which I save for puppy enrichment.  I cut out a section of the end of each and they make great “tunnels” that the puppies enjoy running through and dragging around.  Mis White immediately ran through one to get to me, followed quickly by Miss Green.

When I took out their lunch, I took my camera just in case.  They were in the puppy house, and when I called, came running to me.  Miss White actually detoured to go through a box so I got some photos!  I then walked them around a bit to encourage them to potty before I put them and their lunch in the puppy house and closed the door.         

They ate a little less of both lunch and early supper, but not enough to decrease the amount of kibble I give them each time.

My friend, Linda, came this afternoon, to play with the puppies.  I again set out the Puppy Adventure Box and put the fleece roll across the doorway because I wanted to try to get photos of them attempting to jump the roll.  I also put down some soft toys and balls.  We were really pleased that the pups followed us from the puppy yard all the way to the house, probably a good 100’, so we didn’t have to carry them.  We even got them to come up the ramp onto the deck, so all we had to do was lift them through the doggie door.  Amazing!  This is a really smart litter.

They kept wanting to come back out the doggie door to be with us, so Linda quickly went into the hose to call them so I could quit pushing bodies back through the doggie door and go inside, too.  They gladly followed us into the living room, where Linda sat down to entice them with toys, their first experience with toys since all their neurological systems completed maturing.  They immediately grabbed the soft toys and started carrying them around.  Their favorite place to take them was over the fleece roll and onto the flannel runner in the kitchen.  I try to catch most of what the dogs track in on that runner, which is easier to wash than mopping the floor.  They had quite a few wrecks attempting to carry toys over the roll, ending up with the toy in the living room and them in the kitchen, but they figured out to lift their heads a little and became pretty successful.  By the end of the play session, a couple of them even managed to carry the toys back into the living room, which must have been harder in their minds. They’d notice or hear something going on into the living room and be in too much of a hurry to join the action to tug the toy over the roll.  Several times I had to go get toys and bring them back into the play area.

They had lots of tug battles with the toys.  Miss Yellow was the only one who showed a lot of interest in the ball, though Mr. Blue showed some.  Neither could figure out how to pick the ball up, instead following it when it rolled after they touched it. 

Several of the pups, Miss Purple especially, would periodically go into the Puppy Adventure Box and mouth the hanging objects or follow their movement.  Miss Purple really liked to walk through the box whenever she wanted to get to a different part of the room.  She also found the elevated dog bed that I had pushed way out to the back and even figured out how to get onto it.  Pretty good for a four-week-old pup.  Those coordination things usually to have to wait until a little later in their development.

GloryToo kept diverting the pups by walking through their play.  Of course they would stop and follow the milk bar.  One time she’d go lie down in the kitchen.  The next she’d walk past me and plop down on my other side in the living room.  Then she’d go to the kitchen.  We also had to watch that she didn’t take off with a ball, so I finally crated her.

The pups are beginning to have some mini-battles, usually because someone bit an ear or foot and the attackee said knock it off.  This is how pups teach inhibited bites to each other – go for it, kids! 

The pups played for about 30 minutes before collapsing, Miss Pink being the last.  At first they preferred to lie on the runner in the kitchen, but eventually they noticed the nice cool floor in the living room.  I had the air conditioning on since the house was getting warm, but outside it wasn’t yet too bad so there wasn’t a huge difference to make them notice the air conditioning right away.  Come a HOT day, they’ll decide the house is pretty darned nice and will race to come inside to play in the cool.

The pups followed us down the hallway so all we had to do was lift them through the doggie door onto the deck.  Linda went outside to keep them from trying to climb back inside while I lifted pups through the doggie door.  By the time I got let GloryToo out of her crate and we made it outside, all but Miss Pink had already followed Linda down the ramp.  Miss Pink was asleep on her feet and I had to push her gently down the ramp a little at a time.  She woke up just as we got to the ground and then was able to follow us to the puppy yard.  The pups weren’t too happy that we were leaving them and protested a little, but they soon stretched out and were dead to the world for an hour.  I had to wake them up to eat their early supper.

As usual, I fed them the last time at about 10 p.m.  By that time they were playing in the cool evening.  After they ate, I put GloryToo in with them for the night.  I could hear them growling as they wrestled for a while after I went to bed.

32 Days (6/1)  I awoke at 5 a.m. to puppy growls as they took advantage of a crisp morning (50 degrees) after yesterday’s oppressive heat (I saw 90 on the thermometer; it might have gotten hotter) and miserable humidity.  By the time I headed out with their breakfast at 6, they were crashed – Miss Purple and Miss Yellow at the outside entrance to the transition area and the rest in the puppy house, but they tumbled to the food bowl and dove in.  I had soaked their kibble for lunch and the two suppers, but they had eaten better at breakfast, with the solid kibble, so I didn’t soak any for this morning.  I gave them about 15 minutes to eat while GloryToo and I set sprinklers (one watering the back half of the puppy yard), I fed her and then cleaned out the whelping room.  I had left clean papers on the floor in case I had to bring the pups in due to a storm, but they are now well acclimated to being outside and would protest the confinement.  Garbage pickup is today.  I always wonder what the guys think when they are greeted by 4 or 5 lawn leaf bags full of newspapers, if they think “Another litter” or wonder what’s been going on.

When I took GloryToo back to the puppies, there was barely a mouthful of food left in the bowl.  I had even added extra kibble this time, so I was quite pleased.  That decides it – from now on they are eating solid kibble, and I’ll gradually begin increasing its proportion in each meal. 

They were all in the puppy house when I did poop detail, so I got the yard done without interference.  I then opened the puppy house door, called the pups out, visited quickly, and as they moved off to potty, went into the house and closed the door.  As I left the, I said, “You’d better go play some now because it’s starting to warm up.”  And, by golly, they did!  I go the house cleaned, new fleece pad down and was gathering up the newspapers before anyone came.  I dropped the garbage can lid (deliberately) to the side as I prepared to put in a new bag, and Miss Green immediately headed to investigate the clatter, followed closely by Mr. Blue, who seemed quite interested in the metal lid and squeezed between it and the can, then around between the can and the fence, and back out.  He acted like that was great fun.  Miss pink and Miss Green, meanwhile, had started grabbing newspapers and dragging them.  I have found several pieces of newspaper outside the puppy house, so the messy stage is beginning.

Once I rescued the papers from them and got them into the garbage can, I sat down on the step to visit.  Mr. Blue was at my right side.  I thought he was checking out my tennis shoes, but when I got up to walk, I found that he had nearly untied my shoelaces.  Miss Pink chewed on the toe of my left shoe, Miss Green tugged on my pant legs, and Miss White kept trying to climb u into my lap.  I picked her up and petted her, but she was squirming so much that she fell off, so I picked up Miss Purple, who had been trying to climb up.  Miss White insisted on getting back into my lap and persevered until she managed the climb.  It was quite crowded with two pups and soon Miss Purple got off, but Miss White stayed until I put her down in order to lift up Miss Yellow.  That did not go over well with Miss White, who immediately began trying to get back up.  I had a terrible time getting up when it was time to leave, with pups attached to shoes, pant legs and trying to get back into my lap, but eventually I made it and left.  The pups started wrestling again, so I managed to get out of the yard.

I turned on the sprinkler for about an hour to cool off the back half of the puppy yard.  Thankfully, we’re not supposed to have as hot (or humid) a day today, but I always want to offer them an option of cool areas.  The heat especially bothers GloryToo since she is in the maximum lactation time which means her udder nearly touches the ground and causes her to heat up more quickly than during non-puppy times.  Running the sprinkler like this will leave them damp areas into the night.

All were in the puppy house when I put GloryToo in the yard after her ball session, absolutely crashed, so I quietly put her in the yard and left.  She took one look and obviously decided “Let sleeping dogs lie,” finding a comfortable place on a cool, damp spot in the shade. 

Clouds moved in and cooled things off without bringing humidity, so it was pretty pleasant all morning.  When I took their lunch out, all the pups were out in the yard rather than ensconced in the puppy house.  Hurrah! 

To be sure they had pottied before I shut them with their lunch in the puppy house, I called to them and headed to the left when I stepped over the half gate, to the part of the puppy yard I haven’t seen anyone utilizing.  I also wanted them to find the damp area.  Not only was I encouraging a little mini-adventure, I was also working on “Follow me”.  The more they follow, the easier it is each day to bring them into the house for playtimes.  My goal is to get them following me all the way to and from the house so I don’t have to make three trips carrying them.  I called them into the puppy house, put down the bowl, and closed the door behind me to keep the flies away.  There were a couple of dandelions whose flowers had gone to seed and Mr. Blue was fascinated by the puff ball.  He kept trying to mouth it but couldn’t see well enough (yet) to accurately grasp it as it waved.  He ended up with the little seed fluffs all over his face but none in his mouth.

Forty minutes later, when I put GloryToo back in with them, they were out in the yard enjoying the day, several way out in the newly-discovered area.  They had eaten nearly all of their lunch, too.

For their early supper, I increased the (dry) kibble to nearly a cup and slightly decreased the amount of meat.  They ate nearly all of it.  I gave them time to totally digest before bringing them into the house.

Shortly after 8, I brought them into the house to play and visit.  I set the Puppy Adventure Box on the floor in the living room, and the fleece roll in the doorway between the kitchen and living room.  I carried them, two at a time to the house and lifted them through the doggie door.  When I had all six in the house, GloryToo and I entered.  Half were already exploring in the kitchen.  I headed towards the living room, calling puppies, and all but Miss Purple came.  She had been in the last pair I carried, so she was still wondering where she was down by the doggie door.  I continued into the living room and the five followed.  GloryToo stopped and began letting them nurse, while I sat at the doorway and called Miss Purple until she came.  I then moved close to the Puppy Adventure Box so that the pups would notice it when they came to me for attention.   Soon all finished nursing and headed my way.  I made some of the objects move:  Miss Green, Mr. Blue and Miss White were immediately interested and investigated before coming to me.  The others made their way there, mouthed some of the things and watched the movement.  All of them, at some time during the 30 minutes I had them inside, would periodically check out a new object they hadn’t noticed earlier.  Miss Purple even took hold of the batch of metal keys.  Mr. Blue was funny; if he wanted to come to me or go to GloryToo and the shortest path was through the adventure box, he just pushed his way through it.  The girls tended to go around the edge.

They had a great time exploring the living room and trying to climb over the chair and table rungs.  Going around isn’t in their bag of tricks yet.  Several high centered and took a while to figure out how to go completely over the rung.  They also enjoyed running down the hallway and were even trying to jump the roll to get into the other room, though they weren’t successful.  They had a great time moving off to play then coming back to visit.  We worked on “No bite.”  Miss Green was a little smart alec – She’d grab me and I’d press her lips against her teeth as I said “No bite!”  She in turn would look me in the eye and give a ferocious little growl and grab again.  After the third correction, she looked me in the eyes and said okay and snuggled for some loving.  She gave fantastic eye contact over and over again, seeming eager to listen to me talk to her and trying to figure out what I was saying.  Miss White enjoyed sitting in my lap several times.  Miss Yellow wasn’t too interested in my lap tonight; she would lie close to me but didn’t try to climb.  Of course, it warmed up late this afternoon so sitting on me wasn’t nearly as nice as lying on the cool laminate floor.

I figured 30 minutes might give us a play time without pottying, so when the timer went off, I headed down the hallway.  All the girls followed me down and were easily lifted out the doggie door.  Mr. Blue had crashed, so I had to go back to get him.  Once he was on the deck, GloryToo began leading them down the ramp I have off the landing, which I built for my old ones so they don’t have to do the steps.  I was surprised – and impressed – that four of the pups immediately followed GloryToo down the ramp and the other two followed me down.  They were definitely thinking about how to go down the incline, noses close to the agility fabric I have on it to give good traction.  I was also impressed when all six followed GloryToo and me all the way to the puppy yard.  That’s a first.  Usually pups get “lost” partway and turn back rather than look for the rest of us, causing me to go back for them.  Not this bunch; all even negotiated the three gates without getting on the wrong edge.  I closed them in the yard with their mother to reflect on their adventure for an hour or so before I took them their late super. 

When I came out with their food, four pups were out to the left of the gate (they’re now using all of the puppy yard, half of which is to the left of the gate as I go in), while two came from the transition area.  Today they have finally become more “outside” dogs than “inside dogs,” using that transition area for a resting place rather than the puppy house.  I like to see this because it means potty training can get more serious now.  When they spend so much time in the puppy house, it’s just too easy to take a step or two and pee rather than go outside, even during the day when the puppy house door is propped open and they can go directly outside rather than through the transition area.  If they lounge in the transition area, it’s more logical to them to go out onto the ground before pottying.

Letting GloryToo out quickly before the pups could follow, I set the bowl by the gate since all were right there, then climbed over and closed the puppy house door.  Miss Green insisted on following me to the puppy house for some attention before eating.  I again mixed nearly 1 cup of dry kibble with about 6 ounces of raw meat diet.  When I put GloryToo in with them for the night, it was easy to see that they had eaten just about all of it.  They zeroed in on her for some milk to cap off their meal, so I just gave them quick pats and left them for the night.

31 Days (5/31)  Me bad!  When I went to fix their breakfast I realized I didn’t set any kibble to soak last night.  Guess we’ll see if they’re ready for solid kibble.  I mixed ¾ cup of unsoaked kibble in with their ½# of raw meat diet and carried it out.

Four pups greeted me at the gate with GloryToo when I carried out their breakfast  Miss Green, Miss Pink, Miss Yellow and Miss White.  The other two were asleep in the puppy house but came bounding out when I set down the food bowl and opened the door.  I quickly entered and closed the door so I could (hopefully) change papers before they came in.  Naturally, when I had picked up the soiled ones and began to replace them with clean ones, the box was nearly empty.  I had to go around to the mudroom at the front of the house to get another box of papers.  I’m getting really low on newspapers since I haven’t been able to go by The Sheridan Press and get more from their recycle stack.  Since so many things are reopening on June 1st, I sure hope their lobby will be one so I can go in to refill my boxes.  None of my friends have been offering their newspapers since we’re not meeting as usual at classes and church.

By the time I made it back with the new box, the puppies had finished nearly all their breakfast and were ready to play.  It’s really hard putting down papers with puppy bodies bouncing around, but I finally finished.  I gave them a new fleece pad, too.  Then I sat on the threshold and we had a love in.  Pups would visit some and then go back to the bowl and take another bite; evidently the hard kibble wasn’t a problem at all.  They only left maybe a tablespoon for GloryToo to clean up.

I dumped their inside water bowl and refilled it with fresh water, then did the same for their big bowl outside.  For that I used the hose.  The pups still outside (all but Mr. Blue & Miss Purple) weren’t too sure about the water cascading from the hose, bouncing into the bowl and splashing a little out of the bowl.  Miss Green was the most motivated (and bravest) to investigate; when I topped off GloryToo’s five-gallon bucket she came right up and watched.  Miss Pink was next; the other two stayed way back and watched from afar.

Chores finished, I closed the puppy house door and left them.  It’s already warm enough this morning that it could be propped open, but perhaps, with it closed, I can do poop detail later before they come out.  After GloryToo had a chance to eat and get some loving, I put her out with them until time to start ball sessions.

They must have really played, because when I did poop detail after Berakah’s and Hesed’s ball session, not a pup moved.  I even opened and tied back the puppy house door and not one puppy stirred.

The morning wasn’t too bad, with clouds moving through and keeping the sun from warming things up very fast, but about noon heavy, rain-laden clouds moved in and stopped, making the humidity miserable as the temperature soared.  I set a sprinkler going for an hour so that it would hit about half of the puppy yard and bring a little relief, cooling both the air and the ground.

I had to turn on the air conditioning in the house, too, because it was already 80 degrees inside.  I had planned to bring the pups inside this afternoon for a play session but every time I checked on them, they were crashed.  When I fed them lunch, I put it in the puppy house, which is insulated and was still cool, closing the door to keep the flies out.  They ate some and then settled for a nap.  I checked a couple of times to be sure they were still cool, and they were, so I left them alone.  I decided all of us needed a rest day with no ambition after the last several wild days.  The big dogs, who of course are crated when the puppies have visitors and miss out on their normal times to just be dogs and visit with me, really enjoyed returning to our normal routine.

The pups didn’t eat all their early supper, but then they had done nothing to work up an appetite.  By the time I took them their late supper, at 10, the clouds had moved out, the moon was bright in a clear sky, the humidity had dropped remarkably and the temperature was down to 70.  I fed them on the ground and opened the puppy house door.  I gave them about 20 minutes before I put GloryToo in with them.  While she cleaned up the little food that was left, I closed the puppy house door.  No need for the heater tonight!

30 Days (5/30)  We had a thunderstorm during the night but, since there was no noise from puppies, they had to have been safely in the warm puppy house.  In fact, there wasn’t a peep all night.  It was still 58 degrees this morning at 6 when I took out their breakfast, a great first night outside for this bunch.  Last night I put 1 cup of kibble to soak, and this morning I gave them half of that along with their 1/2 # meat.  Miss Purple, Mr. Blue and Miss Yellow met me at the gate with GloryToo.  I let GloryToo out and then carried the food bowl to the puppy house, all three pups following enthusiastically.  When I put it on the ground, they leapt to begin eating.  I opened the puppy house door and called, and the other three raced out and headed to breakfast.

I quickly went into the puppy house, closed the door, and began changing newspapers.  It’s a small space, but I wasn’t quite done before Mr. Blue, Miss Yellow and Miss Purple thundered in to visit.  The other three pounded in almost immediately.  Even with help, I finished the papers and opened the door.  They came out with me, wanting to get their morning loving.  Since the ground was wet, I told them the cuddle session would come later but petted everyone from a standing position.  They then headed over to the food bowl and I snuck away so they’d finish eating.  There wasn’t much left so I didn’t put the bowl, and them inside the puppy house.  The flies aren’t out yet, but I don’t want birds to learn the possible food location, so I only left GloryToo away for them for 10 minutes, long enough for her to have breakfast and get a little loving.  When I put her back in the puppy yard, there wasn’t a puppy in sight.  They hadn’t quite finished their breakfast, so GloryToo gladly cleaned the bowl.  I left her in the puppy yard until it was time to start ball sessions, then quietly invited her out of the yard (while the puppies slept in the puppy house) and crated her in the house.

After Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session, I do poop detail.  Today will be the first day for poop detail in the puppy yard.  The pups were still crashed in the puppy house when I entered the yard, though someone barked.  Thankfully it didn’t come out side, so I was able to search for puppy poops in peace.  Done with that, I opened the puppy house door and tied it open, turned off the heater and sat down on the threshold for our cuddle time.  The pups had to work to climb into my lap today, but they persevered.  When all were happy and had moved off to play, I changed papers again since they had piddled in the puppy house during their long time inside it, and left the yard.  All of them followed me to the gate and, for the first time, saw my fingers poking through the fence to pet them.

My friend, Laurie, arrived about noon, delivering the miniature agility equipment I bought for the puppy obstacle run.  After we unloaded it, we took the puppies into the front yard (on the west side of my house), which was still mostly shady and still cool from last night’s rain.  All the pups came when I called – except Miss Purple, so they were easy to lift out over the half gate without having to go into the yard.  Not Miss Purple.  As usual, she lay at the entrance to the puppy house (the door was tied open in the heat) and talked to me when I called but refused to come, so I had to go into the yard and go get her.  She was extremely glad to see me and beat at me with her madly wagging tail as I carried her, but for some reason “come out of the house” is not invitation she wants to accept.

We lifted them over the half-gate into the front yard and walked to the west end where the shade was thickest.  They hung out at the gate for a bit because it was totally different terrain – flagstones, rocks, pine cones and pine straw.  Soon, though, Miss White came running, looking for us.  We could see that nose working hard.  She was very proud of herself when she found us.  Just behind her came Miss Green.  Mr. Blue came, too, but he turned left instead of coming straight and temporarily got lost behind a bush.  Eventually he found us, but the took the hard way through some bushes and rocks before he finally found us.  GloryToo had gone the opposite way which took her quickly out of the puppies’ sight, so the others were trying to find her.  Laurie had to go pick them up and carry them here.  All of them had a great time exploring the general area and visiting with Laurie.  We had an other unseasonable hot day, in the 80’s (remember just a week ago we had snow in the hills just a bit higher than I am), so they crashed pretty quickly.

Laurie was a professional dog groomer for years so I had a question for her.  The way my vet had discovered how thin GloryToo’s uterus was had been when she sliced it open to remove the pup who became Miss White.  The scalpel went right through the uterine wall and nicked Miss White on the back.  They quickly closed it with surgical glue so it healed without a scar, but the glue just won’t go away.  I was thinking I could perhaps comb it out and Laurie aid that should work, so I gave her 2 brushes and a comb and talked her into doing it.  She got some of the glue off but Miss White wouldn’t hold still, so we ended up with me holding her and Laurie concentrating on combing.  We got nearly all of it off.  It has been handy, though, in helping distinguish Miss White from Miss Yellow once they got collars, since in those two particular collars the colors aren’t distinctly different.  Now I’ll have to work harder as I edit photos.

Eventually all the pups fell into a deep sleep.  Miss Green resisted slumber for the longest time but finally succumbed.  We had to laugh at Mr. Blue.  He seems to like rocks.  Did he crash on the nice soft, cool grass?  No, he pushed himself into a tiny crack between a tree trunk and rocks, lying on rocks.  He looked quite uncomfortable.  Laurie had to crawl in after him to get him when we put them back in the puppy pen.  He must be working on being the tough guy in a bunch of females.

As soon as Laurie left, I fixed the puppies lunch (way late) and carried it out to them.  they had all made it into the puppy house so I pushed bodies aside enough to make room for the bowl.  That woke them up and they pulled themselves up and started eating, though I was afraid they’d fall asleep with their heads in the bowl.  I crept backwards and closed the puppy house door, leaving them to eat and nap as they wished.

When I put GloryToo in with them, I noticed they had picked out the meat and left the kibble, so for their early and late supers, I mixed the meat and kibble together.  They cleaned up both those meals so now I’ll start mixing.  The goal is to gradually lessen the amount of meat so that by the time they leave here they will eat straight kibble if their owners so desire.

One thing I’m noticing is that, when I check on them, if any are outside, it is never Miss Purple.  She must want to be a “house dog!”  And she refuses to race out to greet me through the transition, as the others will if they are in the puppy house when I call.  No, I have to open the puppy house door.

It was dark by the time I took out their late super so I placed it on the ground in front of the puppy house.  I closed the puppy house door for the night but didn’t turn on the heater; it wasn’t necessary.  I gave them 15 minutes to eat, then put GloryToo in with them for the night.  The temperature was finally beginning to drop after a thunderstorm moved through (no rain), and I could hear the puppies playing and enjoying the coolness as I turned off my light and went to bed.

29 Days (5/29)  Beautiful day forecast, sunny and warm!  I greeted the pups and then went out to clean the puppy house and turn the heater up to take off the chill.  I didn’t figure they would stay inside, but just in case, it would be warm for them.  I carried them out two by two – Miss White again making sure she was in the first pair.  Miss Purple gave me enthusiastic kisses all the way out to the yard (and no teeth, either!).  Then I fixed their breakfast and took it out.  They are already beginning to understand to follow me as I call them.  The two blacks followed me all the way to the puppy house and were rewarded by first chance at their meat.  The others got distracted by GloryToo following on the outside of the fence, so I had to go back, get their attention and call them.  They followed nicely.  I lifted them in, closed the door and crated GloryToo for about 30 minutes while they ate.  Then I put her in with them.  No pups were in sight; in fact, they were so deeply asleep – five draped around the bowl and the sixth on the fleece pad – that I was able to remove the bowl without anyone twitching a muscle.

Since they will be outside all day and thus pottying outside (not making a mess in the puppy room that GloryToo doesn’t clean up), I soaked ½ cup of puppy kibble to add to their lunch.

Pat, who is getting Mr. Blue for nosework and barn hunt (searching for rats in containers in piles of straw bales, a competitive sport), came today, bringing her rat so we could see which pups would show interest.  We put the puppies into the adjoining yard and brought them one by one into the puppy yard to meet Mr. Rat.  Miss White showed intense interest; Miss Yellow showed nice interest; Mr. Blue and Miss Pink showed interest; Miss Green and Miss Purple showed no interest.  All the pups were more interested in visiting with Pat, so I urged her to come back in a couple of weeks, once their prey drive has come in, and see what they do then.  Plus it was 80 degrees, our first really warm day, and the pups weren’t very ambitious or energetic.  At least today they were introduced to the rat.

By that time it was past lunchtime so I fixed their food and brought it out to where we sat.  I put about ¼ cup (before soaking) of the kibble in the bowl, then crumbled the raw meat on top/around it.  The pups ate every bit of both the kibble and meat. “Ratting” must be really good for your appetite.     

Claudia, who is getting one of the females, came late this afternoon to play with the pups.  She was amazed at how much they have grown and developed in the week since she saw them last.  I’m trying to have them receive visits in a different place each time, to encourage exploration.  The sun was too bright to use other yard areas so we put them in the next yard, closing the gate so they couldn’t go into the puppy yard and had to wander around the unfamiliar area.  GloryToo wandered through several times, waking pups up and then walking off.  Several times she lay a short distance away and let the find her if they wanted to nurse.  Then she’d leave them.  Miss Pink was the bravest pup, following GloryToo a good 20’ into an unfamiliar area until deciding to come back to us. 

At the end of Claudia’s visit, Miss Green decided she HAD to go back into the puppy yard.  She made a determined effort to climb through the fence, which was originally woven wire, then I added stock panels to make it higher.  She managed to push the woven wire back a bit and nearly get her whole body into the gap between the two pieces of fence.  I disentangled her and lifted her over the half gate into the puppy yard, where she made a beeline all the way through the yard and into the puppy house.  Claudia helped me lift the others into the puppy yard and, when she left, I fixed their early supper and took it out.  Miss Pink and Miss Yellow had joined Miss Green in the puppy house.  I put the bowl of food in the puppy house and they showed immediate interest.  I got Mr. Blue and Miss Purple to follow me as I walked to the puppy house, but Miss White wasn’t sure.  I knelt down to give her a different visual picture and she came eagerly to me.  I picked her up and put her in the puppy house next to the food bowl.  I then closed the door to keep out the flies and left them to eat and then nap after their BUSY afternoon.

When I put GloryToo back in with them, they had again cleaned their bowl.  They must like their kibble!  I recently changed dog foods because Holistic Select no longer had a breeder’s program I could qualify for:  no longer could I order from chewy.com and send in the proofs of purchase; I would have to buy from a local pet store.  Unfortunately, no pet store here carries it; one could order it monthly for me, but I have no place to store a lot of sacks of food and how does one know exactly how much of any variety (senior, puppy, adult) for sure one needs a month ahead?  I changed to Nulo.  The puppies are being raised on Nulo Challenger Large Breed Puppy food, and it’s very nice to see that they really like it.  I will gradually increase the percentage of Nulo (soaking it for at least a week) and lessen the percentage of raw meat diet at each meal.

At 9:30, I took out their late supper, letting GloryToo out so she could have her late supper in the house and then some cuddle time with me.  Miss White was waiting at the gate with GloryToo; the others were all in the puppy house.  I put the bowl on the ground in front of the puppy house and Miss White dove in.  I opened the puppy house door and called the others out.  As they headed to the food bowl, I stepped inside and turned the heater on.  It’s still 70 degrees, but will cool off soon.   

This time I had soaked about 1/3 cup of kibble.  I gave them 30 minutes to eat and then put GloryToo out with them.  They cleaned up all the kibble, along with the ½# of meat.  All six were in the puppy house.  This is the absolute best litter I’ve ever had at figuring out how to go into and out of the puppy house; never have I had a litter who all learned that the first day out!

28 Days (5/28)  I was greeted with enthusiasm this morning when I let GloryToo out of the room for her breakfast.  In fact, several pups loudly told me to hurry up and come see them.  They mobbed me when I stepped into the room so I quickly sat down to visit.  Miss Yellow immediately crawled in my lap and contentedly sat there, while the others crowded around.  I was busy for a few minutes making sure all six puppies got petting, wherever they were.

Mr. Blue spent quite a while investigating my hair, giving me kisses all over the back of my head.  It felt good, until he suddenly grabbed a chunk and pulled!  Miss Yellow finally left my lap and wandered off, only to reappear suddenly and grab an ear.  My sweet puppies are turning into monsters.

I’m home all day until agility class at 5 p.m. so I planned on having the pups spend most of the day outside.  Unfortunately, it was gray, cool and dark.  I gave the pups their breakfast in their room and went out to finish setting up the puppy house since they’ll need to start there (rather than in the yard as they did yesterday when it was warm) and move outside as they feel comfortable.  It’s important that they learn where the dry, warm area is in case, on days like today, it’s not comfortable to be outside all the time.

I actually 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 on the south end 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. 

I put newspapers on the floor and, in the protected part of the old whelping bed, a section of fleece pad like they’re used to in the whelping room.  I put a big metal bowl, like the one in the puppy room, in the corner close to the doggie door.  Then I turned on the heater to take the chill off the puppy house.  One would think that, at the end of May, one wouldn’t need a heater, but this year’s weather has been unusual to say the least.  I put a plank across the doorway so that they wouldn’t hang in that little area and tumble out when I opened the door.  I also wanted all the pups to stay together as I carried the out in pairs, so that all would figure out the way out of the puppy house and no one would stress from being left behind.

When I was ready to start ball sessions, I carried the pups out in pairs, putting them Just inside the gate until I got all of them outside.  I had to chuckle when I saw that Miss White was one of the first two that I picked up – at least this morning she has nothing to complain about.  After I put the last pair on the ground, I walked everyone around to be sure all had pottied before I put them into the puppy house, into the whelping bed by the fleece pad.  Hopefully their first impression will be, “Hey!  This is just like home.”  By the time I came with the last two, the others were already close to the doggie door.  I put GloryToo in with them.  She will help them figure out the doggie door as she goes in an out, and they’ll soon follow.  It’s only about 55 degrees this morning, so they might hang out in the transition area and not go totally out into the open.  As I come and go, doing ball sessions with different dogs, it’s easy to check that the pups are okay and no one is stressing much.  A little stress is good, just another lesson in rolling with what life throws you, but not a meltdown.

I was wrong on them hanging in the transition area:  I no sooner headed to the bedroom to let Berakah and Hesed out for the first ball session then I heard a puppy crying.  I looked out the window and there was Miss White, already outside.  She HAD found something to complain about.

Next time I checked (after Berakah’s & Hesed’s ball session), Miss Pink, Miss Yellow and Miss Green had joined her.  They were lying close together by the gate, which is a good 20’ from the puppy house.  The cloudiness is great, since their eyes are comfortable, and there’s no wind to chill things down, so they seem quite content.

The status was still quo when I took Spirit out for her ball session, but when I took Lively out and detoured to check on the babies, all six were lying by the gate, totally content.

Next it was GloryToo’s turn for her ball session.  All six pups were still happily at the gate but they had huddled close together.  Although the outdoor thermometer said 60 degrees, a slight breeze had sprung up and the air was definitely moist.  When I put GloryToo back in the puppy yard, I carried the pups to the puppy house and put them in the whelping box.  Even if they decide not to stay in there for a long time, they’ll warm up.  They looked, though, like they were going to settle on the fleece pad, so I left quietly, turning off the overhead light as I did so.  This puppy house doesn’t have a window; the only natural light filters in through the doggie door into the transition area (the flap is tied up).  With luck they’ll snooze in there for a while before finding their way outside.

So much for that idea!  I just took time to write the diary entry before grabbing Mercy and heading outside with her ball.  Miss White, Mr. Blue and Miss Pink were already at the gate with GloryToo.  I heard a little whimper and walked along the fence towards the puppy house.  I saw Miss Yellow at the outer entrance to the transition area, looking around as if to ask, “Where is everyone?”  She saw my movement and, when I spoke to her, gave a little chirp and leapt towards me.  She was thrilled when GloryToo followed me along the fence line towards her; she quickly ran to GloryToo and happily followed her back to the others.

All four were happily stretched out on the grass near the gate when I took Lovely out for her ball session.  Mr. Blue was using one of his sisters as a prop along one side so he could lie on his back, all sprawled out.

After I finished Lovely, I put her up and fixed the pups’ lunch, taking it out and putting it (and them) in the puppy house while I took GloryToo to her crate.           Miss White was the first one to follow me when I stepped over the bottom half of the gate and called them.  Being left behind last night must have really made an impression!  Miss Yellow and Mr. Blue followed quickly, while Miss Pink had to first yawn and pee before following. But all four made it to the house without me having to pick them up.  I noticed much improvement in them not being bothered by my movements.  Evidently I looked a lot different, standing and walking, than I did coming into the whelping room, and they were crouching and pulling back.  As I carried the food bowl and called them, they seemed to all of a sudden connect ME with the moving shadow and suddenly were wagging their tails.

I opened the puppy house door, put down the food bowl, lifted each pup in and looked for the other two.  Sure enough, Miss Green and Miss Purple were sound asleep on the fleece pad.  Our movement and my voice as I talked to the pups woke those two up and they came to the bowl.  As soon as all were eating, I quietly left and shut the door.  While Cantor cooled off from his ball session, I cleaned the (indoor) whelping room and set it up so I can bring the pups inside at once if the weather turns bad.

The clouds were lifting and sunshine was trying to break through, so I put GloryToo back out with them after she, and they, had eaten.  Miss White and Mr. Blue met us at the gate.  When I removed the bowl from the puppy house, I found the other four stretched out flat, deeply asleep.

I checked on them a little later and found Miss Yellow and Miss Pink out with the others. At some point, one of them made the journey back into the puppy house.  Everyone was asleep so I didn’t go into the yard to check collars (they are now fuzzy enough that often you can’t see the collar from a distance).  Let sleeping dogs lie!  I was pleased to see that, though, because I need them to understand how to go into shelter if they need to, before they can move to the “big puppy” pen, in which for some reason they seem to struggle to figure out how to go into the puppy house from the transition area.  The setup in the “baby puppy” yard for some reason is totally logical to them and invites them to go into and out of the puppy house.

I had agility class at 5, so shortly after 4 p.m. I brought the pups into the whelping room.  Miss Purple and Mr. Blue had been asleep in the puppy house the whole time since lunch and seemed hungry, so I gave the pups an extra meal – ½# of the raw meat diet.  The pups vacuumed it up.  The others, though they had been close to GloryToo, ate, too.  Must be time to add a fourth meal to their routine, since GloryToo isn’t with them all the time.  The only problem with another meal (indoors anyway) is that I have to clean the puppy room another time.  Ugh!

I fed the pups another ½# of the raw meat diet just before bedtime.  After they cleaned that up, I went in for our love-in and afterwards (again) cleaned the room.  I had way too much “help.”  Miss White and Miss Pink again splashed through the water bowl – it’s hard to do it with that big bowl but they figured it out.  Maybe they’ll enjoy water sports.  Miss Purple comped hard on my arm so she got a serious “No bite” lesson.  A couple of the others sampled my body, but more gently, though once Miss White grabbed the back of my ankle as I knelt changing papers.  That hurt.  I had a REAL hard time smoothing down the flannel.  Too many furry bodies kept intervening, including Miss Yellow who somehow got under it and created a big bump.  I had to pick the flannel up from the edge and reach in about 2’ to get to her and pull her out, by which time Miss Pink had grabbed the edge and was tugging on it.  I was relieved to get done.

We have better weather forecast for the weekend so hopefully they can move outside for good.  Once they move outside, I bring them in daily to play in the house and cuddle all they want.  That’s possible because I spend less time changing papers and running the washer.

27 Days (5/27)  Wild puppies again greeted me this morning.  They insisted on an immediate puppy cuddle huddle.  I noticed Miss Pink sitting to the side so made an effort to frequently reach over to her over the bodies of the others.  When they began to disperse, she came in or her cuddle.  I always watch for pups to act this way.  Some just don’t like competing with their siblings, and I make sure they get all the loving they need.  These are often the ones who really bloom when they move outside where there’s plenty of room to avoid crowds and perhaps just hang out with one, or at most two, of the others.

I usually put GloryToo’s breakfast in the kitchen so she can eat in peace, but this morning she wanted to be with me.  She ate her raw meat diet but came into the puppy room to munch on kibble.  Mr. Blue and Miss Purple happened to be at the kibble bowl and it was funny to watch her push them aside and say, “Mine!” with a low growl.  When they tried to push in, they gave a louder growl and moved them away with her nose.  They got the message and backed off.  When she had enough, she lay there and let puppies nurse and made no protest as the two headed back to the kibble bowl instead.

Most times I’m in the room, Mr. Blue goes over to sample the kibble.  Last night there wasn’t much in the bowl and he complained, tipped the bowl upright and stuck his head inside to eat.  I wish I’d had my cameral for that!

When all the pups were comatose, I set up the Puppy Adventure Box.  The puppy adventure box consists of a pvc pipe frame from which a variety of articles are hung.  Pieces of garden hose, paint brushes, metal paint cans, a set of keys, flowerpots, cups pieces of pvc pipe, paint brushes and other items move and make a variety of noises, inviting puppies to chase, grab, bite, push through and generally have fun with them. The idea is to stimulate the puppies, get their brains working, and desensitize them to moving things -especially things touching and bumping them, having to push things out of the way, and various noises. 

I usually set the Puppy Adventure Box up in the living room for one of the puppies’ play sessions in there, but I decided it could be todays’ “new thing” in the whelping room.  When I feed them, I’ll place the big food bowl in the middle of the box and give them a chance to find it through the moving “curtain” of objects.  Setting it up made a LOT of noise, but they slumbered through it all.  Miss Pink never even stirred when one of the hanging objects bumped against her.  No use feeding them then – I left them to sleep while I rotated the big dogs and then put their food just before I started ball sessions.  A couple got diverted by the moving objects, but soon all found their food and dove in.  As Berakah, Hesed and I walked past their room on the way out to play, I heard someone barking.  Even though I had the sheet off the gate since it was hot last night, I couldn’t tell who it was, so I opened the gate and looked more closely.  It was Miss White alerting the world to intruders.

No one made any sounds as I went back and forth with the other dogs; they were crashed.  After I did GloryToo’s ball session, I put her in with the pups.  I moved the Puppy Adventure Box so that GloryToo could come and go.  The only place that left room for her to go through both the gate and the doggie door was just in front of the whelping box, but that will definitely cause the pups to notice all the hanging objects.  As I left, GloryToo was standing while the pups nursed so I shot a quick photo and then left.

All was quiet when I went back and forth with the next two dogs, but as Lovely and I headed out for her ball session, a pup began barking quite imperatively.  I opened the gate to see who it was and, sure enough, it was again Miss White!

While Cantor (the last dog for ball sessions) cooled off, I quickly scrubbed the bed in the puppy house.  I had planned to go back after it dried and lay down newspapers and a small fleece pad so that I could put the puppies outside this afternoon, but clouds kept moving in and dropping just enough moisture that I was afraid to leave the family out while I did my weekly therapy dog sessions.  Since the pandemic hit, all I can do is walk outside the buildings and stop at the windows of the people with whom my therapy dog and I visited each week.  We smile and wave and exchange short sentences through the closed windows, cheering them up as much as possible.  Doing that at both nursing homes takes less than an hour, but when I got home the clouds still threatened, and I had an appointment at 3:45.  Finally, when I got home at 5, the sun was out and the day was pleasantly warm, so I took the puppies out to the puppy yard (carrying them two at a time) and left them, with GloryToo, for about two hours.

Before I brought the pups in, I changed their room.  I moved the Puppy Adventure Box into the living room for later explorations.  Then I started changing papers.  I don’t know what they did this afternoon, but it looked like they had been finger painting with their lunch.  It’s amazing how easy it is to change papers and flannel – and in this case the fleece pad which also had meat smears on it, without help from puppies. 

I carried them inside two at a time.  I had to laugh at Miss White, who let me know in no uncertain terms that she should have been one of the first pair I picked up.  I merely took the two closest to the gate, so it wasn’t like I ignored her.  When I came back for the second pair, she again hesitated to come towards me, so I took two others.  She looked me right in the eye and barked her displeasure.  I think this is a pup who will always let you know exactly what she’s thinking!

I put them in the room, and they collapsed right there.  They need time for their brains to process the experiences of a new adventure, so I left them in peace for a while.

They sure woke up a little later when I brought in their supper!  And they cleaned up nearly all of it.  I then put GloryToo in with them for a couple of hours before I cleaned the room for a third time. 

I cleaned the room with lots of help.  It definitely is time for them to move outside.  The fleece pad this time was still clean, but the rest of the room showed how much more they’re peeing since they’re eating (and drinking) more. 

Before I could clean, we had a puppy cuddle huddle.  Thankfully, GloryToo settled on the fleece pad and nursed them long enough for me to change all the papers.  Then she left, and everyone came to “help” me by sitting on the flannel as I tried to smooth it out, or else targeting clean newspapers on which to puddle again.  At least the taller water bowl seems to have convinced Miss White not to swim.  It will be interesting to see if she “swims” in the big, low bowl in the puppy yard.

The puppies have discovered my ears and hair and find them quite interesting as I lie on my elbow during cuddle time.  Tonight Miss Pink was my lap sitter; Miss Yellow was too busy playing to snuggle much.  I got some great eye contact from Miss Pink and Miss White.  Everyone had lots of time for loving; I didn’t leave until the last one crashed.

26 Days (5/26)  They were wild this morning!  They definitely need to move outside where they can run.  I hope to at least get them outside for a while this afternoon if the weather is decent.  Cloudy is perfect; cold and wet is not.

Since they were so wild this morning, I decided to weigh and worm them first, before I cleaned the room.  Mr. Blue continues to be the largest, at 6.7#, followed by Miss Pink & Miss White at 6.2#.  Next were Miss Yellow & Miss Purple at 6.1# and last was Miss Green at 5.8#.  I’m pretty sure, since she remains smaller than the others and is healthy and active, that she is just lighter boned.

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.

I had an awful time changing fleece pads, as they kept trying to climb onto it.  Miss Yellow ended up in the fold and I had to pull her out.  Naturally, the way I initially set it down was with the ends out.  I always put the ends against the wall and the fold out to give them less temptation to tug and chew on the pad.  They were definitely grabbing the ends.  I had to keep putting one aside, only to turn back to the pad and find two more on it.  Even GloryToo got into the act.  She seemed impatient to get on the nice new pad, even though yesterday’s was still clean and dry.  This is the new pad I ordered when the washer broke down, to give me 4 changes of bedding so I only had to hit the laundromat every other day.  Evidently something about it is highly attractive.

Eventually I got it set up correctly and invited GloryToo onto it.  The pups mobbed her to nurse and, thankfully, left me in peace to clean the room.  I even got the fleece and white pad down before a pup ambled out to help.  Miss Yellow was first and kept climbing onto the back of my legs as I tried to change papers in the outer part of the room.  Miss Green soon followed, but she didn’t climb.  She has a habit of sitting, staring at me, until I notice her, then coming up for loving.  She seems totally confident that I love her best and thus willing to wait.  She is definitely campaigning for me to keep her.  It’s funny how some pups will do that. 

Both girls quickly settled and by the time I finished cleaning were lying calmly, content just to watch me.  The others were crashed on the fleece pad.  Since everyone was zonked, I left them to nap a while before taking their breakfast to them, as I particularly wanted them awake when I gave it to them.

One thing the Puppy Culture materials urge breeders to do is to help the pups learn to handle frustration from an early age.  A big suggestion is to have small barriers that the pups have to go over or around in order to get to their meals.  When I ordered the new fleece pad, which is 5’ wide, I asked them to cut the extra foot off (my whelping bed is 4’ x 4’) before they shipped it.  That 4’ x 1’ strip, rolled up and taped, made a nice barrier to try today. 

Since, when I took their breakfast in, they were all lying on the flannel, I put the bowls down on the newspaper in the far part of the room and put the fleece roll on the edge of the flannel.  I called them, waved the bowls and made a big deal of putting them down, and the pups headed towards them.  I hurried to grab my camera and took shots with them heading towards the bowls.  They figured out how to get over the roll pretty easily, although Miss Green, being smaller, had to work a bit to get over it.

They are so funny:  they all want to eat from one bowl, even though they don’t fit.  Some meals they entirely finish the one bowl and hardly eat from the other; I often go in after a couple of minutes and put the pups who are being shoved away from the one bowl over to the other.  Even then, they often want to head back to THE bowl, for some reason.  Watching them, I decided they are probably big enough that I can get out one of the big puppy bowls so they can all eat together.

When I put GloryToo back in with them, I watched to see if they’d go over the roll to get to her.  It took them so long to wake up that she had finished cleaning the bowls before anyone made a move, and that was Miss White.  She walked along the roll to the water bowl and back, stopping to sit and give a big yawn, before deciding to climb over it to get to GloryToo.  The others barely had their eyes open.

I then moved the roll to fit across the opening to the whelping bed.  GloryToo decided to go check out the bed (probably to see if there was any pee to clean up).  Mr. Blue followed her, but by the time he managed to get over the roll, she had left.  He thought about that, then calmly climbed back over it and followed her.  After I typed this, I went into the room to pick up the empty bowls.  GloryToo had been on the fleece, and Miss Yellow was with her.  She came out to greet me.  As left with the bowls, I saw Miss White climbing over the roll to get to the fleece.  I left the family in peace and began ball sessions.

When I took their lunch in, the pups were all on the white mat, so I put the roll along the edge of the ramp and put their big bowl of food in the far area, as I did breakfast.  The two blacks were too busy wrestling to eat, but the others went over the roll easily.  I finally lifted Miss Pink and Miss Green to the bowl so I could get a photo of all of them eating from their new bowl.

I started cleaning the puppy house and setting everything up.  Tom, who is getting one of the females, and his mother, Georgina, came this afternoon to play with the pups.  We carried them to the baby puppy yard for the visit so as also to begin familiarizing them with where they’ll soon live.  We had a great time visiting with the pups, who lasted about 45 minutes before beginning to drop.  Miss Green was funny to watch as she sat, head dropping lower and lower and she resisted giving in to sleep.  It sure looked like she didn’t want to miss any of the fun, but fatigue eventually won.  With them like this, I grabbed the fingernail scissors and began trimming nails.  If they stayed sleeping, I could do it by myself, but most work up as I gently moved them to get to another foot, so I got Tom to hold them while I trimmed their nails.  Mr. Blue was the only one who woke up thoroughly and protested by squirming and vocalizing. I’m so glad to get that done.  When the last one crashed, we carried them into the puppy room.  They didn’t move from where we put them down.  I let them sleep for a couple of hours before giving them their supper.  They must like the one big bowl because all immediately moved to it and began eating, only Miss White trying to climb over the back of a sibling before realizing there was room to her right.

After they finished, I put GloryToo in with them and started to leave.  For the first time, I heard her growling at them.  I turned to look and, sure enough, she has started their manners training.  Someone must have used his or her newly-discovered teeth to bite down on a nipple rather than nurse.  Now begins manners training, something that will help mold them into dogs who have respect and who know how to interact with other dogs.  GloryToo was announcing that the on-demand milk bar would soon close, that they would need to ask politely and, if they bit, would lose the privilege. 

They will also teach other bite inhibition.  An innocent grabbing and biting of an ear or tail or foot will be protested, usually by a squeal and a bite in return.  Even though it ends in a scuffle, they begin to understand careless use of their teeth will have consequences. 

Tonight, when I went in to clean the room, it was obvious that they had thoroughly enjoyed the visit – they mobbed me and continued demanding petting for quite a while.  Miss Purple got the first no-bite lesson from me when she chomped down hard on my arm.  “Oh!” she said.   Then she nibbled more gently.  I do a lot of “No-bite!  Kisses instead.” Lessons from now until they leave.

When I tried to detach and clean the room, they followed me around and climbed on the backs of my legs or grabbed my pant legs.  Miss Yellow experimented with grabbing an edge of newspaper and pulling.  Thankfully it was just a light tug so she wasn’t rewarded by a strip of paper tearing off, but that’s coming.  It’s definitely time to move them outside.  They collapsed about the same time I finished, so I left them for the night.

25 Days (5/25)  Ears are definitely 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, especially when they think I need to come in NOW.

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. 

This morning they absolutely refused to let me start changing wet papers.  They wanted a puppy cuddle huddle, and RIGHT NOW!  So I found a dry spot and sat down.  We visited a bit, with Miss White and Mr. Blue cuddling the longest.  Naturally Miss White was one who wanted to get her entire body against me – she was wet again.  Papers all around the water bowl were wet so she must have gone swimming again. This time it must have been intentional because GloryToo did not come into the room to get them pursuing her.  It’s time now to put out the big water bowl with much higher sides.

Miss Green and Miss Pink soon moved off and fell asleep.  Miss Yellow moved off and began practicing rolling over.  She would roll over one way and lie sprawled out on her back (tummies exposed that way are irresistible to me; I just have to rub them, but she was too far away and I couldn’t move due to Miss White and Mr. Blue).  Then she would roll over the other way.  After a couple of times she had trouble continuing because Miss Purple had been attracted by the movement and started chewing on her.  Mr. Blue had pity on me and slid off my lap and lay down, rolling over once and exposing his tummy so I could rub it.

When he and Miss White were finally satisfied, I was able to get up.  They “helped” me change papers and put in a new fleece pad.  I had a terrible time getting it folded in half and spread out because they kept climbing on it.  Finally I got it in place and they immediately climbed on it and sprawled out, followed by all the others except Miss Green, who was still slumbering peacefully by the gate.

I had about half the papers changed before she woke up and began following me around, complaining.  I could tell she wanted her cuddle time, but I really needed to finish the room. She was no help, plopping down in front of me each time I started to put down a clean paper.  I would move her and quickly try to put that one down and get it flat before she wrinkled it up.  Twice she moved over and piddled on sheets I had just put down, so I had to redo them. 

I finally got done replacing papers and began trying to spread out the flannel.  By that time Miss Pink and Mr. Blue had awakened and began following me around too, climbing on the backs of my legs or piddling on clean papers just before I spread the fleece over them.  Eventually they crashed on the flannel, thankfully where it was down nice and flat, but Miss Green continued to follow me and complain. 

At last I got finished, sat down and lifted Miss Green into my lap.  She settled with a sigh and enjoyed my stroking, eventually falling asleep.  When she was deeply asleep, I lifted her off my lap and put her next to the other two, got up v-e-r-y quietly, and turned out the light, deterring GloryToo from coming into the room.  I changed water bowls and filled the new, larger one and crept out, closing the gate.  Whew!  All that took a good 45 minutes and now I’m late rotating out the dogs who were crated overnight.  I’m going to have to start getting up earlier.

Today is going to be garden exploration day.  Besides the cardboard sleeves from, the small perennial packaging, I gathered up a water bubbler and some plastic plant containers.  I gave the pups a chance to sleep before I put all that in the room.  When I could hear them talking again, I opened the room turned on the light and started putting things ins.  I stuffed little towels into five of the cardboard plant envelopes so that they wouldn’t squash them flat, walking over them, and also to give them something else to “taste.”  They really liked the towel edges.  They rolled around the metal bubbler and stuck their heads in the bit plastic containers.  They had taken so long of a nap that I was nearly ready to start the big dogs’ ball sessions, so I just took a few quick photos and then put their breakfast bowls down among the new items.  Since they were all awake, I didn’t show the meat to them but backed to the far edge of the room and watched to see fi they would find it.  They definitely did!  Soon all had turned away from their investigations and were eating, so I left quietly.  Once they had eaten, I put GloryToo in with them since she had been away for a couple of hours.  Then I started ball sessions.

GloryToo has the fourth ball session.  When I let her out, I put in the room a strawberry container I had emptied at breakfast since it continued today’s “garden” theme.  I never saw anyone playing with the garden stuff during the day, but things did change positions in the room and the pups pull several towels out of the “sleeves.”

The rain threatened but never materialized, so I got the “baby puppy” yard mowed.  Tomorrow, if it isn’t raining, I’ll clean out the puppy house and set it up for the pups.        

They were in a cuddly mood tonight so we had another puppy cuddle huddle before I cleaned the room.  Everyone was in the mood for loving so the huddle lasted quite a while.  Then I chnged the room in peace and left them to rest.

24 Days (5/24)  I edited more of yesterdays photos early this morning and had to laugh.  Miss White, the last one, had been deeply asleep while I photographed all the others.  Her response to being placed in the box was to curl up and go back to sleep.  I had to wake her up to get her to even notice the box as anything other than a cozy bed.

Ears still aren’t open this morning, but I think I can see a tiny crack.  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.  As I changed the room, I felt a sharp pain.  I looked around and caught Miss White chomping down on my ankle.

I have several friends collecting jugs and containers for us to us in the puppy obstacle run.  For today’s “new thing,” I took six of those jugs, tied them together in pairs and placed them like a fence in different parts of the room, taking photos until all the pups crashed.  I used the strips cut out from the blanket on Monday, so they were an extra thing for the pups to notice.  I caught a couple of them mouthing them.  I moved the jugs a couple of times, creating a “fence” in different places and encouraging the pups to come towards me.  Even though their ears aren’t yet open, I called them in case those cracks I thought I saw would let a little sound in.  I also moved around and patted the floor.  Each time some would come towards me and go through the “gate” area. 

The last “fence” I created was across the entrance to the whelping bed and all but Mr. Blue went through them, headed to the fleece and collapsed; he came back out the opening and then crashed on the ramp.  I left the jugs in place, let GloryToo in with them, and began ball sessions.

When I let GloryToo out for her ball sessions, I changed where the jugs were and called the pups to me through them again, then left them.  After her ball time, I crated her.  When I fed the pups their lunch, I put the “fence” generally between their bowls and the whelping bed, and left them.  When I put GloryToo in with them again, I took out the jugs.  That was enough thinking for the pups for today.

When I opened the room to get GloryToo out so she could have her supper, she wasn’t in it.  I didn’t think much of it, figuring she was in her yard, until I heard a puppy yelling just as she came in.  I quickly counted puppies – only 5.  Then I noticed she had knocked down the board keeping the puppies away from the doggie door.  Sure enough, the yelling was coming for the enclosed ramp going down to ground level.  Mr. Blue was just out of reach, so I had to go out into her yard and open the “emergency door” in the side of the “tunnel” around the ramp, to reach him.  He quit yelling as son as I reached for me and was quite cheerful as I carried him back inside.  I think he had been happily nursing until she jumped up and came to my call, and he got mad.  He sure wasn’t stressed, but came right to the food bowls when I put their supper into the room.

When I went in to clean their room tonight, they all greeted me so I sat down first to visit.  We were having a nice, peaceful puppy cuddle huddle until GloryToo walked in, and then they went wild chasing her.  Miss White plowed through their water bowl and got water all over, tracking it onto the newspapers I had just changed.  Miss Pink was all wet, too, though I don’t know if she, too, went through the bowl or just encountered the dripping Miss White.  Naturally both of them wanted to snuggle some more and ended up getting me wet.                      

Miss Purple seized the opportunity to chow down on my arm.  Thankfully, GloryToo consented to lie on the fleece pad, which was still clean tonight, the second night in a row.  I had changed it this morning.  She nursed them long enough that I got the front half of the floor changed and new flannel down before the puppies began seeking me out.  She then lay on the flannel and they nursed again, long enough for me to nearly change the rest of the floor.  She left and the puppies and I visited a while again before they began dropping off.  I checked several ears and think they’re open, but it was hard to tell for sure since they were very wiggly tonight – maybe because their ears are open.

23 Days (5/23)  Ears still aren’t open, but the pups sure acted like they were, all of them yelling when I “delayed” entering the room after I let GloryToo out.  They don’t understand I have to first feed her and then gather up the clean bedding before I can come in.  GloryToo refused to help going onto pad and nursing the pups so I could get some of the floor changed.  All she did was come in, wake the pups and stir them up, then leave again.  I then kept having to pick up and put aside pup after pup, and had to re-change some papers since they naturally had to pee after their nap. 

I gave up on cleaning, sat down and visited.  Miss Yellow immediately climbed up into my lap and sat there contentedly.  She was joined by Miss Green.  Miss Pink chewed contemplatively on my sweatshirt.  Miss Purple, after visiting a bit, tried to do laps around the room.  There wasn’t much room with me sitting there so I got up onto my knees and began changing the bed.  That gave her a little more room and she definitely tried to run and executed some pretty respectable roll backs to change direction as she got to the end of her space.  The others mouth-wrestled with each other and climbed over the backs of my legs so that, by the time I had clean papers and fleece in the bed, they were ready to nap.  When I began cleaning the room, only Miss Green followed me around, and that for only a short time.  By the time I finished the room, all were crashed.

I was initially disappointed, thinking how was I going to get photos of their morning addition to the room with them out like lights.  I had taken a cardboard box and, to be sure they didn’t somehow upend it and someone got trapped inside, cut two openings in the ends.  When I took it into the room and compared the holes with the puppies, I decided the holes weren’t large enough so I cut them larger.  I left the cut-out pieces attached at the bottom to make flaps that might attract some puppy teeth.  I also had the end of a roll of paper towels; those are always great puppy toys because they will roll and are light enough the pups can pick them up and carry them around, though I doubt these are old enough yet to do that.

So I had the party all set up, and no one came.  What to do?  I decided to pick one pup up at a time, awake it from its slumbers, place it in the box and see what happened.  Miss Green was the closest, so I did her first.  I hadn’t even gotten far enough away so I could take a photo when she went out the “back door.”  Hmmm, now what?  I pressed that flap closed and tried again.  This time she looked around and thought about it before ignoring the “front door” and climbing over.  The next four pups climbed over the box to get out, although I did have to wake Miss White up because she thought it made a great bed, curled up, and went back to sleep.  Not very interesting photos, there.  I picked her up and loved on her until she was awake, then put her back in.  she looked around and then climbed out.  Thankfully all of them climbed out the side nearest to the camera!

Miss Pink was last.  I hardly got away from the box before she looked to both sides and then calmly left through the “front door.”  I thought it quite interesting that the two blacks used the doors while the black-and-tans showed reluctance to put their heads down enough to notice the openings but worked much harder to figure out how to climb over the sides.  Mr. Blue actually stuck his head and shoulders through the opening before changing his mind and going over the top, while the three black and tan girls never even noticed the opening.

When I went in to pick up their (nearly empty) breakfast bowls and change the white pad that had caught most of the breakfast mess, they woke up with a vengeance and reminded me of a disturbed ant bed.  I couldn’t put down the clean white pad no matter how hard I tried. Finally, in desperation, I put the closest four pups in the cardboard box.  I had just enough time to move the other two out of the way and spread out the pad before all climbed out and rejoined me.  Whew!  I put GloryToo in with them and left. 

My perennials from High Country Gardens arrived this morning.  As I unpacked them, I thought what perfect puppy “toys” the little cardboard protectors around each small plant would be.  Since I used cardboard today, I won’t use these tomorrow, but maybe Monday I’ll see what the pups will do with the ten of them.  I’ll also save the plastic containers for the three larger plants after I get them planted.

Rain forced me to cancel most of the daily ball sessions, so I had an extra couple of hours available today for editing photos.  As I edited the photos from Day 21, I noticed things I didn’t put in the diary for that day, such as Miss Yellow trying to nurse while GloryToo was standing.  She wasn’t successful, but she sure tried!  Miss Purple even left the log to chew on the metal leg of the grooming table, which must also have been reflecting nicely.  Meanwhile, Miss Yellow spent a lot of time checking out that log.  I also caught photos of Miss Yellow trying to drink from GloryToo’s tall water bucket, while Mr. Blue tasted GloryToo’s dish of kibble.  I got all those photos edited and nearly finished this morning’s before I became too sleepy.  My goal is to catch up on all the daily “new thing” photos early and get them on the website early tomorrow morning.  Then I get back to editing the visit photos.

 Tonight, while I cleaned the room, all the pups attempted to nurse while GloryToo stood.  They did pretty well except GloryToo wouldn’t stand for long.

Champion lap-sitters tonight were Miss White, Mr. Blue and Miss Green.  They also gave excellent eye contact.

Miss Green again followed me around long after the others crashed.  She loves to be picked up and held.

The fleece pad and papers under it in the whelping bed were dry tonight, so I didn’t have to change them!

Ears still aren’t open.  I was surprised, because they were really noisy tonight. At first I expected it was because they could hear, but checking several pups’ ears showed it wasn’t.  Almost, though…

22 Days (5/22)  I sure had help this morning as I tried to change the room!  It really cooled off last night and the room was a little chilly, so they seemed to like the warmth of my body and kept asking to be held close.  I turned on the heater to warm the room a bit and closed the sheet on the gate to keep the warmth in.  Yesterday had periods of quite warm weather, then chill winds so it’s hard to keep the room a comfortable temperature for them and their mother.   

I gave up on cleaning the room, and we had our cuddle session first.  Miss Yellow kept climbing into my lap and settling there happily like she was Queen of the Mountain.  Miss Green and Miss Pink nearly made it up; I gave them each a boost.  The rest were content to visit from the floor.  Mr. Blue took a tentative nibble of my shirt cuff.  Once they seemed to be satisfied, I lifted Miss Yellow down and started changing papers and pads.  Miss Green followed me around as I gathered damp papers and was quite insulted when I stood up to put them on the trash bag on the grooming table.  I picked her up and loved on her for a bit before I resumed my chores.  Soiled papers removed, I grabbed a handful of clean ones and again knelt to place them the floor.  I open them fully for the non-covered areas, to reduce movement as much as possible, and she followed my every move.  By that time the others had fallen asleep and she “helped” me move bodies out of the way.  She seemed to have a “We’re doing a good job of this, Grandma” attitude.

I found some puppy toys that shouldn’t interest GloryToo (a BIG consideration!) and put them in the room for the pups to investigate.  One was a hard, braided toy, one a soft braided rope and the third was a plastic Frisbee.  They’re still too young for toys but I’m trying to establish a “habit” of something new every morning.

After they had a chance to check out the toys, I put GloryToo in her crate and gave them their breakfast.        Today I began giving them three meals instead of two.  For lunch and supper I gave them ¾#, since they aren’t cleaning all the food up when I give 1#.

I had to loosen everyone’s collars again.  They’re really growing fast!  This is the largest these baby collars go, so next time I’ll have to get out the larger ones.

Claudia, a local friend who is getting one of the females, came this afternoon and helped me give the pups their first experience of the outdoors.  It was a perfect day, about 70 degrees, no breeze, and cloudy so no bright light.  We carried them        outside two at a time, GloryToo following and keeping an eye on us, and set them down, then returned with the last two and my camera.  They were fascinated by the green grass and big spaces. They didn’t explore a great distance, but they checked everything out and then found Claudia and visited a lot with her.  I took 350 photos. 

Miss Purple was the first one to leave the huddle and explore.  I caught Miss White giving Claudia some prolonged eye contact – in fact, I had to encourage Claudia to reward her by noticing it and petting her.  That eye contact is the key to training, so I work hard to affirm it, especially when the pups first begin.  This is the first I’ve seen, and the length she held the eye contact was impressive for a first try.

We noticed lots of good use of their noses.  GloryToo helped by coming to visit then moving off.  The pups would just notice her, then she was gone, and good little nose-users that they already are, they both air scented AND tracked where she had walked.  Of course, they were easily distracted by being bumped or Claudia’s or my movement, but they kept trying, especially since GloryToo would walk through periodically.

Miss Purple enjoyed having her tummy rubbed.  She also was the first to find me by following my scent.  Mr. Blue was next to find me.  He was last, though, to find GloryToo the next time she wandered by, and then settled close; he was too busy visiting with Claudia.  Miss Yellow remains my champion lap dog.  She found both of us at different times, climbed up and stayed for quite a while, accepting petting.

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, though a couple chomped down on my hand tonight as if experimenting with their new weapons.  They’re still sucking in the meat rather than taking bites, but all that will soon change as they discover their teeth.  Those baby teeth are sharp, so I felt them even through my sleeves, as gentle as they mouthed me.

Tonight I was greeted by a several “hurry up and come in” barks when I entered. Thankfully GloryToo 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 when they mobbed me.

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

21 Days (5/21)  Everyone greeted me with enthusiasm when I let GloryToo out of the room this morning.  In fact, they wore themselves out visiting and “helping” me clean the room.  I had planned to put their new items to explore out first thing, but I decided to wait until they had a good nap.  An hour later I took in an old cooking pan with a handle, a big lid and a small wooden rolling pin.  I thought the reflection off the metal pan and lid would be interesting for them, both the metal and wood would be new things to taste, plus the rolling pin would (naturally) roll.  As they woke up, they naturally had to pee (so the photos have damp spots showing) and then they headed down the ramp to investigate the new objects before beginning to wrestle.  Miss Pink was first to look, then Miss Yellow, then Miss Green.  Miss White was the only one who refused to investigate but went back to sleep.  I took a few photos.

Once they seemed satisfied with the “furniture”, I moved it up a little, onto the ramp, so I could put their breakfast on the level spot.  I had to bring Miss White to it because she was still napping.  She woke up when she smelled the meat.

Before I began ball sessions, I put GloryToo back in with them.  While she cleaned up the leftover meat, I checked several ears.  Miss Green gave a little “I’m a big, tough dog” growl when I picked her up to look at her ears, then she wiggled and squirmed, wanting down to play and pursue mom for a drink.  It was hard to see anything, but the “cracks” do seem more defined than yesterday, so I think they’ll be open soon.  I’m not too concerned that their neurological systems are not complete on this “magic” day when they’re supposed to be.  Since GloryToo whelped 4 days early, they may need an extra day or two to finish hooking up all the circuits. 

Then I picked up the food bowls and changed the soiled white runner for a clean one.  They really like the knob on the big lid and seem confused when the roller rolls, but soon were distracted into play bouts with each other, falling over the new objects as they mouthed each other.

All I seem to do right now is clean.  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 both fleece strips that give them traction for walking.  The washing machine will go practically non-stop until they’re old enough to move outdoors to the “baby” puppy house and yard, hopefully soon.  I’m waiting for their ears to open AND for the trees in that yard to leaf out so there’s shade instead of bright light that will bother their eyes.

            This afternoon I put a small log from my firewood pile in the far part of the room.  I thought the texture of the bark would prove interesting to them, and it did.  Miss White immediately investigated, followed quickly by Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss Green, then the others.  Then the overhead light reflecting on the pan and lid drew them back to those objects.  They must be much more interesting with light reflecting off them.

Tonight I decided they were walking well enough that I could take the covering off about half of the floor.  I also doubled the fleece pad so that it’s higher off the floor and hopefully will encourage the pups to see it as a sleeping place rather than potty area.  That left the front half of the whelping box with just newspapers.  The ramp area and room entrance areas will continue to be covered so the newspapers stay in place.  I had lots of help as I changed their rooms, and it seemed to take forever. 

Tail wagging is now pretty general.  They also are doing a funny growl/trill sound to communicate with me, especially when I open the gate to let GloryToo out but don’t immediately walk into the room. 

They’re all sitting like real dogs.  And definitely playing with each other.  So much fun.  

20 Days (5/20)  This morning all the pups noticed when I came into the room and came to greet me, even Miss Purple who had been sleeping way in the back of the bed.  We had a nice love-in before I started changing the room.  They would cuddle, then move off to potty, then come back to cuddle.  I like to see that because it means they are ‘cleaned out” before I put down the new papers and pads, and thus the room stays clean longer. 

Miss Yellow was funny.  As I reclined on my side so all could reach me, she came to me, sat and leaned against me as if she were trying to get as much surface area as possible in contact with me.  She stayed there for quite a while, leaning against me without moving even when I quit petting her so as to give other attention.  Mr. Blue found my ear; he must have though it was dirty because he gave it a thorough cleaning.  Miss pink, Miss Purple and Miss White got into a little mouth-wrestling bout.  I love to watch those initial efforts to play.  Then Miss Pink stretched out facing my head and watched me, leaning into my hand as I petted her each time.  These three had the most prolonged interest in interacting, followed by Miss Green.  Miss White and Miss Purple came and went. 

When I finished changing the room, I put GloryToo in her crate and began rotating the other dogs out of their crates for breakfast and stretches.  After a while, I took the pups their breakfast.  They are beginning to connect my coming in the room with food and most started towards me.  As soon as I put the bowls down, the ones who were awake headed for them.  I woke the others, put them close to the bowl, and left.  As I looked back all were starting to eat.

Since the day was heating up, before I started ball sessions, I opened the puppy room window.  When I stepped into the room, Miss Yellow and Mr. Blue noticed, came towards me, then stumbled over the food bowls and began to eat again.  Miss Pink and Miss White woke as I stepped over them and also were diverted from greeting me by smelling the food.  As I left, I gave everyone a pat and left them to eat.  I won’t put GloryToo back in with them until after she has had her ball session.

With the sheet pulled back at the entrance to the room, I’m hearing little puppy barks as I go past.  If they’re awake, they notice the movement and announce it.  I haven’t figured out if it’s a specific pup or two who are noisier than the others, or just anyone who senses the movement and see a big shadow go past.  GloryToo is quite the talker.  She likes to stick her head out the doggie door and just bark to announce to the world that she’s up and moving, makes rounds of my two acres announcing she’s on duty, and frequently gets in trouble when she barks in the car.  Her daughter, Lovely, does the same thing.  When they bark, I’ll look up to see if someone has driven in – the way the sound echoes around here I hear someone driving into the drive of the neighbor across the street but not into my drive, so I often only know when we have visitors because one of my dogs announces it.

I recently found a great puppy-raising resource:  the Puppy Culture Workbook.  During this week, they advise one new experience per day for the litter.  I have always waited until the ears opened before I began seriously introducing new things, but I decided to start earlier like they do.  Today I had been trying to think of what I could do with them still not able to hear or regulate their temperature.  They’re still too young to notice toys, so what were my options?  While GloryToo was having her ball session, I had an idea.  Why not stimulate them to use their eyes in a different way by having something vertical that will look totally new and also move?  When we came in, I searched for a small blanket and found one that was the perfect size AND had a pattern that made it easy for me to cut it into relatively standard strips so it could be hung over the entrance to the puppy bed.  While GloryToo cleaned up the nearly-empty food bowls, and in the process thoroughly awaked the puppies, I cut strips out of the blanket and slipped one edge under the boxes and scale on top of the table.  Then I ran to grab my camera.  By the time – a few seconds – I got back, several puppies had already seen the hanging strips, gone to them and were mouthing them.  Success!  I got a few photos.  Miss Pink noticed the blanket immediately, while Mr. Blue was too busy picking on Miss Yellow to even notice there was something new in the room.  Then Miss Green made enough noise that both of them looked up and headed to explore.  Miss Yellow must have not been too impressed, because she turned away and looked at me, then finally headed to take a closer look.  By the time she investigated the blanket, Mr. Blue had finished checking it out and again headed to pester her.  Personalities are most definitely starting to emerge!

I then shut GloryToo in with her now-totally-awake family who after their investigations would be sure to need some milk.

The workbook goes with the Puppy Culture DVD set by Jane Killion.  This four-DVD series is mainly for breeders, with suggestions of things to do with puppies from birth until the end of the critical socializing period at 12 weeks.  Watching the DVD section concerning a particular age of the litter might help you better understand what I’m writing in the litter diary.  (You can get it from her website, www.pigsflydogs.com).

When I fed them supper, I moved the blanket, hanging it on the grooming table upon which I have the box of clean newspapers and sack of soiled papers (until I have enough to take out to the garbage).  I didn’t catch anyone noticing the new location, but I didn’t stay around but left quietly so they could eat. 

Someone was asking about the floor coverings.  I use long strips of flannel to catch dirt as the dogs come in to the house through the doggie door.  Every other day I exchange flannel strips and wash the soiled one – they really reduce how often I must mop the floor.  For years I used two pieces with big safety pins joining them together.  When I got my new, frontloading, washer, I was able to order LONG strips of flannel, about 15 yards, because the washer could handle them.  With this litter, I had the brainstorm to use the old, six-yard-long, pieces on the floor instead of sheets and blankets as I had before.  I have figured out that I can cut the flannel enough that I can wrap it around the table leg so the flannel lies flat on the floor.  The pups are walking well enough now that in a day or two I will quit putting the flannel on the “new” area, which is flat.  I’ll just keep it over the ramp to hold the newspapers from sliding as GloryToo enters and exits the puppy box.  The white cloth absorbs the shock as the jumps over the half-gate entering and leaving the room.  It also emphasizes the meal area, and is easy to replace after a meal so I don’t have to change the flannel.

When I cleaned the room tonight, I didn’t notice them looking at it, either, but they were either chasing GloryToo, wanting to nurse, or wanting attention from me as I knelt changing papers, flannel and fleece.

When they had had enough loving and were about to crash, I weighed them.  Mr. Blue and Miss White topped the scales at 4.2#, Miss Purple was next at 3.9#, Miss Yellow and Miss Pink were 3.7# and Miss Green was 3.4#.

19 Days (5/19) This morning, when I let GloryToo out, Miss Purple was way back in the box, on her back, legs sprawled, deeply asleep.  She looked extremely comfortable.  When I went back in a few minutes later to change bedding, she was still that way.  So as not to disturb her, I moved the other pups into the box and changed the floor coverings/newspapers first.  When I was ready to change the fleece pad, she was still out so I ended up having to disturb her after all.  Thankfully, GloryToo came in about that time and stretched out on the floor to nurse them, so she wasn’t too upset at being awakened.

When I moved the other pups, Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss Yellow came to cuddle with me rather than nurse.  By the time I managed to change the bed (with their help), Miss Purple came to cuddle while Miss Pink moved off to nurse.  Pretty soon GloryToo left and Miss Green and Miss Yellow joined us.  Miss White stopped halfway between where GloryToo had been and seemed unable to find us.  I’m sure I resented a strange shadow picture as I lay, propped on an elbow, loving on the others.  She put her nose in the air and complained until I sat up, reached out, picked her up and brought her to the rest.  We then had a very happy puppy cuddle huddle.  Mr. Blue kept trying to climb into my lap, so I lifted him into I and he wagged his tail and snuggled.  GloryToo came in and distracted him so he slid off and headed towards her, then he changed his mind and came back to me and tried again to climb into my lap.  I lifted him up and he stretched out with a contented sign.  I lay partway down so they could all reach me and Miss Purple began licking my forehead, the first “kisses” I’ve received.  Mr. Blue started sucking on my hand and I could feel teeth just breaking through the gums. Meanwhile, Miss Green had found her favorite stop, on top of my arm and snuggled down.  We were having so much fun I had to tear myself away from them.

For breakfast I again gave them ½# raw meat diet in each bowl and they cleaned up the lot, well, all they didn’t squish against the sides and couldn’t get loose.  GloryToo, of course, was quite glad to clean the bowls and the pups.

We had an unseasonable warm day (finally!) and the whelping room got pretty warm, so I opened the window and the sheet over the gate that prevents drafts.  GloryToo really appreciated that and the pups didn’t mind.  I checked often to be sure they weren’t piling together in an attempt to warm up, but they were either stretched flat out, alone, or grouped in twos but not on top of each other.  They won’t be able to regulate their temperature until all neurological systems are hooked up, signaled by the ears opening, usually about day 21.  I’m checking ears daily now so I know when that happens.  The little knobs inside the ears are becoming more prominent and defined, but they still haven’t moved apart to create the openings of the ears.  The pups are getting much fuzzier, which right now helps them stay warm enough.  I’m thinking Miss Yellow and Miss Pink, maybe Mr. Blue, are going to have the heavier coats like their dad.

This afternoon they had their first adventure and first trip outside the whelping room.  Of course, I set up the backdrop to create a protected space in the living room, and spread the same flannel that I put on the whelping room floor, so it looked like home.  My friend, Linda, had come to hep me take photos.  We carried the pups into the living rom and she sat down with them, while I moved off to shoot photos.  GloryToo accompanied us and saw the pups installed, then moved away and lay down in the kitchen, about 15’ away and out of sight. 

After a while she came in and stretched out beside Linda and let the pups nurse.  Mr. Blue was too busy interacting with Linda to pay any attention to GloryToo, but the others headed her way.  After a few minutes Linda put him close to GloryToo and picked up another pup.  I think I got some great shots of each pup.  I sure hope so, since I took 367.  It will be a while before I get all of them edited and on the website. 

Miss Green and Miss Pink had a little play interaction, with Mr. Blue joining in a little.  Miss Purple and Miss Yellow did, too.  I just remember those pairs, though I may find other play interactions as I edit photos.  Once the pups were full of milk they stretched out to nap, and then we put them back in the whelping room.

They must have been really tired from their adventure because they hardly ate any supper tonight.  When I put GloryToo in with them, a couple of them woke up and started eating, but it was too late.

As I changed bedding tonight, Miss Green found me and climbed on the back of my leg.  When I moved, she moved with me.  Done, I reclined on my elbow to visit and she was very happy I quit moving.  Mr. Blue came to visit, then Miss Purple, then Miss Pink.  The rest were dead to the world.

18 Days (5/18)  First thing when I get up, I let GloryToo 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, then clean the room.  Then I put her back in with them while I rotate out all the other dogs.  Before I put her back in with her pups, I opened up the entire room.  Miss Pink was the only one who woke up as I worked.  She came to me and climbed on the back of my leg, stretched out and went to sleep. I finally put the very limp puppy with the others in the bed so I could finish my work.

When I let GloryToo out for her ball session, Miss Pink, Miss Purple and Miss Yellow were way out in the new area, while the other three were in the bed.

After her ball session, I put GloryToo in her crate so that I could introduce the pups to meat.  I put about 10 ounces of the raw meat diet in each of 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.  That way, they learn from the beginning that coming brings rewards, because it’s one of the first things they hear when their ears open (at about 21 days). 

It’s a great introduction to what later becomes the “come” command because they never forget that call.  I had one pup, years ago, whose owner moved to Houston.  She would call every so often and, after we talked, would put the phone by his ears and tell me to call him.  He’d go ballistic, getting all excited and looking around for me.  She did Schutzhund (the competitive sport that involves obedience, tracking and protection work) with him and he became aloof and wasn’t interested in visiting with other people, but he never forgot me.  My parents live in Beaumont, which is about 90 miles from Houston, and occasionally I would go through Houston on my trips home and stop to visit her.  He would come to the door in the usual GSD “Who are you and what do you want?” mode, but as soon as I said “Puppy, puppy, puppy,” he was all over me.  She said he never responded like that to anyone else he knew.  He never forgot.

After putting down the bowls, I made sure all were awake and their heads close to the meat, took a couple of photos, then left.  Miss Yellow wasn’t immediately interested like the others, but soon decided she was missing something and headed back to the bowls.  The pups had about an hour to investigate and eat if they wished before I finished ball sessions and put GloryToo back in with them.  I was surprised, when I eventually put GloryToo back in the whelping room, to find a nearly empty bowl and a half-full bowl.  They must have really liked the meat.   

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 when introducing meat.  On the temperament test at 7 weeks, all those pups showed intense desire to use their noses, so I decided to continue the practice.  They sometimes 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.  It has sides low enough they can find the water but high enough they won’t fall in as they learn to drink.  They need water now since they’ve begun eating and GloryToo will be away from them for a while after they eat. 

Only once today did I hear a pup crying.  When I checked, Miss Purple was way on the edge of the new area, alone, and must have suddenly felt lost.  I picked her up and she snuggled under my chin, immediately consoled.  I put her with the rest of the pups and she settled down quite happily.  Every other time I checked, the seemed to be exploring in pairs; at least no one else complained.

In the late afternoon, I offered the pups ½ pound meat per dish, leaving GloryToo away from them for about 90 minutes.  All of the pups moved to the meat when I placed them around the bowls (3 per bowl), and they ate nearly all of it. 

When I changed bedding last thing tonight, Miss Pink, Miss Purple and Mr. Blue had the longest cuddling times.  Mr. Blue sure can wag his tail when he’s happy!  The others visited some and moved off in search of GloryToo, but those three were quite content to climb onto some part of my body and be petted. 

17 Days (5/17)  This morning only Miss White and Miss Yellow were out in the room, and all were asleep.  No one stirred as I turned on the light, let GloryToo out, and carried in clean bedding.  I carefully put Miss White and Miss Yellow in the whelping bed with the others while I changed the flannel and newspapers on the floor.  No one woke up to visit with me.  Then I moved the peacefully slumbering, limp puppies out of the bed onto the floor, so I could change the fleece pad.  As I did that, GloryToo came in and proceeded to wake them all up.  She cleaned them and they started to nurse, but as soon as I finished putting the clean fleece pad down, she got up, leaving a squirming, complaining bunch to come out to cuddle with me.  By the time I put her back in her room, they were all crashed on the floor.  I don’t think they moved much at all last night after I put them to bed, because hardly any of the floor newspapers were damp but a bunch in the bed were.  They had been nursing in the whelping bed when I finished chores last night and left them.

GloryToo was nursing them on the floor when I left.  When I returned to get her for her ball session, Miss Green had gone into the bed but the other 5 were still where they had been when I left.  GloryToo wasn’t much interested in the ball today but got in a good CARROTing session.

When I let GloryToo out for lunch, all six pups were cuddled on the floor.  They have gotten used to GloryToo’s jumping over them and my walking over them.

My friend, Denise, stopped by to take a peek at the pups and I convinced her to hold them while I trimmed nails.  Miss Purple and Miss White resisted, struggling and vocalizing, but the other four were very cooperative.

Tonight, when I went into the room, Mr. Blue was stretched out on the ramp, with just his head on the fleece, body on the flannel. Everyone else was on the floor.  I got a few half-hearted tail wags as I moved them while changing the papers and covers, but no one moved except when I lifted the out of the way.  Very contented pups.  Tomorrow I’m going to try to stir them up a bit.  I’ll open up the whole room first thing in the morning and see if they will begin exploring.

16 Days (5/16)  This morning, when I entered the room, Mr. Blue was asleep on the floor by the gate, while the others were still in the puppy box.  I could see damp spots on the flannel covering the floor so imagine more pups had explored their new area during the night.  After I changed all the covers (two washer loads twice a day now), GloryToo lay down in the new area to nurse them and I got some photos of the first time I’ve seen her sitting to let them nurse.  She soon lay down again, but it’s obvious that the six no longer fit easily when she lies down.

When I let GloryToo out for her ball session, all but Miss Green were out in the room.  I snapped a few quick shots before heading outside.  Getting those staples out must have made a big difference, as GloryToo retrieved the ball several times before saying she had had enough.

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.  As soon as their eyes opened, I closed the curtain on the window since they are very sensitive to bright light.  As long as their eyes are blue, they are 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. 

As I put GloryToo back, I turned on the light to make sure all the pups were okay.  All were out in the room.  It was interesting to see the pups react now as I turned on the overhead light.  Heads popped up and swiveled, catching our movement as GloryToo and I entered the room.  The pups startled and drew back at our shadowy movement.  Miss White sat up and looked around, just like a big dog.  Then they caught GloryToo’s scent and began to search for her.  I quickly left and turned off the light.  What I want to see, before I open the entire room, is pups making their way back into the whelping bed after being in the open.  So far only Miss Green has done that.

When I let GloryToo out for lunch, I noticed Miss Green was still in the whelping bed.  That made me suspicious, and worried she might not be eating since GloryToo was nursing the pups on the floor.  I moved Miss Green with the others and checked, when I put GloryToo back in, that she was still with them.

A midafternoon check showed Miss Purple in the whelping box and all the others together on the floor.

Several later checks showed all of them clumped closely together on the floor.  GloryToo seems to prefer to nurse them there; in fact, when I finished cleaning the whelping box tonight and asked her to go into it so that I could change the floor, I really had to insist that she do so.  Once settled and puppies nursing, she was content while I changed the floor and carried out the soiled bedding.

Tonight was the last night for the neurological exercises.  While they waited their turn, all the pups except Miss Green sat like real dogs.  She didn’t have a chance since I happened to do her exercises first. Instead, she waged her tail madly against my body as I held her for the first exercise.  Mr. Blue was the only one who was content to relax and look at my face as I did the supine exercise.

Neurological Stimulation Day 14, Pups 16 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  ALL    

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Blue, Green, Yellow    
     Squirmed:  Pink Purple, White

Head pointed down
     Relaxed:  Blue, Yellow    
     Squirmed:  Green, Pink, Purple, White
     Verbalized:  Pink White

Supine position
    Relaxed: Blue
     Struggled Vigorously:  Green, Pink, Purple, White
     Squirmed:  Yellow
     Verbalized:  Pink, Purple, White

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  ALL

15 Days (5/15)  This morning when I checked the, all pups were on top of the fleece pad.  Hurrah!  I had some “help” as I changed it.  Miss Green kept pushing through my legs and settling down in the “tunnel” she made, while Miss Pink kept trying to hold my hand down on the soiled pad so that she could rest her chin on it.  Miss Yellow and Miss White sat) SO cute seeing them upright amongst the other pups who are lying down).  Miss Yellow kept trying to catch my attention, or it sure seemed like it.  She would bark; I would chuckle and give her a pat.  I would turn back to my work, and she would bark again and for all the world seem to be waiting for me to respond.  Since it happened about 6 times, I am thinking it was definitely an engagement with me.  She then moved over to the puppy pile and continued to sit, but quietly.  Meanwhile, Miss Green kept complaining when I disturbed her “tunnel” and Miss Pink kept trying to find my hand. And I swear Miss Yellow tried to figure out the body movements to CARROTing.  Twice I saw her lean her head against her side and then try to roll on her back, the way her mother does as she begins to CARROT.  It took me forever to get their bed changed.

Mercy and Spirit had agility class this morning (Cantor and Lovely had their class last night.  To say they were excited is a vast understatement. They all had a great time, but I struggled with wearing a mask in the arena, which the owner keeps damped down for classes.  Every time I put my head down slightly, my glasses fogged.  I finally gave up and took off my glasses; I can see well enough to function okay at class.  I just wish the things weren’t so darned hot and hard to breathe through.) By the time we get home from class, it’s too late to get ball sessions done before the dogs’ lunch (a sacred time the don’t let me postpone), so I didn’t do any ball sessions today. 

Instead, I scheduled GloryToo’s staple removal.  She was excited to go somewhere.  Dr. Cindy took forever to remove the staples because the action of the puppies nursing and pushing against her to make the milk flow faster had turned nearly all of the staples completely around.  Dr. Cindy had to carefully maneuver each staple through the skin to get it to where the back of the staple faced out and could be grasped by the staple remover and pulled gently out.  GloryToo was extremely good during this whole process, which involved her on her back, with me holding her head against my legs and her front legs up so that she was level, and Dr. Cindy holding her back legs up and out of the way so she could move GloryToo’s udder out of the way and get to the staples.

As a reward for being so good, GloryToo got to go with me this afternoon as I headed to the print shop to approve the final copy of chapter one of her book.  She was quite pleased to do something other than puppies.

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. 

Tonight, on the supine exercise, Mr. Blue, Miss Green, Miss Purple and Miss Yellow lay totally relaxed and watched me. I swear they listen as I say 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005, counting the time for the exercise, but of course they can’t hear anything yet.  Miss Pink and Miss White, on the other hand, were quite the opposite, resisting and complaining through the middle three exercises.  Several are definitely thinking about leaving the cold, wet towel on the last exercise but just don’t get moving before the five seconds is up. Only Miss Yellow made it off in time but Miss Pink and Miss Green almost did.

The washer has now worked perfectly for a day and a half so I decided it is really fixed this time and it’s safe to plan on more laundry.  After I changed the fleece pad and newspapers and did neurological exercises, I left the side of the puppy box down and began opening up the room.  I do this in stages to give the pups a chance to learn first to go straight in and out of the (warmer) puppy box before opening the entire room, where they must learn to make a ninety-degree turn from the new area to get to the ramp and go up to the box.

I turned off the heater since they kept pushing around the fleece pad to get to the cooler newspapers below.  The weather is wet and chilly so I have the furnace on anyway.  If spring every comes and I turn off the furnace, I can always have the heater in part of the room and they can go towards or away from it as needed.

I first put up another 8″ board on the side where GloryToo has been entering and leaving.  A 12″ board works nicely to define the new floor space – GloryToo can easily step over it to get to her water and the doggie door to go outside. I put papers and a piece of flannel for traction over it and the floor, opened up part of the room and let the pups begin exploring.  I took photos of their new living space and then left them for the night.

Neurological Stimulation Day 13, Pups 15 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  ALL    

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Green, Purple, Yellow          
     Squirmed:  Blue, Pink, White

Head pointed down
     Relaxed: Green   
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink, White
     Squirmed:  Blue, Purple, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Pink, White

Supine position
    Relaxed:  Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow    
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink, White
     Verbalized:  Pink, White

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  All but Yellow
     Moved off towel:  Yellow

14 Days (5/14)  Turning down the heater must have made a difference because all the pups were on top of the pad this morning, though it had a couple of “waves” in it.  Maybe they just needed the extra room that resulted when I took out the pig rail. Who knows?

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

All was well when I checked them as I got GloryToo out for her ball session, but Miss Purple had lost her collar.  About this time, even though I carefully hand wash and dry the on a rack, the collars begin wanting to stick to anything except themselves. 

GloryToo is now CARROTing at each morning ball session, not as much as usual but obviously enjoying it.  That tells me any discomfort or tightness from the surgery must be past.  She gets her staples out tomorrow morning and that should help a lot.

When I checked the pups as I returned GloryToo to her room, Miss Purple had again lost her collar. It was stretched out in a straight line, stuck to the fleece pad.  These collars are definitely an improvement on having to sew the ends of pieces of Rick-Rack to make new collars every time I need to enlarge them, but the sure get to be a nuisance as they start sticking to everything except themselves.

The repairman came about noon to put the new part in the washing machine.  I sure hope this solves the problem.  It’s about time to start offering the pups raw meat, which means changing bedding after each meal, since they insist on trying to walk through the bowls instead of suck on the meat, and then they “shed” meat everywhere they walk until GloryToo cleanse them up.

Even though the room feels cool to me, I still found pups under the pad when I went in to change the bedding tonight.  The only thing left to do is to open up part of the room.  I’ve been trying to wait until they are walking better, since they have to go up and down the ramp, but if they keep going under the pad I’ll have to do it tomorrow.  This, too, is waiting for the washing machine, since I put blankets over newspapers on the floor of the open area and those have to be changed (and washed) frequently.

As usual, I pulled the pad (with them on it) out into the room so I could change the newspapers in the bed and put in a clean fleece.  As I knelt doing that, Miss Yellow sat and barked several times, while Miss Purple found me and cuddled against my legs.

Miss Purple had again lost her collar, so I dug out the tiny puppy collars and put them on after I did each pup’s neurological stimulation exercises.  The pups were back to their usual responses tonight.

Neurological Stimulation Day 12, Pups 14 days old

Tactical stimulation     
     Relaxed: All but Pink     
     Squirmed:  Pink

Head held erect
     Relaxed: All but Pink     
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink
     Verbalized:  Pink

Head pointed down
     Relaxed: Yellow   
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink, White
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green, Purple
     Verbalized:  Pink, White

Supine position
    Relaxed: Yellow     
     Struggled Vigorously:  Blue, Pink, White
     Squirmed:  Purple
     Struggled then settled:  Green
     Verbalized:  Blue, Pink, Purple, White

Thermal stimulation
     Relaxed: Yellow   
     Squirmed: Blue, Pink, Purple 
     Moved off towel:  Green, White

13 Days (5/13)  When I pulled the fleece pad out this morning so as to change newspapers and pad, I had to blink twice:  there was Miss White sitting up like a real dog!  She did it again as I finished putting in the clean fleece pad and turned to pick them up to put them back in the bed.  Miss Purple initiated a definite interaction by nuzzling my hand and then “tasting” it by putting her mouth over my knuckles and mouthing me.  When I turned from her, I found Miss White and Miss Pink having a “mouthing” match, the first step towards plan and wrestling.  That’s the first that I’ve seen them notice another pup as anything other than a warm blob to climb on when they are chilled or a competitor for the milk bar.

After I put them back in their bed and was picking up the soiled pad and newspapers, I heard a tiny gruff bark and then a growl, the first sounds I’ve heard other than contented cooing and irritated yelling during the exercises.

GloryToo is now having her own thirty-minute rotation during the day to hang out with me, cuddle or spend time outside.  The weather continues to be unpleasant so she doesn’t spend as much time outside during her rotations as usual, though I have seen her several times, when the sun happened to come out for a few minutes, lounging in her little yard.  She thoroughly enjoyed going to the laundromat and sitting in the car as I washed puppy bedding.  I’m glad someone is enjoying the laundromat trips; it sure isn’t me.        

I think I’m going to call this the “Underdog” litter.  Every time I checked on them today, I found pups missing and tell-tail lumps under the fleece pad.  Sure enough, each lump was a missing pup.  I would put them on top of the pad and smooth it out, only to find more lumps the next time.  I kept turning down the heater, thinking perhaps they were too warm (those fat bodies do generate a lot of heat), but they still did it, so when I went to bed, I turned the heat WAY down.

Tonight, after I gave them clean (and looser) collars, I took photos.  Then, while they nursed after their photo session, I put up the backdrop.  In that short time they were already full, and asleep.  I pulled out the fleece pad and, before I changed papers and put in a clean fleece, I took down the pig rail.  They are now large and strong enough that I don’t have to worry about GloryToo lying on them and not realizing it.

Once I had the clean bedding in place, I did the neurological exercises and weighed them.  As I knelt, doing the exercises, Miss Purple found me and snuggled alongside my leg with her chi on the back of my calf and stayed there until it was her turn.  Tonight all of them were relaxed on the supine exercises and watched my face.  In fact, they were relaxed on ALL the exercises and not one complained about any exercise! 

I’m now weighing them in pounds instead of ounces.  Mr. Blue is largest at 4.0#, followed by Miss Pink and Miss White at 3.6#.  Miss Purple was 3.5#, Miss Yellow was 3.4# and Miss Green was 3.2#, a pretty uniform litter.

I had to laugh (and photograph) the pups when I finished everything.  When I finish a pup, I place it with GloryToo in the puppy bed. Usually they will nurse, but not tonight.  Tonight every one of them crawled to the opening and sprawled there.  If they hadn’t fallen asleep, I would have they were watching as I did the rest of the pups.  As it was, I had to lift them next to GloryToo and quickly shut the side of the box so that I could go to bed.

Neurological Stimulation Day 11, Pups 13 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  ALL    

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  ALL 

Head pointed down
     Relaxed: All but Yellow     
     Squirmed:  Yellow

Supine position
    Relaxed: ALL     

Thermal stimulation
     Relaxed: All but Pink     
     Squirmed:  Pink

12 Days (5/12)  This morning, when I changed their fleece pad, Miss Green began wagging her tail when I touched her and continued wagging it enthusiastically the entire time I was petting her.  No one else gave even a slight tail twitch as I petted them.  Miss Pink crawled/almost walked to me as I knelt changing newspapers and lay her head on top of the back of my calf and cuddled.  She was not pleased when I had to remove her so I could put the clean fleece pad in the bed.  I again had to loosen collars on several, the little tubs.

GloryToo wanted no ball throws this morning but she did make a more serious effort to CARROT, rolling back and forth several times before getting up.  She is now insisting on longer periods out of the puppy room and a chance to cuddle on the bed with me and get her tummy rubbed.  And she begged and begged to go with me when I ran errands this afternoon and was thrilled when I put her in the car.  I turned up the heater in the puppy room and the pups were still contentedly sleeping when we returned.

Eyes are totally open now.  Tonight three of them – Miss Green, Miss White and Miss Yellow – gazed contentedly into my eyes during the supine exercise, totally relaxed and giving the impression of wondering who I am. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 10, Pups 12 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  ALL    

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Green, White, Yellow    
     Squirmed:  Blue, Pink, Purple

Head pointed down
     Relaxed: Green, White, Yellow     
     Struggled Vigorously:  Blue, Pink
     Squirmed:  Purple
     Verbalized:  Blue, Pink

Supine position
    Relaxed: Green, White, Yellow     
    Struggled Vigorously:  Blue, Pink, purple
    Verbalized:  Blue, Pink, Purple

Thermal stimulation
     Relaxed:  Green  
     Squirmed:  Blue, Pink, Purple, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Purple
     Moved off towel: White

11 Days (5/11)  The serviceman came again this afternoon to check on my again-defunct washer (barely 2 years old; I’m not impressed with the “new, improved” appliances).  He was here quite a while as he telephone-conferenced with some expert at Whirlpool.  They finally decided they have to replace a whole electronics board and could give me no idea when it would arrive, so after he left I wearily drug all the puppy bedding down again to the laundromat in the cold rain.

I got the “Prepare for Puppy” packets mailed while I was out.

GloryToo is now asking to stay away from her pups and hang out with me for much longer periods.  This afternoon she was content for a good thirty minutes.  When I went in the bedroom, she headed to her crate and looked longingly at it.  At night I generally sit on the bed and read, and the dogs have a chance to cuddle if they like.  Tonight, she got on the bed and gave a huge, contented sigh, stretching out alongside me on her back and asking me to rub her tummy, a favorite bonding activity.  I was able to see her surgery sight and staples, and all looks well.  I’ll call the vet tomorrow and schedule when the staples come out since Thursday it will be two weeks since surgery.  

When I did the neurological stimulation exercises tonight, I noticed their eyes are almost totally open.  Mr. Blue looked me in the eye during the supine exercises.  I always enjoy seeing who will give eye contact during the exercises. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 9, Pups 11 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow    
     Squirmed:  Pink, White 

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Blue, Green, Purple    
     Squirmed:  Pink, White, Yellow

Head pointed down
     Relaxed:  Green  
     Struggled Vigorously:  White
     Squirmed:  Blue, Pink Purple, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Blue, Purple

Supine position
     Struggled Vigorously:  Purple
     Squirmed:  All but Purple
     Verbalized:  Blue, Purple, White

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green, Pink, White
     Moved off towel:  Purple, Yellow

10 Days (5/10)  Mr. Blue (52.5) gained 5 ounces; Miss Green (43.5) gained 4.5; Miss Yellow (45.0) gained 3.6; Miss Pink (44.5) gained 3; Miss White (47.0) gained 1 ounce.  All have now doubled their weight, so I will not longer weigh them daily.

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.

They are getting quite strong now and are trying to get up on their legs and walk.  they are so heavy and their legs so short that they don’t move a great distance, but that will come once their eyes are totally open, probably tomorrow.  It’s amazing what being able to see does for balance and movement.

People keep asking if I’ve found any correlation between what they do on the neurological exercises and how they test at 7 weeks and then grow up.  Again, I think their response is mostly determined by whether they were awake, asleep or startled when I picked them up as they slept.  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.  The neurological stimulation literature shows no notes on what the pups did while they the exercises were performed. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 8, Pups 10 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  Pink, White, Yellow    
     Struggled Vigorously:  Blue
     Squirmed:  Green, Purple
     Verbalized:  Purple

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  ALL   

Head pointed down
     Relaxed:  White  
     Squirmed:  All but White
     Verbalized:  Blue, Purple

Supine position
    Relaxed:  Blue, Green    
     Struggled Vigorously:  Purple  
     Squirmed:  Pink, White, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Pink, White, Yellow

Thermal stimulation
     Relaxed:  Blue    
     Squirmed:  Green, Pink, White, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Pink, Yellow
     Moved off towel: Purple

9 Days (5/9)  Since they all survived the critical first week, I sent the litter registration to AKC.  I also tentatively scheduled the police/narcotics test for June 23rd and the Search & Rescue test for June 24th.  The location is reserved; all I’m waiting for now if final confirmation from the testers.  I’m concerned, though, with the Corvid 19 outbreak, that we won’t be able to do the usual nursing home visits and puppy playtime at the children’s library.  We still have 3 weeks, so maybe we’ll be able to do some of these great socializing experiences for the pups.

I got four loads of laundry done before the washer started flashing the same codes as last Saturday.  The new part is either defective or that wasn’t the problem, and again I have to wait all weekend before calling the repairman.  At least I have enough clean fleece pads to eke out the weekend.

This afternoon I again trimmed toenails.  All but Miss Yellow were terribly squirmy; in fact, she cooed the whole time I was holding her. This is the last time I’ll be able to trim nails without someone holding them for me.  These pups are chunks, with thick necks and rolls of fat.  They now have enough body mass to kee them warm that I turned down their heater.  GloryToo appreciated that.

Eyes are starting to open.  Last night they were still firmly closed; this morning I could see tiny cracks; tonight they are maybe 1/3 open.  I took photos tonight but they weren’t very cooperative – they nursed as I set up the backdrop and rug and were ready to sleep.  None wanted to move much at all and if they did anything other than drop off to sleep, they sniffed the fleece pad like crazy.  I got a few photos with eyes open, and caught a couple of yawns, but not much action in tonight’s photos. 

Mr. Blue and Miss Pink fell asleep during the supine exercise.  That’s twice for Mr. Blue.  They also were the two I caught yawning in the photo session.

Top gainer tonight was Mr. Blue (47.5), who gained 5 ounces.  Next came Miss Pink (41.5) and Miss White (44.5), who gained 4.5 ounces.  The other three all gained 2.5 ounces:  Miss Green is 39.0 ounces; Miss Yellow is 41.5 ounces and Miss Purple is 42.5 ounces.  Miss Purple and Miss White still haven’t quite doubled their birth weight; maybe tomorrow they’ll pass that landmark.

Neurological Stimulation Day 7, Pups 9 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  Blue, Pink, Yellow    
     Squirmed:  Green, Purple, White

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Blue, Pink    
     Struggled Vigorously:  White
     Squirmed:  Pink, Purple, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Purple, White

Head pointed down
     Relaxed:  Blue    
     Struggled Vigorously:  Purple, White
     Squirmed:  Green, Pink, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Purple, White, Yellow

Supine position
    Slept or Went to Sleep:  Blue, Pink
     Struggled Vigorously:  Purple, White, Yellow
     Squirmed:  Green
     Verbalized:  Green, Purple, White, Yellow

Thermal stimulation
     Relaxed:  Blue    
     Squirmed:  All but Blue
     Verbalized:  Purple, White, Yellow                   

8 Days (5/8)  All have survived the critical first week.  Hurrah!!  When I checked on them first thing this morning, I caught Miss Purple rolling over – a new skill.       

GloryToo has more and more free time now, since the pups are such efficient nursers that they fill very quickly and the fall asleep, at which time she leaves the very warm whelping bed and lies on the bed beside it or hangs out with me.  I have a raised bed in GloryToo’s little yard, which is nearly totally protected by a roof, but unfortunately the days continue to be cold, windy and wet so she hasn’t been able to enjoy that bed.

Thankfully, the repairman brought the new part of the washer about 3:30 today.  Thank goodness, no trip to the laundromat tonight!  I quickly put a soiled fleece pad in to wash and headed to the print shop to pick up the copies of the “Prepare for Puppy” folder.  I’ll get that assembled tomorrow and in the mail on Monday.

We had a peaceful day, no nightmares or anything to disturb their steady growth.  And growing they are!  Last night I missed that Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss Yellow have now doubled their weight.  Tonight Miss Green had doubled hers.  The others are close to that mark. Miss White (40.0) gained 5.5 ounces; Miss Purple (40.0) gained 4.5 ounces; Mr. Blue (42.5) and Miss Green (36.5) gained 3.5 ounces; Miss Pink (37.0) gained 2 ounces and Miss Yellow (39.0) gained 1.5 ounces. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 6, Pups 8 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  Blue, Pink, Purple    
     Squirmed:  Green, White, Yellow

Head held erect
     Relaxed:   Blue, Pink, Purple   
     Struggled Vigorously:  Yellow
     Squirmed:  White
     Struggled then settled:  Green
     Verbalized:  Yellow

Head pointed down
     Struggled Vigorously:  Purple
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green, Pink, White
     Struggled then settled:  Yellow
     Verbalized:  Blue, Pink, Purple, White

Supine position
     Struggled Vigorously:  All but Green
     Squirmed:  Green
     Verbalized:  ALL

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  ALL
     Verbalized:  Green, Pink, White, Yellow

7 Days (5/7)  We had miserably high winds all night last night and all day today.  Besides that, it was cold and spitting rain, so GloryToo showed no interest in CARROTing during her morning ball session and wasn’t eager to stay outside the entire fifteen minutes.  That was fine with me.  I was quite glad to finish all the ball sessions and get into the house for good.

The pups get visibly stronger and more active day by day, and GloryToo is now spending more time away from them.  She will be on her bed or at the gate when I open the gate to check on them or let her out.  On her rotations out of the room, instead of a quick potty trip and gulped meal, she has begun contentedly hanging out with me for a bit before going back to resume her motherly duties.  Once this afternoon, as GloryToo was spending time with me, the pups began yelling like crazy.  We raced down the hallway and into the whelping room.  I could find nothing wrong, but Mr. Blue and Miss Purple were complaining loudly.  I picked everyone up and calmed them, then put them back in the bed.  All were fine, and all went back to sleep.  I have no idea what prompted the carryings on.  Perhaps someone was having a nightmare and another pup crawled on top of it to get warmer, startling it and triggering a chain reaction?  Who knows?  

Still no repairman, so I was forced late this afternoon to make another trip to the laundromat.

As usual, I weighed the pups after I did the neurological stimulation exercises.  Miss Yellow (37.5) gained 5 ounces; Miss Green (33.0) gained 3.5 ounces; Miss Pink (35.0) gained 2.5 ounces; Mr. Blue (39.0) and Miss Purple (35.5) gained 2 ounces, while Miss White (34.5) stayed the same weight.  Mr. Blue, Miss Pink and Miss Yellow have now doubled their weight.  

I had to laugh as I got the exact same responses to the first two and the fourth neurological exercises. That hardly ever happens.

Neurological Stimulation Day 5, Pups 7 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed: Purple, White, Yellow     
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green, Pink  

Head held erect
     Relaxed: Purple, White, Yellow     
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green, Pink

Head pointed down
     Struggled Mildly:  Purple   
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink White
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Green, Purple, White

Supine position
     Struggled Vigorously:  ALL
     Verbalized:  ALL

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  ALL
     Verbalized:  Blue, Pink, White, Yellow

6 Days (5/6)  Again this morning GloryToo only wanted one ball throw.  This morning is chilly and cloudy, threatening rain, so she didn’t settle under her tree but lay out in the open, and for the first time since she began to be heavy in whelp, did a little CARROTing.  I only saw one CARROT; with all her udder development and those staples from c-section/spaying, it must still be too uncomfortable, but it was nice to see her try. 

CARROT, you say?  That’s one of the things I have always enjoyed about GloryToo, and it always makes me laugh.  CARROT stands for “Collapse and Roll on Toy.”  And that is what she likes to do more than anything.  She normally does it every morning during her ball session.  After she chases the ball a time or two, she stops, sometimes very fast and other times very s-l-o-w-l-y.  She ends up on the ground, on her back, waving her feet in the air and rolling back and forth over the ball or holding it in her mouth as she rolls back and forth, and then rolls all the way over until she gets back up to play some more. 

See GloryToo CARROTing

It is such a signature move that we incorporated it into all 15 of the books I wrote about her for the Reading Dog program.  The elementary school kids sometimes choose just to cuddle with my dogs rather than read, because they don’t like the selection of available books, so I asked them if they would read books that I wrote about my therapy dogs.  They enthusiastically said yes, so I started writing books for each of my dogs who go there (Berakah, GloryToo and Lovely – who is GloryToo’s daughter, half-sister to this litter).  The local print shop said they would put them together.  We’re making each book (or chapter) around 1,000 words long with about 35 photos, so they can read a whole book during their ten-minute session with the reading dog.   I took the diary entries from GloryToo’s litter and simplified them for the young kids (grades K – 5) – and of course I have lots of photos of every litter from birth until they left at 7 weeks.  I made 8 chapters from the diary.  Then I had to make up text to go with all the later photos I have of GloryToo, up through photos of the kids reading the draft of Chapter 1 to the dogs on February 24th, and some snow play photos I took March 12th.  Each little book includes a series of her CARROTing and the kids are asked to find them. 

See the Reading Dog kids reading the first draft of Chapter One to Berakah and Lovely
(GloryToo was in heat that week and schools shut down afterwards due to the pandemic so I wasn’t able to get any photos of the kids reading to her)

Yes, the books will be available for sale.  The pandemic nearly shut down the print shop and the woman who is putting the books together is only allowed to work 16 hours a week.  She has to do the time-sensitive jobs that come in before, in whatever spare time she has, working on my project so the process is VERY slow.    We’re hoping the finished copy of Chapter One will be done this week.  Then she will work on the others, which should go faster since we have finalized the format we want to use.  So that people can order copies (I have lots of grandmas chomping at the bit to have one), I’ll put a notice on my website and send out an email when the first one is done and we’ve figured out a cost. 

The CoOp delivered the hog panels this morning.  We’re supposed to have high winds tonight and snow tomorrow – perfect conditions to test if the rebars will hold the panels well. First, I have to go do therapy dog visits at the two nursing homes.  Due to the pandemic we don’t go inside like usual, but walk around the outside of the building and visit with residents through their windows.  That way we stay connected and they don’t feel entirely abandoned.  When I got home, even though the wind had already become strong, I got two panels put up.        

When I changed the fleece pad and newspapers tonight, the pad was soiled, and the newspapers underneath had several damp spots. That shows that the pups are now able to potty on their own.  They no longer must depend on GloryToo to lick them to stimulate urination and defecation.  Now I’ll begin changing papers and fleece twice a day.  I sure hope the repairman comes tomorrow with the new part for the washer, or else I’ll have to make another trip to the laundromat.  Ugh!

When I weighed the pups after I did each one’s neurological stimulation exercises, Miss White (34.5) had gained 5.5 ounces, definitely making up for only gaining one ounce the day before.  Miss Purple (33.5) gained 4 ounces; Mr. Blue (37.0), and Miss Pink (32.5) gained 3 ounces; Miss Green (29.5) gained 2.5 ounces; and Miss Yellow (32.5) gained 2 ounces. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 4, Pups 6 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  All but Yellow    
     Squirmed:  Yellow

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  All but White    
     Struggled then settled:  White

Head pointed down
     Relaxed: Blue, Green, Purple, White     
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink
     Squirmed: Yellow 
     Verbalized:  Pink, White, Yellow

Supine position
     Slept or Went to Sleep:  Blue, Green
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink
     Squirmed:  Purple, White, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Pink, Yellow

Thermal stimulation
     Relaxed:  Green  
     Squirmed:  All but Green
     Verbalized:  Yellow

5 Days (5/5)  Puppies are doing well and GloryToo is now spending a few minutes visiting with me and soaking up some loving before returning to her family each time I let her out.  She showed no interest in the ball but was content to hang out with me during her morning session.  She’s being so good about pacing herself as she recuperates from her surgery.

I’ve been busy.  I got the “Prepare for Puppy” packet finished and delivered to the shop to be copied.  In it I have all kinds of suggestions for the owners-to-be on how to get ready for baby.  I contacted the testers and am trying to get the temperament test dates scheduled.  I ordered the hog panels for the Puppy Obstacle Run; they should be delivered in a day or two.  I conferred with both Farmers CoOp and Knecht Home Center about the best way to support the panels in that rocky ground where the run will go, and we decided to try using rebar rather than regular metal fence posts.  I had them cut one of the 20’ rebars into 6 sections (40” each) and will see how they go into the ground using my metal post driver.  Hopefully, since they’re only ½” in diameter, they’ll be easier to get into the ground that the big fence posts.  My property was part of an auto racing track in the 40’s and 50’s so the back half of my two acres has rocks like you won’t believe. 

Just in case someone reading this hasn’t been getting my emails, I’d better explain.  A lot of my pups go for Search & Rescue, and I try to prepare them well to start training as soon as they leave.  My Search & Rescue friend, Janet, is going to come help me create an obstacle run for my litters, where the pups will be challenged to them learn how to approach obstacles, how to use their bodies, where their feet are (many adult dogs don’t know where to safely place their feet in rough terrain), and so on.   (see https://www.facebook.com/FormaUtilityDogs/videos/471621010157410/UzpfSTEzMDkzNDI5MDQ6MTAyMTcwOTA5MDkxNjc0MTg/).  I’m having friends collect a bunch of things such as gallon milk jugs (with lids), two-liter pop bottles (with lids) and anything else that might be good to create different sections of the obstacle run that pups must wade through, go under, over or whatever creative things we can imagine.  I’m excited that I located a small dog walk and A-frame that were used for Powderpuff Agility trials for toy dogs.  Their small size will be perfect for my puppies and I’ll be able to set them up just inches off the ground so they’re safe for the pups.  A friend has an old agility tunnel I can use, I have an old kennel gate I can lay flat on the ground, and an old stepladder that I think will work, too.  The run will have one leg that is about 100’ long and used the agility field fence for one side, then corners and runs another 60’ or so along the eastern boundary fence.  The first leg is relatively level and that’s where I’ll put the dog walk and a-frame (also set very low) among other things; the second leg heads downhill so we’ll put things there that will make the puppies collect, possible the two-liter bottles to wade through, some horse feed tubs with water that they have to step through, who knows.  Janet is wanting to bring some of her SAR buddies to help so I’m sure it will be quite the obstacle run when we’re done.  This is, of course, in addition to the obstacle course in the “big puppy” pen, into which they move at 5 weeks of age – see the photos of GloryToo two days before she whelped; the obstacle course is behind her in some of the photos.  That obstacle course has a swinging bridge, a slide, and several ramps to climb up and down, plus a tunnel that runs underneath.

Tonight I again changed the bed papers and fleece and then did the neurological stimulation exercises, weighing each pup before I put it back in the whelping bed.  Miss Yellow (29.0) gained 5 ounces and Miss Pink (29.5) gained 4 ounces! Mr. Blue (34.0) gained 3.5 ounces; Miss Green (27.0) gained 2.5 ounces; Miss Purple (29.5) gained 2 ounces, while Miss White (29.0) gained 1 ounce.  

I’ve about decided that Miss Green is a black.  When she was born, I was sure I saw some brown surrounding her anus, but as I do the neurological exercises each evening, I’m not seeing any brown and am thinking it was light reflecting in a confusing way when I first examined her the evening she was born.

After that, while they relaxed and nursed after all the yelling they did during the exercises (such good lung exercise!), I changed their collars and set up the backdrop so I could take photos.  I had to laugh at them – some collapsed on the fleece pad and went to sleep and I couldn’t get them to move for photos at all (Mr. Blue & Miss Green come to mind); others started marching all over the place, exploring, their noses going like crazy.  They can’t quite get up on their feet and walk so they kind of slither, but they were definitely moving!  After I did individual photos, I put all of them in the phot area and invited GloryToo to join them. 

Mr. Blue pretty much snoozed through that part of the photo session, too.  He fell asleep during the supine exercise, too, giving a big yawn and lying all sprawled out in my hands.  He must have had a really hard day, nursing and growing.  Miss White yelled and thrashed during the first two exercises and then totally relaxed on the Head Pointed Down exercise.  Then she woke up and thrashed and complained on the supine exercise.  She must have had to catch her breath during the Head Pointed Down exercise!          

Neurological Stimulation Day 3, Pups 5 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  Blue, Green, Pink    
     Struggled Vigorously:  White, Yellow
     Struggled Mildly:  Purple
     Verbalized:  White

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow    
     Struggled Vigorously:  White
     Squirmed:  Purple
     Verbalized:  White

Head pointed down
     Relaxed:  Blue, Green, White    
     Squirmed:  Pink, Purple, Yellow
     Verbalized:  Yellow

Supine position
    Relaxed:  Blue (went to sleep)    
    Struggled Vigorously:  Purple, White
    Struggled Mildly:  Pink
    Squirmed:  Green, Yellow
    Verbalized:  All but Blue

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  ALL
     Verbalized:  Green, Pink, Purple, Yellow

4 Days (5/4)   The pups continue to thrive; they gained between 2 and 3.5 ounces today.  All that meat GloryToo is inhaling is definitely going into milk.  Mr. Blue (30.5) and Miss Green (24.5) gained 3.5 ounces; Miss Purple (27.0) and Miss White (28.0) gained 3 ounces; and Miss Pink (25.5) and Miss Yellow (25.5) gained 2 ounces.  Way to go, kids!

A couple of times when I went in to check on the pups, I found GloryToo lying outside the bed, close where she could watch them but be cooler.  I put her bed back in the room so she doesn’t have to lie on the hard floor.  She also spent more time hanging out with me after each meal, though not long.  She is a dedicated mom.

It seems like every time I have a litter, the washing machine throws a fit.  Saturday (it ALWAYS does this on a weekend) it started yelling and blinking codes and nothing I could do would get it to calm down and work.  I called the repairman this morning.  Thankfully I have four big fleece pads so I have a clean one to put in the whelping bed tonight, but if the repairman doesn’t make it tomorrow morning, I’ll have to head to the laundromat so as to have a clean pad for that night.  That may be an adventure with the pandemic.  I hate wearing masks; I have trouble breathing, so the thought of sitting there while the pads wash is not pleasant.  At least I my drier is working so I’ll go in time to dry at least one pad before the bedtime change.

While doing the neurological stimulation, I noted the pups need their toenails trimmed, so I got that done before I left them for the night. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 2, Pups 4 days old

Tactical stimulation
     Relaxed:  Pink, Purple, Yellow    
     Struggled Vigorously:  Green
     Squirmed:  Blue, White

Head held erect 
     Relaxed: Green, Pink, Purple     
     Struggled then settled:  White
     Squirmed:  Blue, Yellow

Head pointed down 
     Relaxed: Green     
     Struggled Vigorously:  Blue, Yellow
     Squirmed: Pink, Purple, White 
     Verbalized:  Blue, Yellow

Supine position 
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink, Purple, White, Yellow
     Squirmed:  Blue, Green
     Verbalized:  Pink, Purple, White, Yellow

Thermal stimulation
     Squirmed:  ALL
     Verbalized:  Purple, White, Yellow

See the neurological stimulation exercises

3 Days (5/3)  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.

The pups look great this morning, curled up close to each other, tummies fat.  GloryToo told me they were doing fine, too.  When I do ball sessions, I give the crated dogs a piece of Royal Canin as I walk past their crates with the dog going out for its ball time.  That keeps them quiet and content to wait for their turn.  When I have a mother dog in the whelping rom, I toss a piece over the gate.  Most of the time they’re in the bed with their babies, but I can tell if they’re sitting at the gate by the crunching noises.  GloryToo is the fourth dog I exercise; she was by the gate two times when we went past, a sign the puppies were full and sleeping.  They’d better be full – she is eating me out of house and home.  One pound of raw meat diet per meal (four meals a day) is not enough; she will refuse to leave the bowl until I add another half-pound.  She still won’t eat any of her large-breed puppy kibble, but I put a handful of Royal Canin in the bowl every time I put her back in her room and she eats that.  Silly girl.

She lasted 12 minutes of her (fifteen-minute) playtime before heading back to her puppies.  She only wanted the ball thrown once, but she spent some time wandering around checking the yard for “news” and then settled under her shade tree and played with her ball.

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 have not yet noticed any correlation in what a pup does on the exercises and how it grows up, but I continue to make notes because I find it interesting to see if a pup does anything consistently, such as talk a lot.  I think their reaction is based more on whether they were awakened when I picked them up or not.  Sometimes it takes them an exercise or two to wake up and then they protest.  Other times, they just yawn and say, “So what?”

After I did each pup’s exercises, I weighed them before putting them into the whelping bed.  They gained between 2.5 and 4 ounces today!  Miss Green (now 21.0) gained 2.5 ounces; Miss Purple (24.0) and Miss White (25.0) gained 3 ounces; Miss Pink (23.5) and Miss Yellow (23.5) gained 3.5 ounces; and Mr. Blue (27.0) gained 4 ounces. 

Neurological Stimulation Day 1, Pups 3 days old

Tactical stimulation   
     Relaxed:   Green, Pink, Purple, Yellow   
     Struggled Vigorously:  Blue
     Squirmed:  White

Head held erect
     Relaxed:  Yellow    
     Struggled Vigorously:  Green
     Struggled Mildly:  Blue, Pink
     Struggled, then settled:  White
     Squirmed:  Purple
     Verbalized:  Green

Head pointed down 
     Struggled Vigorously:  Pink, Purple
     Squirmed:  Blue, White, Yellow
     Struggled, then settled:  Green
     Verbalized: Blue 

Supine position
     Struggled Vigorously:  Blue, Pink, Purple
     Squirmed:  Green, White, Yellow
     Verbalized:  All but Yellow

Thermal stimulation
     Struggled Mildly:  White
     Squirmed:  All but White
     Verbalized:  Blue, Green, White

2 Days (5/2)  All was peaceful first thing this morning when I checked the family.  The pups were all together and the bed was comfortably warm.  It’s a balancing act this first week:  keep the pups warm enough to thrive yet I can’t turn the heater up a lot or GloryToo will start rolling up the fleece pad to get to the cooler floor of the whelping bed.  I let GloryToo 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.

I then went out to start ball sessions.  I was just ready to do GloryToo’s when Joey arrived.  By the time she did the massages on my two older ones (she comes monthly to give Berakah and Lively massages to alleviate any pain or stiffness), and then helped me take photos of the pups, GloryToo wasn’t interested in going out for ball so I left her back with her babies, who of course had been a little stressed by the photography session even though we spent as little time as possible with each pup.  Since GloryToo was spayed during the c-section, she isn’t supposed to be running a lot, so there’s another balancing act I’m doing – giving her enough exercise to keep her healthy and muscles stretched out from all the time lying motionless nursing pups, and not too much exercise to bother the surgery healing.

She seems to be feeling fine and has begun eating her meals and then sadly looking for the bowl to me and back until I notice and give her more meat.  I have some kibble in a bowl in the whelping room but for several days the moms only want raw meat.  When they realize they’ve reached the maximum raw meat I’ll give them each day, they will begin eating the dry in-between meals.

I checked the pups – especially the four who lost weight yesterday – frequently during the day and all were nursing, all cooing happily (love that sound!) and none off to the side as if stressed.  I didn’t think extra nursing sessions were needed unless anyone had not gained weight tonight when I checked them.  And all had gained between 2 and three ounces.  Mr. Blue gained 3 ounces (now 23.0), Miss Pink gained 2 ounces (now 20.0), Miss Green gained 2.5 ounces (18.5), Miss Yellow gained 2.5 ounces (20.0), Miss Purple gained 2.5 ounces (21.0) and Miss White gained 3 ounces (22.0).  Hurrah!  I went to bed with a happy heart.

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:

The 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

1 Day (5/1)  GloryToo wouldn’t stay all of her fifteen-minute ball session.  And she had no interest I chasing the ball, probably due to the catheter still being in place on her leg.  I didn’t want to remove it before I tried getting her to move around some, in case she would open the healing place where the catheter was inserted into her vein.  Our daily ball ritual is the only thing 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 a lot in their whelping yard, 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.  GloryToo didn’t get much exercise but she did wander around and stretch out her muscles.  I noticed yesterday afternoon and evening that her right hind leg would frequently give on her, collapse a little when she put weight on it, probably because of her straining so hard trying to move the puppies along in the birth canal.  It was better this morning but still seemed a little sore, so walking around was good for her. 

Thankfully, GloryToo is doing great and has no problems which might necessitate a trip back to the vet, so when we came inside, I took out the catheter, put pressure on the vein until it no longer tried to ooze any blood, then let her back in with her babies.  As the day went on, I noticed the leg bothering her less and less, until last evening it seemed just fine.      

GloryToo 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 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.  The two had been whelped naturally had each gained 2.5 ounces, making Mr. Blue 20.0 ounces and Miss Pink 18.0 ounces.  The four c-section pups had all lost weight:  Miss Green lost 2 ounces (now 16.9), Miss Yellow had lost 1 ounce (now 17.5), Miss Purple had lost 3 ounces (now 18.5) and Miss White had lost 4 (now 19.0). 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.  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’m not happy about Miss Purple’s and Miss White’s loss and will begin giving them individual nursing sessions tomorrow.  At least they aren’t smaller than the others so that I’d worry about them being pushed away from GloryToo by the bigger pups; only 4 ounces separates the largest from smallest.  I watched the pups nurse for a while and all seems normal.

Several years ago, when I began doing the early neurological stimulation exercises 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                                

As soon as all were quiet and against her side – either nursing or content to cuddle against her, I left them for the night.

********

Prep

4/2  An ultrasound this afternoon confirmed that GloryToo is pregnant.  Since I could not be in the clinic with GloryToo, Dr. Cindy just quickly scanned until she confirmed the presence of pups.  She saw at least three.  Usually the mother-to-be will have twice what we see on the ultrasound.  Who knows if she will have more since Cindy kept it short so as not to stress her?  We’ll have to wait for the x-ray during the last week of pregnancy to know how many she actually has.  We have to wait that long because the pups’ skeletons don’t calcify until the very end of pregnancy.  X-rays can penetrate the entire width of the dog’s body and give an accurate count, while ultrasounds are more limited in penetration and in big-bodied dogs pups can hide out of sight.

4/16  GloryToo is really showing pregnancy now and is ravenous.  Since she has been asking for more food, I added an extra meal, at bedtime, rather than increase the amount of kibble at lunch and supper.  All my dogs get .5# raw meat (balanced) diet for breakfast as son as they get up, plus kibble meals at midday (after we finish all their ball sessions) and evening.  As the puppies grow, especially in a large litter, they press down on the mother dog’s organs and she feels full all the time, but at the same time she must keep her strength up by eating, so multiple small meals become necessary.  She continues to gulp down the raw meat breakfast.

4/20  Her pups have dropped, so now she sways when she walks.  She looks huge and very ponderous, like we have more than the expected six pups.  She is beginning to take a lot longer to eat her kibble at those three meals.  I have added two more small meals:  .5# of the raw meat diet in the mid afternoon and at bedtime.

4/22  GloryToo is getting so big that she is miserable.  She has pretty much quit eating any kibble. When I gave her the raw meat diet at bedtime, she gulped it down and kept looking mournfully from the bowl to me, bowl to me, bowl to me.  I got the message and quickly thawed out another pound of meat, which she inhaled.  I will continue to offer her kibble at regular lunch and supper times and (because she’ll probably refuse the kibble) begin thawing out more raw diet for midafternoon and bedtime meals. I always offer the kibble just in case they’ll eat even a little; it takes longer to digest than raw food and helps them feel comfortable during the day.

I cleaned the whelping room and set up the whelping bed.  I began cutting newspaper strips, 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.  When I had a bunch, I put them in the whelping bed.  I will continue to cut strips until I have enough.  It’s a time-consuming process since, to have them separate easily so they fill the bed and absorb liquids from whelping, I have to separate every newspaper section and cut each page separately.  It is a slow process and pretty much my shoulder starts aching from working the paper cutter, so I will do several short sessions on each of the next two or three days.

I scheduled her x-ray for Monday.  That will tell us how many pups she has, invaluable to know when whelping. Sometimes they get tired and say they’re done, but still have pups lurking way back in the uterus.  Those pups will die if they get stalled in the birth canal because as soon as they start moving towards birth their oxygen supply form the placenta ends.  They need to get their little noses out into the air and begin using their lungs.  If I know we still have some to get on the ground, I can intervene with calcium to keep the uterus working, hormone shots to stimulate contractions, or phone calls to the vet if GloryToo is just too tired to get the pups out quickly.              

4/23     GloryToo is SO huge and miserable that I began taking her temperature this morning rather than wait until Saturday (a week before her due date), as I usually do.  I will take it 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. 

Morning temperature was perfectly normal, 101.2.

She didn’t eat all of her 1# of raw meat breakfast, so I put it with her in the whelping room while I rotated out all the other dogs for their morning breakfast.  She still hadn’t finished it when I put her back in her crate when I began ball sessions, so I put it in the fridge for later.

The puppies must have shifted and given her a little relief from the pressure on her stomach:  she ate all her kibble lunch, the leftover meat and another .5# at about 5, all her kibble supper and a pound of the meat diet at bedtime!  After her 5 p.m. meal, I again let her hang out in the whelping room for an hour or so, both to let her stretch out comfortably for a while and to get her thinking about whelping there.  I saw a couple of the big doghouses had straw pulled out onto the ground yesterday afternoon so she is beginning to think of where she wants to have her family.  I, of course, vote for the whelping room and will be watching her closely anytime she is outside, especially as her temperature begins dropping.

Her temperature at bedtime was 101.0. 

4/24  Morning temperature was 100.7; temperature at bedtime was 101.3. 

GloryToo continues to eat well, thank goodness.  When they quit eating this early, I worry about them being strong enough for all the labor of whelping.  She has settled into a routine of eating well at some meals, not so well at others, but still eating enough of both kibble and raw meat.  That’s fine with me, just as long as she eats.

She has started coming to me for sympathy, wanting to be petted.  When I’m sitting on the bed, reading or working on my laptop, she stretches out and has me rub her massive tummy.  She acts like it helps.

4/25  Morning temperature was 100.9; temperature at bedtime was 101.4. 

GloryToo was really miserable today.  She fills her crate up and, though she doesn’t shift around or act unhappy, I felt she was so I put her in the whelping room several times during the day for a couple of hours at a time.  She doesn’t like being in there if anything is going on, but if it’s quiet she will really stretch out and rest.

Her eating was spotty.  She refused some of her raw meat breakfast, but ate most of her kibble at those meals. She finished breakfast at her afternoon meat meal and then ate all her close-to-bedtime meal.

About the time I went to bed, she became quite restless.  The bedroom seemed warm but I had thought it was just because I had worked hard, into the early evening, to finish most of the yardwork so that when I go on serious puppy watch in the morning, I won’t be disturbing her by doing outside things with the other dogs.  My system was still warmed up so at first I ignored her, but she was so restless I finally put her in the whelping room for the night.  Her temperature was high enough that I knew she wasn’t going into pre-labor so I didn’t camp out with her.  She immediately quieted and had a restful night. 

4/26  Morning temperature was 99.8; temperature at bedtime was 101.6. 

She totally refused her breakfast.  No, GloryToo, it is TOO EARLY to go into labor…

We had a quiet day.  I cut some more newspaper strips and worked on the book for the Reading Dog kids, nice sedentary occupations during which I have music playing, so she knew exactly where I was and rested most of the day.

She nibbled at both kibble and raw meat at all her meals.  I began offering her a slice of raw beef liver at her bedtime supper – she did eat that!  Supposedly the raw liver helps bring in their milk so it’s ready when the first pup is born. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that it does encourage them to keep eating during the last days of pregnancy.  GloryToo cleaned it up and any of the raw meat diet that it dripped on, but she left the rest of the raw meat diet.

She had been panting in her crate tonight so, since her temperature was up, I let her sleep in the whelping room (by herself) again tonight.

4/27  Morning temperature was 101.0; temperature at bedtime was 101.6. 

This morning at breakfast, she carefully picked out her liver from the raw meat diet and then begged for more until I gave her a second slice.

At her morning ball session, she only chased the ball twice. The rest of the fifteen-minute session she spent lying in the shade.  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. 

When we came inside, I as usual gave her a treat for giving me the ball.  All my dogs have high booty drive, which is the desire to possess the toy and accompanying reluctance to give it up. To prevent conflict, I always trade a treat for the ball when we are done.  I use pieces of Royal Canin dog food rather than treats, which are usually high in junk and fat. I used to use it for tracking because the pieces are the perfect size to put on the track to reward the dog in its early tracking lessons.  They preferred it to hotdogs and it’s sure easier to carry with you and doesn’t attract ants if it sits on the ground for long.  I started using it for ordinary rewards around the house – giving up the ball or toy, going into their crate, whatever. 

Today GloryToo sat by the treat container on the counter until I finally got up and gave her some more.  She wouldn’t leave, so I gave her a handful.  At least she’s eating something.  Instead of one piece when I put her in her crate, I gave her another handful.  At this stage of the game I think they just want something different.

We did GloryToo’s pregnancy x-ray this afternoon.  Dr. Cindy saw at least 7 pups. There may be more, as she said GloryToo is VERY full. I’m not surprised, she has gained 21# with this pregnancy.  They usually gain about 2# per pup, so either she has more than 7 or (very possible) as an older bitch has more fluid surrounding each pup.  We’ll soon know.

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.  

Whenever I have to be gone (this week only for quick, necessary errands), I leave 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. 

While she’s outside the whelping area, 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.  GloryToo hasn’t started nesting yet but I’m still keeping her in sight, even though as an experienced mom she knows all is ready in the whelping room.

I have some great friends who save the livers and hearts for me whenever they buy a beef.  Today I thawed out a beef liver and gave her chunks of it with each raw meat diet meal.  At the midday one, I poured the blood form its thawing over the raw meat diet.  That got her to eat most of that portion.  At her bedtime offering she carefully picked out the liver chunks and left the rest.  I gave her another handful of the Royal Canin kibble as I put her in the whelping room for the night.  She went straight to the big bed and stretched out happily.  No wonder, with those extra 21 pounds, she is getting hot in her crate, even though it’s an extra-large one.  Since her temperature is still up, I slept in my own bed again.

4/28  Morning temperature was 98.7; temperature at bedtime was 101.6. 

She even left a little of her liver at breakfast this morning.  That, combined with the low temperature, has me keeping a close eye on her.  She still likes the Royal Canin treats, so whenever I check on her, I give her a few.

Camera battery is charged, settings adjusted for whelping room up and new batteries in the external flash attachment. Hemostats (for clamping umbilical cords if they bleed) and scissors (for cutting extra cord if GloryToo doesn’t chew the cord close to the pup’s abdomen) are sterilized and in the room.  The bitch’s jaws normally compress the cord as she chews through it and consumes the afterbirth, which stops bleeding.  Sometimes, though, it will either be chewed off too close to the abdomen so it isn’t compressed shut; then I need to step in with a hemostat, to press the cord together and stop the bleeding.  That can get exciting at times, with the mother wanting to clean the pup and flipping it around as I grimly hold the hemostat against its underside to prevent tearing.  A few seconds is usually enough.  I will take the hemostat off and check, re-clamping if necessary, or else let mom finish cleaning the pup in peace.  All the flipping around is designed to get the pup breathing well and knock out any fluid it might have swallowed during birth.  It usually does, because the pup gets mad and starts yelling.  I am always glad to hear them yell!  And very glad when I can step out of the picture.

Before I put the camera in the whelping room, I decided to take a few photos of GloryToo-the-blimp during her morning ball session.  We made it about halfway to the ball area before she thought she’d rest in the shade of the shrub roses, but she got up as I kept walking and had me throw the ball three times.  I managed to get a few photos of her swaying back and forth as she walked back with the ball.  Then she said that was enough and headed for her favorite shady spot.  After a few minutes there, she said it was time to head back to the house.  I even got a shot of her giving me a dirty look as if to say, “Well, aren’t you coming?”

See GloryToo 58 days in whelp

She continues to just nibble on raw liver and Royal Canin treats.  I keep offering her raw meat diet and kibble meals at the usual times, to be sure she doesn’t get hungry, but she looks at the food and looks away, as if it nauseates her.  After today the pups should be developed enough to be born anytime.  The last thing to mature is the lungs – the ability to breathe and remove oxygen from the air.  If they come too early, they can’t survive, but that danger time is over tonight.

Even though her temperature was back up tonight, I worry about the continuing disparity between morning and evening temperatures.  Is her temperature higher at night because she has been in her crate and is overly warm?  I was leery of leaving her alone in the whelping room in case her temperature plummeted enough that she went into labor.  I figured I wouldn’t get any sleep in the bedroom from having my ears perked for any unusual sounds where she was, so I put down my foam pad and sleeping bag and slept in the whelping room with her.  She was thrilled when I moved into the room, though my old bones always dread this part of the whelping.   

4/29  Morning temperature was 101.1; temperature at bedtime was 100.6.

We had a peaceful night.  Whenever I changed position (sleeping on the floor is hard on these old bones, and that foam pad doesn’t give much), she would get up and come press her face against me.  Otherwise she stretched way out on her dog bed on the floor and blissfully rested.

At about 5 a.m. I moved to my bed for an hour’s rest and put her in the crate.  When I got her out for her breakfast and temperature check, she slowly climbed up onto my bed and stretched out.  Usually as soon as I remove the thermometer she gets off the bed, ready to be able to walk around the yard and potty before coming in for breakfast.  This morning she just lay there, even when I went to the front door and opened it so she could go out.  She didn’t move until I insisted, and then quite slowly, letting me know she’d just as son nap there with me.  However, I had other dogs to rotate out of their crates, let potty and play and feed, before we began everyone’s ball sessions, so I had to harden my heart and make her move.         

It took her a while to go around the house and eventually come in through the doggie door in the back.  She ate just the liver, again refusing the raw meat diet.  She is continuing to eat the Royal Canin so I gave her a big handful when I put her in her crate.

I guess it’s a good thing I took photos of her yesterday, because today she just made it to the spot under the roses where she stopped yesterday morning.  I went on to where I have my chair (I sit while I throw the ball for everyone). Yesterday that got her up and ready for the ball to be thrown, but today she just stretched out and looked around.  When my time said we’d been out for 15 minutes, I got up and headed for the house and she leisurely swayed her way behind me. 

Instead of the usual 1 piece of Royal Canin that I usually give them when I take their ball, I gave her a handful.  She happily ate them.  One way to get some nourishment into her.  I gave her another nice handful when I put her in her crate.

At about 9 p.m. she began panting quite a bit.  Shortly after that it was her time to come out of her crate, so as usual I took her temperature.   It was 100.6.  She went out and pottied and them back in and got on the bed with me.  As she rolled on her back to have me rub her tummy, I noticed that her milk glands were much fuller than this morning.  The puppies have dropped still further and, with the turgid nipples, she was uncomfortable enough that she only sprawled out for her belly rub for a very sort period of time before turning onto her side. 

She refused her raw liver bedtime snack.      

I put her in the whelping room while I had the last dog (Cantor) out for his thirty-minute cuddle/potty time before bedtime.  Then I let Berakah and Hesed out for a quick potty stop while I assembled the cot that I got this afternoon.  Today was my day for therapy dog visits (during the pandemic I take a dog and walk around the outside of the nursing homes, waving and smiling at the residents who come to their windows), and since all was quiet on the maternity front, I went.  Since I was in town, I swung by a hunting supply store and got a cot.  After much effort, I got it assembled in the kitchen and once it was together it looked huge.  I wondered if I could get it into the whelping room, but with another superhuman effort I managed the turn from the narrow hallway into the room.  And it fit perfectly! Hopefully it is more comfortable than the foam pad.

I put Berakah and Hesed in their crates, let Mercy out for her night out, and headed into the whelping room. GloryToo greeted me with an “It’s about time!” look and immediately began nesting furiously in the shredded newspapers.

She had a restless night – alternately nesting madly, then stretching out on her dog bed, then up and out into her potty yard to bark a little, then back in to nest, then a little rest, and repeat, repeat, repeat.   She has to be in the pre-labor stage, but as of morning she hasn’t moved into labor.  The cot is an improvement on the foam pad but still nothing to write home about after a night of hardly any sleep.

Birth

4/30  I finally gave up on rest and got up at 5 a.m.  I took her temperature, though it wouldn’t be valid since she had been up and down, in and out, up and down  It was 100.5.

I began rotating the dogs out of their crates for breakfast/play, returning to the whelping room once the new one was fed.  They each get 30 minutes.  GloryToo was extremely restless and it didn’t seem to matter whether I was in with her or not.  She kept going outside, often stopping just outside the doggie door.  I have a landing and then a ramp down to ground level, all enclosed in case a pup falls or deliberately goes through the doggie door. GloryToo kept going outside and back in, so many times that I had to shut the doggie door in hopes of calming her down.

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.

Her first contraction came at 7:49 a.m.  I saw two, then she settled for a while, then a few contractions.  This is not usual so I watched closely, worrying that her hormones weren’t kicking in correctly.  Also, she kept wanting the leave the whelping box and seemed very distracted. None of this is, so I watched closely.  Finally, at 8:43, she had a black and tan male.  “Mr. Blue” weighed 17.5 ounces, a little larger than usual, but not unduly so.  I was convinced that her hormones were “off” when she began biting at him.  Of course he would yell, so she’d bump or bite at him more. Uh, oh, I thought, hormones are definitely out of kilter. I took the pup and held him while I calmed her with voice and hands.  Soon she settled and began the usual motherly cleaning and stimulating, but she would not let him nurse.

I usually wait to weigh a newborn and I definitely did now.  I didn’t want to fire her up again.  I wait to weigh and put on the collar until GloryToo 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 GloryToo licks them so vigorously she can definitely remove a collar.

She quickly began having more contractions.  This is not unusual; often they will have two puppies within minutes, having worked one up in each horn of the uterus as they had contractions.  Today, however, she kept contracting, then resting.  Again, the contractions weren’t as strong as usual.  Part of the problem was her not allowing Mr. Blue to nurse, which will stimulate contractions.  After an hour’s intermittent contractions, I gave her an oxytocin shot to try to stimulate good strong contractions and get that puppy out.  I was hoping a second pup’s birth would kick her into normal hormone responses to whelping and get her to both normal mothering and nursing. 

She kept asking to go out to potty so I took her out, closing gates so she had only a small area.  It’s always possible they could have a puppy in the process, but she didn’t. She peed and then pooped, but then began searching for a “hole” somewhere, anywhere.  That’s usually pre-labor behavior, a mom-to-be looking for a good place o whelp, not the behavior of one who has already whelped in a familiar whelping room – this, after all, is her third litter.  Hormones are definitely way off. 

Moving around often helps refresh a mom enough that she has strengthened contractions, but I didn’t see much improvement.  It took another 45 minutes for the second puppy, a black female, to be born, She came out with a huge amount of fluid and blood and was quite stressed, having inhaled fluid into her lungs during the long birth process.  I worked quickly to get her breathing strongly and expelling the liquid, but she was pretty passive, obviously highly stressed.  It took a good five minutes for her to show some enthusiasm for this world. 

I always put a blue collar on the first male born, and a pink collar on the first female.  For some reason last year it was impossible to get the Velcro baby puppy collars sets that contained pink collars.  They were backordered when I ordered them for the next litter (I never remember when preparing for a litter to order collars, so now I order new ones when a litter leaves), so all I had that was close was a lilac collar.  It would have to do, though I was disappointed.  She weighed 15.5 ounces, which is pretty normal

Something was not right with this whelping, so as soon as she was breathing well, I thought we needed to do a c-section or we’d lose the rest of the pups from being too long in the birth canal.  Once they detach from the uterus and begin to work their way towards birth, they no longer receive oxygen from the placenta.  They need to quickly make it outside and get their lungs going.  If they are delayed, their lungs will try to obtain oxygen and they’ll drown from fluid rather than air.  I called my vet. My vet agreed.  I quickly fixed a box with heating pad in which to leave the two pups to stay warm and safe while I raced GloryToo to the vet.

Bless my vets, Moxey Schreiber Vet Hospital!  It was Dr. Mark’s morning for surgery and he was just starting one that would take at least an hour – and we’d lose puppies if we waited that long.  Thankfully, it was a small dog and he was able to transfer to a small table so that Dr. Cindy could get the big surgery table prepped for GloryToo.  They were ready when I got there about 15 minutes after I called.  I handed the leash to Dr. Cindy and she headed to surgery while I headed back home to clean up the whelping bed and room and keep a close eye on the two pups, making sure they stayed warm and the little female was breathing okay.  

I’ve only had to have a couple of c-sections, and usually was there to help stimulate the pups as they were taken out.  The anesthesia used on the mother can impair the pups’ breathing so you really have to rush to get them out and started breathing before they drown in fluid.  This corvid 19 pandemic has really complicated my life with this pregnancy – I couldn’t be there for the ultrasound, the x-ray OR the c-section.  I’m really glad that all my dogs know Dr. Cindy well and will go with her with only a little initial reluctance.

We had decided, since GloryToo turns 7 in June, which is usually the end of their good breeding time, that we would spay her after this litter.  Since we had to do the c-section, I reminded Dr. Cindy that she was going to be spayed.  She was able to remove the uterus and concentrate on getting puppies out rather than stitch the uterus back up for later litters.  That gave the pups a quicker entry into the world.  GloryToo will be sore for a couple of weeks but she won’t be very active anyway.  By the time the pups are old enough she wants to get away from them and play or help with yardwork, she will be able to.

I waited on pins and needles for Dr. Cindy to call and let me know how things went.  Meanwhile, I cleaned out the whelping bed, scrubbed and dried it, then put down newspapers and a thick fleece pad.  The pad will wick any moisture away from the pups onto the newspapers below, keeping them warm and dry.  GloryToo will expel leftover fluids from the birth and surgery for a couple of days.

When she did call, she said GloryToo was waking up and we had four live puppies.  The fifth had been way up in the birth canal and the placenta had torn, so they were unable to save it.  She told me I made the right decision to rush GloryToo in, that the wall of one horn of the uterus was really thin and lacked muscle tone, so that GloryToo was having trouble pushing puppies along.  We could have lost all of them.  She had me wait another thirty minutes until GloryToo was able to walk before I could get the pups and bring them home.

I took the two puppies out of the box with the heating pad and put them in the whelping bed, which now was pushed under my old table to form a draft-free den.  I had a heater blowing into the whelping bed so it was plenty warm for them while I was gone.  The pups can’t regulate their temperature until they’re 21 days old, so for the first week, I have to keep their den quite warm – close to 90 degrees.  Then I gradually lower the temperature, which makes the moms very grateful.

I took the box and heating pad with me and the vets put the pups in it for the ride home.  Dr. Cindy said she had tried putting the pups with GloryToo but she was still too zonked from the anesthesia and high-powered pain killer. She just looked at them as if she was wondering what in the world they were.  I put the box of puppies beside her crate for the drive home.  By the time we arrived and I opened the hatch, she was talking to the puppies. As soon as I opened her crate, she stuck her head into the box and started loving on them.  All was well.

One worries how moms will respond to puppies that seem to appear form nowhere, so I planned to spend most of the afternoon and of course all night, in the whelping room.  The next test was putting the four new pups in the whelping bed with the two others.  GloryToo chuckled with pleasure as she counted her new family and lay down around them.  I helped all the pups get close to the milk bar and then withdrew to allow the new family to figure out its routine.  If anyone began to cry, I was right there to check and put it back close to mom.  Sometimes GloryToo changes position, or they roll over and get lost because they’re not used to having to search for mom.  I almost said “look” but of course they’re blind for 10 days or so and deaf for 3 weeks, so they have to learn to use their noses to sense where GloryToo is and try to get back to her.  It’s quite a change from the closeness of the womb to the huge expanse of the 4’ x 4’ whelping bed!

Since GloryToo had me up all night, I tried to take a nap but the family was making too much noise.  The pups yell when they lose GloryToo, and she talks to them (why, I don’t know, since they can’t hear, but all moms try to call the pups to them).  Hopefully by bedtime they’ll be down to the contented cooing of happy pups.

When I took a few minutes to do poop detail, I was tickled to see the UPS man had come.  And brought the new Velcro puppy collar sets!  Ones with PINK collars.  Hurrah!  Tonight when I take photos of everyone Miss Lilac will become Miss Pink.

I spent the rest of the day in the whelping room, making sure that all the pups were fine and keeping close to GloryToo.  Miss Pink looks totally normal and I hear no liquid in her lungs when I listen to her breathe, but I’ll keep a close eye on her for several days.  She is the smallest in the litter.  That could be because she is lighter-boned than the others, taking more after her grandmother, Lively while the others take more after Cantor.  I weigh the pups daily for the first week; as long as she nurses well, isn’t pushed off the teat by the larger pups and gains weight, I don’t worry.  This is a small enough litter that extra teats are available if she’s bounced off one.  It is not uncommon to lose a pup during the first week after birth, when internal problems or something caused during birth gradually manifest themselves and the pup succumbs.

Over the evening the family settled down a lot.  I had a chance to look at, weigh and put collars on the four who were born by c-section.  I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Cindy’s comment that these are strong, vigorous pups.

All were black and tan girls.  One of them is possibly a bicolor, though I didn’t think GloryToo carried the bicolor gene.  She might have the black extender gene like her mom.  We’ll have to wait and see.

Miss Green weighed 18.0 ounces,
Miss Yellow weighed 18.5 ounces,
Miss Purple weighed 21.5 ounces, and
Miss White weighed 23.0 ounces.

On the whole, this litter was slightly larger than the average 16 ounces.  As often happens in older females, GloryToo carried a lot more fluids around them, which accounts for a lot of the weight gain.  She is marvelously deflated tonight.  Tomorrow, once I can take off her catheter, I’ll try to take photos.  Dr. Cindy wanted it to stay in overnight in case GloryToo suddenly showed signs of problems.

The family was doing so well that around midnight I decided I could move to my own bed.  Heaven!!  It was a LONG, exhausting day.

to SS litter background information

 

Celhaus German Shepherds

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

Nu-Vet for Health
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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]