Hope's puppies were born this morning, 4 boys and 3 girls! All are doing well and already gaining an ounce or 2 each. These first few days are mostly about making sure they are thriving and gaining weight, and helping mama have a clean non-disrupted place to feed her puppies. We change out the bedding a few times a day to keep things extra clean and dry. We check puppies weights daily the first 2 weeks, and check mama's temperature to be sure she isn't getting any types of uterine infection or mastitis. She eats A LOT and will spend most of her time with them the first week especially. We make her special foods like liver, boiled chicken and rice, mother's pudding (goats milk, egg yolks, oil, sugar, gelatin), calcium supplements, puppy food (it's higher calorie and protein/fat), and broth, just to name a few of things on her menu! We want to keep her calories and calcium up for nursing, it's a whole lot easier than supplementing the puppies ourselves. It's important the puppies have a temperature controlled environment, not too hot, but definitely not too cold as they are unable to regulate their own body temps yet. We keep either a heat lamp or heating pad in their box at all times, but only in one area so they can move away from it if they get too warm. Mama stimulates them to eliminate by licking their bums and bellies. If she doesn't do it, we have to do it for her. So far Hope is an excellent first time mama and doing all the things she should be doing! It's pretty amazing to watch instincts kick in and she'll do all the things without being taught. She watches over them well but is not overly worried or overly protective, she is such a relaxed and chill girl, you'd never guess this was her first time!
The other day we took Nova to Hobby Lobby with us, let her sniff around, meet some people, see sliding doors, grocery carts, etc. (of course we asked the employees if it was alright first, and brought a bag with cleaning supplies in case of a mess). It is so important for puppies to get exposure to different places, sights, sounds, and people. All in appropriate doses! Short car rides (Nova gets carsick easily so we've worked slowly with that so she doesn't attach anxiety to riding in the car, ginger capsules help with the nausea), short trips to stores that accept dogs, visiting friends and family, different trails, beaches, parks, and meeting dogs that are friendly to puppies. It's also crucial that highly dog-trafficked areas are avoided until vaccinations are completed.
Here are some of our favorite puppy/dog training and behavior books. They are all similar in training philosophy, using positive reinforcement methods and association with what is being taught or communicated to your dog.
Here is a link to free PDF download for Ian Dunbar's "Before Getting your Puppy" and "After Getting Your Puppy". They are a good place to start. Ian Dunbar has been a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer, trainer of dog trainers, and a trainer of dog owners. You could say he knows his stuff! Don't get discouraged reading them, as the writing implies you need to spend time 24/7 training your puppy and don't have a life otherwise. You just do what you can do! The "Good Little Dog Book" goes more into the specifics and step-by-step of training various commands or behaviors.
If there's anything specifically you'd like a resource for, or a topic you want help with, shoot me a message or email, I'll do my best to direct you towards something helpful!
"The Puppy Whisperer" and "The Dog Whisperer" are both really similar, you could just get one of them. I really like how things are broken down in these books, really practical information and well-worded.
"How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" is a great basic overview book. There are a few things I don't entirely agree with, but overall it's good stuff so I still recommend it. It's not as thick as the above books.
A breeder friend of mine recommends this book to her puppy families, I've glanced at it and it looks great, I've ordered it myself! This might be the best of the books I recommended here, I'll let you know.
Hope is about 5 weeks pregnant. Gestation is approximately 63 days, we'll be doing an Xray on May 21 for puppy count and possibly pinpoint her due date a bit better. At this point I'm guessing it's around May26/27. She's doing great, living life as normal. I can just barely see her belly growing, just below and behind her ribcage. Kind of just makes her look fat at this point, lol. Most of the obvious growth will be noticed the last 2 weeks. I'll post each week so you can see her progress!
Hope's ultrasound last week confirmed puppies are expected end of May! I am sending out an email with details and our puppy sales agreement tonight. Please look it over carefully and contact me with any questions before sending your signed copy with deposit. Let me know if you don't receive the email by tomorrow, Monday. We're so excited!
It is always a relief to receive passing OFA results, and worth celebrating to pass them all! Asher had his final hip/elbow xrays last month, and has Excellent hips and Normal elbows!
We are excited to post that Hope has finally been bred to Asher! Wow, that was quite the wait. We will be doing an ultrasound in 3-4 weeks to find out if she is pregnant, if she is then we will be expecting puppies end of May - then ready for their new families at 8 weeks old, near the end of July. If you are on the waitlist for this litter, I have sent you an email with a few details, so please check your inbox.
Last week we welcomed puppy Nova to the family! She comes to us from Alubyc Kennel in Australia, where her breeder Karen is known for her quality program and decades of experience with the English Golden Retriever breed. Karen breeds for the show ring and correct conformation, temperament, and health. Her dogs are well cared for and loved, and her puppies make wonderful companion dogs, as well as therapy/assistance dogs. Nova is already proving herself to be super sweet-natured, adaptable, brave, smart, and easy to train, with a hint of sassy! We are beyond excited for the incredible opportunity to add Nova to our family and our own breeding program and excited for things to come!