Puppies are 2 weeks! They are all gaining weight and growing well each day. All have their eyes open, within the last few days, we can see they are beginning to explore their world in a whole new way. Super fun to watch. I've been trying to post lots of photos and video clips to Facebook and Instagram so you can follow along (sorry I can't post videos here). They are almost finished up with ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) in 2 days, and we are beginning to add new stimuli to their area, one or 2 toys or objects at a time throughout the day. They are very curious and already coming up to examine and explore these new items. The most interesting thing is watching them discover each other, chewing on, looking at, and interacting with each other. They are beginning to use their voices more with little growls, barks, yaps, cooing (sounds like a bird, so funny). At this point in their development their vocalizations do not really mean anything- they are just finding their voices and discovering the sounds they can make. Their ears are just beginning to open, and they are not quite responding to sound regularly. We currently have them in a corner off our kitchen where there are lots of different sounds (and smells from cooking!) all day long. We've been trimming their claws every 3-4 days to keep from scratching up Mama Hope, and to get them used to the process. We are beginning to hold them more often for short periods of time, and sometimes they are wriggly and sometimes snuggly and fall asleep, so this is really good for them. Pretty soon this week we will change up their living area a bit-remove the whelping box and enlarge their area. Once puppies begin walking and can eliminate on their own without mama stimulating them (as they are now) they will naturally walk away from their sleeping area and eliminate. The idea is to start them early by setting up a 'potty area' and a 'nest area' and while it's really hit or miss, they eventually start to hit the target more and more and potty where it's appropriate. More on that in the next 2 weeks.
Puppies are 1 week old! All are doing well and thriving! They currently range from 1lb 14oz to 2lb 5oz. They are getting up off their bellies and toddling around on their wobbly legs! Mama hope was dehydrated over the weekend, we took her to the emergency vet Saturday to get blood panel and calcium levels checked, just to be sure she didn't have any infection, eclampsia, or something else going on. All checked out ok, just really dehydrated so she was given an antacid injection for her upset digestion, and sub-q fluids to help her bounce back. By Sunday afternoon she'd turned a corner and was drinking and eating small amounts of bland foods. She is now eating normally, along with her probiotics and calcium supplement. Here are the puppies' 1 week pictures:
Red boy Black boy Purple girl
It's Day 4 already! Puppies are growing leaps and bounds and doing very well, they have all gained several ounces, some gaining 2 oz./day!! Because they are doing so well, I'm focusing a lot on keeping Hope healthy, making sure she gets the nutrition and calories she needs, as well as mental breaks and rest. I check her temperature several times a day to be sure she's not fighting infection- mastitis or uterine infection. She goes out for several short walks on leash. Also trying to get the post-whelping diarrhea under wraps so she doesn't get dehydrated, and also watching her post-whelping discharge. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's what I do. So Hope is doing well and is a great mama to her pups, feeding/cleaning/responding to them, but the second day her temp went up a bit, just above normal range, so I worked to get her temp down and monitored her, and she was back in normal range by evening. Here are some pics of the first couple days. We clipped puppies claws yesterday, and began ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) today.
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!