Friday, September 26, 2014

2 Weeks

    2 Weeks old on Wednesday and a new world has opened up to the puppies. Eyes started opening Wednesday and by Thursday morning everyone's eyes were at least partially open. Also the ears continue to be more developed and hearing is likely to become much more significant in the next week. As their senses expand and their mobility increases, we also expand their stimuli. We have added a radio to their whelping room which plays talk and music at times throughout the day, helping puppies become accustomed to unusual voices and sounds and background noise. However, it is still very important for puppies to have and be comfortable with quiet time, as well, so we alternate times with quiet and with background noise. Puppies are joining the family in the main family room daily as well, for short stays and experience all the household sounds, sights and smells. It is our hope, that allowing then to experience both being in the middle of human family life and being away from it at times, helps prepare puppies for living with a family, while also helping to prevent separation anxiety while crated and alone.When the puppies are 6-8 weeks old we will begin to crate separately yet side by side for short periods of time during resting times or with food toys.
    As puppies become more mobile we offer different surfaces textures for them to walk on during handling time. Mobility also marks the beginning of elimination acclimation. Puppies also have a natural inclination to keep their nest/bed clean, and as they are able to stand and move out of bed they eliminate away from the bedding area, on their own without mom's help. This is the time to acclimate puppies to very early house training skills. For this litter I will be "litter training" the puppies, and later converting the litter to an outdoor area, helping them become used to going outside to eliminate. So we place bedding in half of the whelping box, and litter or paper in the other, thus providing distinct area for puppies to sleep verses eliminate.
Mobility also makes for difficult photo ops. Wiggly squirmy puppies are very hard to keep in focus! So I have grouped the females and males, but no individual photos this time. And finally you can start to see who will be darker.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Learning to Walk

    From one day old the puppies could push their chests off the ground to crawl. They have slowly been developing better muscle control. Now, at 11 days old, the puppies are pushing up and pulling their rear legs under them, beginning to walk on all four legs for several steps. At this age they are working on balance and stability, as well as developing strength to keep themselves elevated.

  We also continue handling each puppy daily. Daily handling is important at this early age (and who could resist anyway!) as puppies experience smell and tactile sensations most strongly. Their eyes and ears have yet to open, but it will happen soon. For now they are experiencing their world through touch, smell, and taste. There are many studies concluding that early handling helps increase rate of development in the nervous system, hair growth, body weight, development of motor skills and problem solving skills, and even earlier opening of the eyes. 

Further reading and reference:
The Domestic Dog, it's evolution, behavior, and interactions with people. Edited by James Serpell

Thursday, September 18, 2014

1 Week Old

Wednesday, the puppies turned one week old. Although hard to see in pictures several have ticking coming in and little personalities are showing. We have started one-on-one time with half the litter each day and the neurological stimulation technique daily. Puppies' ears and eyes are still closed, but they are becoming more defined and they can be seen squinting their eyes and twitching their ears as though practicing and building muscles. They are all pushing up off their bellies for short periods and a few have started to pull their rear legs up under them for 2 or 3 very wobbly steps.

We have decided to have a "litter theme" with this litter. Just little litter call names, The puppies will not know them and most new homes will probably not keep their litter names. It's just something fun to try for us as a change of pace from collar colors.

Johnny Cash Litter



 "(Ghost) Rider"



Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Puppies Are Here!!

    The litter was officially born on Wednesday, September 10, but it stretched into the morning hours the next day as well. Long delivery but all is well and mom and puppies are healthy. Sky had 6 big and healthy puppies: 4 boys and 2 girls.

    Because the puppies were pretty large, the veterinarian decided to dock their tails at 2 days old. The puppies did very well and now we are all settled in. Mom has recuperated and is still being a wonderful mom. 
    GSP puppies are born with their liver patches, but the ticking comes in as they grow. Disney fans may remember this clip from the movie 101 Dalmations
    Of course, in GSP's it's "ticking." So with that in mind, here are individual pictures at 2 days old. (And, yes, they are easy for me to tell apart in person. We will have litter themed names shown soon)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Temperature Countdown

Dogs have a body temperature of about 101.5 +/- 1 degree F. Starting several days in advance, we will start taking Sky's temperature for a baseline. Like people the actual normal temperature can vary a bit due to individual metabolism, time of day, and activity level. But a consistent temperature drop to below 100, usually about 1-2 degrees below their baseline is a good tool for indicating early labor.
Today we are at 100.7 and I'll check twice a day from her on out.
Soon we should have puppies!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

7.5 - 8 Weeks Gestation

So far, we are at about 7.5 - 8 weeks along, depending on which breeding we count from. Sky is growing uncomfortably large. We've divided up her meals into smaller portions and let her outside more often as puppies take up more room. We are getting close!

Here's a link to a short video clip about canine fetal development. Thanks to National Geographic for making this available to the public. Enjoy!
Click the above link

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bird Work for Sky

Some folks believe that hunting during pregnancy helps the pups be better future bird dogs. I imagine this is a bit of an "old wives tale" but no one can deny that light exercise and staying in good condition is good for pregnant moms. Here's to staying fit and looking sharp! Can you see the bulge in the belly? Hard to see but soon it will be hard to miss!