- Dec 30, 2018
Pup Log - Week Six
The pups are growing and developing beautifully. They weigh between 8.2 and 9 pounds, and are eating 4 oz of ground raw three times daily. Puppies should eat twice as much protein as fat, so I alternate between K9Kraving turkey and their chicken and chicken / beef. They also have raw yogurt on one meal, and snacks of Lakse Kronch baked salmon treats.
Maerzen’s final few days of nursing were at the beginning of this week. She no longer will nurse the piranha gang, though she is happy to clean them up. In fact, while feeding the pups their meals, Maerzen and Rheswyn (grandmum) wait outside the pen, or behind a baby gate. After the pups are done eating, we hold them out for the mamas to team up to clean both ends of the puppy! Who knew maternal grandmums were so interested in cleaning?
Pups have gone outside in groups and solo, though the weather has not yet been warm enough for water play. They continue to enjoy the tunnel and Adventure Box. They graduated to new nylon collars this week, so you may notice a slight difference in some of the colours. Brown is a lighter brown, White is silver, and Pink is a lighter pink.
We started leash walking this week, and I was quite pleased with the pups. The goal is not to have perfect heeling, it is for the pup to walk nicely without pulling against the leash or getting afraid. I coax the pup to come with me, and give lots of praise. When I stop, I let them roam away a bit to the end of the leash, until they realise that the leash is stopping them. Most of the pups accepted this well. A few pulled away, but I stayed down low and coaxed them to come back, and praised them when they did. It ended up being a positive experience for all.
Next week we may do a few short car rides.
Developmentally, this is a remarkably even bunch.
They all eat well - no leftovers from any of them, so they are all still eating the same amount at each meal.
Some are slightly more active than others, but it is not a big difference. There have been a few times when one or another puppy slept through most of a playtime or visit, but then they made up for it in the next playtime!
Some are more vocal than others, but that is when they are waiting to be fed. They don’t wake us in the morning.
The pups are developing bite inhibition. Ian Dunbar has an excellent discussion of this, intitially shared with me by my breeder mentor, Lesley Rouillier. It details how important it is that puppies go through a bite-y phase with their siblings and the adult dogs.
The pups learn not to use jaw pressure by the reaction of their sibs and the mamas. Some are developing this faster than others! I place pups that have better bite inhibition with families with young children, because any hard bite can be frightening to a child. The pups may still nip, because they are quite young, so parents will always be careful to supervise puppies and children. Puppies and children are alike in that they can both become over excited. If your pup will be around children, watch carefully, and avoid over stimulating the puppy and the child. An over stimulated pup is more likely to forget bite inhibition and give a hard nip. Over stimulated children may scream, which can frighten pups, even though I have tried to habituate these to sudden and sharp noises. Keep toys on hand, and insist children play with pups with toys, not with their bare hands. When my pups are young, I carry a tug toy with me at all times!
I have sent out information about diet and training, so hopefully that is helping everyone prepare for the big day. The pups will go to their new homes between Saturday 11 May and Wednesday 15 May. They will have a collar, the food bowl that they have been using, five pounds of their current diet, and a frozen water bottle.
The pups will need their new families to bring:
1 - A secure solid sided carrier or crate, at least 21 inches long by 15 high and wide, or a secure harness. A bigger crate is just fine, but your pups will weigh 15 - 20 pounds, and smaller would be a squish. Pups must be secured to go home, as animals become projectiles in accidents, just like people who are not secured in a car. Harnesses can work, but pups can get themselves tangled, so a crate would be simpler. Your pup will have ridden in a crate, so this will not be a totally new experience.
2 - A leash. You may not need to take your pup out of the car while on the road, but if you do, you will need a leash to be safe.
3 - A bottle to take home some of the water the pup has been drinking. Our water is reverse osmosis, and it is wise to change as few things as possible.
4 - A cooler to take home a five pound tube of the pup’s food.
5 - A long sock, old pillowcase, or t-shirt to put over the frozen water bottle. If it smells like you, so much the better!
The pups will like their new families to have at home:
1 - A stainless steel, glass, or crockery water bowl. Plastic bowls leach plastic into the food and water, so they should not be used.
2 - A hard sided crate on the main floor of the house that they can use as a den and for confinement when they are not closely supervised. I house train my pups using a crate that is 35 inches long by 25 high by 23 wide. These pups do not usually use the bedding that I have in the crate, but I have a sheet, towel, or small blanket in there if they want it.
3 - Non-slip floor coverings in all areas of the home through which they will be walking. They may prefer to lie on bare floors, but you must ensure that they are doing their fast moving and turning on good footing to avoid damaging their joints.
4 - Delicious, nutritious food, fish oil, and yogurt. - You may feed either the K9 Kraving to which they were weaned, or another high quality non-kibble diet which has been approved by their worry wart breeder.
I will start a fish oil supplement this week, as virtually no diet has enough omega fatty acids for optimal development and antioxidant protection. Pups get 500 mg of fish oil per 20 pounds of body weight. Some high quality brands that are checked for purity and lack of heavy metal contamination are: Nordic Naturals, Carlson’s, Barleans. There are others, too!
The pups have had raw cows’ yogurt on their breakfast since weaning for the probiotic content. They are up to a teaspoon; the adults get a tablespoon, so you will slowly increase the amount of an unsweetened yogurt with live active cultures.
5 - Toys. They like tugs, soft toys, toys that make noise, and firm chew toys. It is good to rotate toys out, as ‘new’ old toys are more interesting.
6 - Treats. The pups love Lakse Kronch salmon; there are many other high quality treats available. At this age, they can’t manage hard treats well, and they could choke on overly chewy treats. Lakse Kronch are good because they break into tiny bits, so they are easy to use as training treats. The on-line Only Natural Pet Store has many other treats and other items:
7 - Cleaning products. We clean with white vinegar diluted 1 to 1 with water. This is safe, non-toxic, and effective. We spot clean with Pure Ayre Odor Eliminator, which is also safe on the dog if needed.
8 - Flea control products. We use Wondercide, which is safe and effective. In the height of the season my girls need to be sprayed twice a week. Your pups have been sprayed several times with Wondercide; we use the rosemary or lemongrass solutions on our dogs. Wondercide also has excellent grooming products such as soaps, ear cleaners, and spray for irritated skin.
There are other safe and effective products. In choosing any product, consider if you would put it on or in yourself. If you would have any hesitation, it is likely not something you should be using on your puppy.
9 - Nail trimmers. I use human fingernail and toenail clippers until the nails get too thick for those to be effective. I then switch over to the Millers Forge Professional Nail clip:
This is much sturdier than the basic model. Get new clippers when the old ones seem to be getting dull, usually after a few years on my three Berners. Cuddle and love on your pup while trimming the nails, and if need be, have someone help by feeding treats while you nip the nails.
10 - Patience, love, and a sense of humour! It may have been a while since you have had a puppy. These wee beings are totally dependent on you to gently teach them how they will live in their new home. As my husband - who is NOT a dog person says - “If something goes wrong, it is always the human’s fault.” We are the ones with the big brains, and we are asking the dog to learn our language, our culture, and understand our rules. We have to figure out how to explain it to the puppy’s tiny brain so they can do what we want. The books that I have suggested by Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell, and Stanley Coren can help you understand how to better teach this being who wants - so much - to be a member of your family.
Optional items that may be helpful are:
1 - An x-pen. Midwest Metals has good quality, relatively low cost x-pens; there are many other vendors. Thirty inches is the minimum height if you want the dogs to stay in it (always a plus), and a door that opens is helpful for you!
2 - A bed. My puppies generally haven’t had an interest in beds, though my adults like them. The Whole Dog Journal did a review of dog beds recently. Important considerations, if you decide to buy a bed, are that it be washable (urine accidents happen) and durable. My girls like the memory foam beds; we cut up an old mattress and put it in DogBeds4Less covers. Maerzen HAD to dig in beds after whelping, so we also purchased a rugged Alden Odor Solutions bed.
3 - Indoor elimination supplies. I house train my puppies directly outside when I have one puppy at home with me. I have found it easiest to train directly outside, by putting some ‘accidents’ in the area where I want the pup to eliminate. I then take the pup to the spot and tell them ‘busy’ after they eat, wake up, play, or if they are sniffing around. In short, any time I might suspect they need to go. When they go, I praise lavishly. With ten puppies, I can not do this. Your pups eliminate on the newspaper or the elimination pads about 75% of the time. If you wish to give the pup an indoor elimination spot, be aware that it can slow down the house training process, because there will be a smell of elimination in the house.
I had hoped to be able to let families know which puppy was going to which home by this weekend. However, since I have a few families with children, and a few with other dogs, I want to watch them a bit longer to assess how the bite inhibition continues to develop, and how they interact with my other non-mum adults. Thank you for your patience with this; I will definitely be able to let you know by next weekend.
Thank you, Christina! I'm sure that they benefitted greatly from the weekend!I was able to meet two of your pups new guardians this weekend, Sara, and they are so excited about having berners who have been raised so holistically. They will be doing everything they can to continue the great start you have give the pups.
These puppy posts have been so much fun to read and I know that many members will now be looking for breeders raising pups and kittens this way.