Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Puppies on board!

Have you seen the bumper stickers or little suction cup signs on cars, trucks and motor homes, that say "Baby on board?"

baby on b...

I wish I had a sign that said "Puppies on board" for Carly to wear to celebrate her impending mother hood. Monday was the big day and on xray, her vet saw a possible 7, maybe 8 puppies! Yay, this makes up for the fact that Abby did not get pregnant this time around.

But it also shows it isn't always "third time the charm", sometimes it is "things are better the second time around." Let hope this holds true for Abby next time.

In any case, Carly is having a nice size litter, not like her sister BG who had just 4 puppies in June. Although 4 was a nice number and very manageable when it came time to litter box training and feeding and pooper scooping, and etc. This litter however will be whelped at co-owner and soon to be midwife, Sarah's house. She has been getting everything ready for the birth, she is a big reader and has read lots of books about puppies and all the cool things to do as they develop their senses from birth to 8 weeks or so.

She has a baby pool and playpen ready and now all we need is for the pups to arrive. They are due on the 17th if we go by the first breeding, or a day or so later if we go by the last breeding. Either way it is like less than a week away and I am SO excited! Sarah will call as soon as things get started and hopefully it won't be in the middle of the night. But I'll be there to help.

With my next blog I should be able to announce the birth, including sex and colors of the puppies. And of course the final number, anyone want to make a guess?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best laid plans

I remember an old TV show called the A Team. On it one of the main characters had a saying "I love it when a plan comes together." Well I am glad things always worked out on that show, but as we all know, it isn't always so in real life.

In this case, dog breeding comes to mind. As a breeder, you try to plan everything right down to the last detail. You have done your homework, done all the applicable health testing on your bitch. You have researched pedigrees and chosen the stud dog. The breeding has taken place and, if everything works out, you will have a nice litter of puppies in about 2 months, give or take.

It is all out of your control now as you wait. Wait for signs that the breeding took and your girl is pregnant. If you are like me, you might have an ultrasound done at about the halfway mark. Just to see if there are indeed puppies on board. Then about a week from the due date, an xray to see for sure just how many puppies will be arriving.

This is an exciting time as you once again make plans. You break out the whelping box or baby pool, what ever your choice. You have all the items ready, thermometer to take mom's temperature. Dental floss to tie umbilical cords. Scissors to cut cords, if necessary and of course all the different colored ric-rak to put around the puppies necks for identification purposes.

As I discussed in my previous blog, such a breeding was done with Miss Abby to Mr Oliver and we were ready for puppies. Abby's owner did not do an ultrasound as they are not always accurate and he was fairly certain that she was pregnant. So I picked her up last weekend and had scheduled an appointment for the xray. Well......no puppies, so much for planning.

As a friend of mine used to say, another well laid plan shot to heck once again! Such a disappointment. Not just to me, to the co-owner, the stud dog's owner and of course all  of the people anxiously waiting for the puppy they will hopefully add to their family.

This just goes to show that there is of course someone much more knowledgeable and powerful in charge, and it's not us. And we may never really know why the breeding did not take or if it took and puppies were reabsorbed (yes it happens) due to some abnormality.  In the end, all we can do is all we can do and we must accept that if we are to move forward. There isn't much we can do except to wait until the next heat cycle and try again. Hoping that next time things will turn out differently.

This is just the case with our Carly. Last year she was bred to CH Spotsalot Hwy Paved In Chocolate. We thought for sure she was pregnant. She even looked and acted pregnant. But when the time came, there were no puppies. So we tried again this past July and guess what? It worked and she is truly pregnant this time. Hopefully she has a good sized litter with lots of nice puppies to choose from. That just goes to show that you can make all the plans you want but often times you have to readjust or make new plans. Sometimes things work out better the second time around.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The calm before the storm

This week has been a week of housecleaning and getting ready for the next litter of puppies that are hopefully due around the 9th of this month.

The parents to be are Oliver, GCH RaShars Remember When, CGC

and Abby, CH PHD's Ravin Reviews. Both dogs have outstanding pedigrees, have all their health screening done and have CHIC numbers. CHIC stands for Canine Health Information Center and it's a centralized canine health database. It's purpose is to provide a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists, that will assist in breeding healthy dogs.

Each Breed Parent Club has certain health tests that are required to be done and registered with the database in order to receive the CHIC number. With Dalmatians, a minimum of three tests are required. They are BAER hearing test results, hip xrays (registered with the OFA or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PENN) and either Thyroid, or CERF eye test results. These test results are linked to the dog by some sort of permanent identification such as microchip or tattoo and the dog's AKC registration number. All this information can be obtained by going to the OFA database and looking up the dog by either the registered name or number and breed.

This information is very important to breeders. Because health tests aren't about getting the best rating, although serious breeders strive to breed the healthiest dogs possible. They're about knowing what potential issues your dog may pass on to offspring and how to make smart breeding choices. The more information a breeder has - on the breeding candidate and their relatives - the more informed their breeding decisions.

And, from a puppy buyer's perspective, you're stacking the odds in your favor by selecting a breeder that utilizes health testing on their breeding dogs. I wish I could tell you how many times I have talked with potential puppy buyers who have or know someone who has purchased a puppy from a newspaper ad or pet store window. Often times the experiences are good, but they can also be tragic and costly if the parents of the puppy have hereditary health issues. And once you walk out the door of that pet store or backyard breeder, you have little or no recourse if your puppy is affected by a heritable illness.

With breeders who utilize these tests and databases, the chances are not completely eliminated, however, they are greatly reduced as dogs with health issues can be identified and removed from a breeding program so they do not have the chance to pass on any serious problems to future generations.

So, when you go to look for your next puppy, please do your homework. Research not only the breed, but the breeder. Look for one who breeds dogs with CHIC numbers. While the CHIC number is no guarantee that the dog has received favorable results to health testing, it does enable you to research the dog and it's relatives to see if there are health issues in the family. Ask the breeder if their dogs have them. Set your standards high and challenge the breeder to reach them. Don't settle for anything less than a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Empty nest

Things have been so busy this past week. All of the puppies have gone to new homes and now that I have time to think, I am suffering a bit of puppy withdrawal!

The first puppy to leave was Winter. Now Smiln Dal's Run To Me, "Raeah". She lives in Aliso Viejo, CA with Kelley and David.

Next was Spring, now Smiln Dal's Jive Talkin', who went to live with Dawn and Dave in Prunedale, CA. She already has a big sister, "Shadow".

 Then Yvonne and Tina came to get Summer, now Smiln Dal's Love Me Inside And Out, "Sirius". He will be living in Madera, CA.

Finally, it was time to put Autumn on the plane in Sacramento and send her to Marie in Colorado Springs, CO. Autumn is now Smiln Dal's Wildflower, aka "Stella".

I can't say enough about the wonderful people who have taken these puppies into their homes. It's been a great experience having the 4 pups and finding the right homes for them. It isn't easy, it's a lot of work but all worth it to know that a puppy born in your house has a loving home for life!

I look forward to seeing them as they grow up. Spring and Summer (Sirius) may turn out to be show dogs. We'll see how they look in a few months but we are confident that all the pups will make their mom and dad proud no matter what!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eight weeks plus

Well, I have found that it isn't easy to keep up with a blog. At least not on a daily basis and not always on a weekly basis even.

Last week we got some stacked pix of the puppies at 7 weeks but for some reason, none of them turned out. So I decided to wait to post until I could get 8 week pix of them. So, here they are...

Here is Spring at 8 weeks. You can see by the little glint in her eye that she has attitude. This girl is going to be alot of fun, but may not be the right dog for a first time Dal owner. She is outgoing and confident and will do well in the right home.

Summer was not cooperating and kept pulling back trying to get the cheese out of my hand. At one point her decided it might be nice to have a little meat with his cheese and got the heel of my hand, ouch! Summer will be headed to a great home a bit north of here. His new owner is a previous puppy person of mine, They got a Dal from me in 1996 and she lived a good long happy life so I know they will provide a good home for this boy.

Winter has already gone to her new home. I was extremely happy to meet her new owner as she approached e with a copy of the Red Book in her hands. The Red Book is the official publication of The Dalmatian Club of America. It contains just about everything you could ever want to know about Dalmatians and then some. Everything from the history of the breed to the selection and care of your new puppy. It's great and I was pleased that this puppy's new owners did their homework!

Autumn has her appointment today to get a health certificate so she can fly to Colorado on Thursday. She is probably the sweetest puppy I have had in awhile, not that all of my puppies aren't sweet. But there is just something special about her. I hope she brings as much joy to her new owners as she has to me!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hear, hear!

Well, it's over. The worry about the hearing test. The knowledge that each pup could hear, but the concern that there would be a uni or even more. But to my questions came an answer, they all hear in both ears!!!


To those who may not know, a uni is what we call a pup who is deaf in one ear but not both ears. It is unilaterally deaf. A uni can still lead a normal life. It can hear, so it can be trained to do obedience and other performance events and can even be shown in conformation, although some breeders choose not to show them or breed them. It is believed by some that unis have more of a chance of producing more unis or even totally deaf pups.


I have shown and even bred unis, although I do not make a habit of it and would not suggest it to someone who is not completely prepared for the results they could get with such a breeding. If it is to be done at all, it should be done very carefully and with the knowledge of as many dogs behind each dog being bred as possible.


I would not use a uni with a dog who has a poor hearing background, or a uni who came from a litter with poor hearing. But over the 18 years that I have been breeding DalmatiansI have used two unis.


The first time was many years ago. It was my first litter. I had a beautiful male with a Champion sire and many Champions in his line although he himself was not a Champion. Not because he was not of show quality, but because when I first got him I knew very little about the breed and nothing about showing Dalmatians. So Sebastion grew up as a pet with nice conformation, and a very nice pedigree. He also had bilateral hearing, his breeder had BAER tested the litter. But at the time I didn't really know what that really was all about.

I had a friend who was a local breeder. She had a small black spotted bitch who was not really what she wanted in her breeding program. She was a puppy back from a breeding that my friend had done with one of her males. She was very sweet and pretty too. Her pedigree was not as steller as my boy's but I liked her alot. Whenever I would visit I always had to go and say hello to Freti, short for Estifreti.

One day my friend asked if I would like to have Freti. I quickly said yes I would love to have her. So she came to live with us and now we had two Dals. I did not know it at the time, but Freti was a uni. She had never been tested and I did not know how one went about doing that so as an adult, I did not have her tested either.

I eventually bred her to Sebastion and Miss Molly of Smiling Dal was born. Molly is the bitch from whom came all the dogs leading up to my Whoopi, Smiln Dal's The Color Purple. fourth generation of my breeding.

Raven and Molly 


It wasn't until some years later, when I was planning to breed Molly, that I took Freti and Molly to UC Davis for hearing testing and found out that Freti was indeed a uni. Molly was bilateral thank goodness and when she was bred produced a litter with one uni and six bilateral puppies. Each subsequent generation has produced all bilateral litters.

Unis do not always produce more unis or deaf puppies. You can get them from two all bilateral hearing dogs from all bilateral hearing litters. However it is not a good idea, in my opinion, to make a habit of breeding them. And as I said, if it is to be done, it should be done very carefully.

In any case, no unis to be concerned about in this litter. Both parents are bilateral and came from all bilateral hearing litters. I know that the next litter could be totally different. Every time you do a breeding, you pray. For healthy puppies with nice spotting, good structure and movement and above all good hearing. And for 8 litters in a row now, when it comes to hearing, my prayers have been answered.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Twas the night before BAER...

Tomorrow we drive the 2 hours to Atascadero, CA for the BAER hearing test. BAER stands for Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response. About 22% of Dalmatians are born unilaterally deaf (only hear in one ear) and 8% are deaf in both ears. So responsible breeders have their pups tested at around 6 weeks to make sure the puppies can hear.

Begining at about 2-3 weeks, breeders can home test to determine deafness in their litters. This is done by waiting until all the pups are asleep and then making some sort of noise. I use a small bell and ring it as I watch for reactions for the pups. I have seen all the pups in this current litter react to the bell so I am confident that they all hear. Whether or not they all hear in both ears will be determined at the test tomorrow. And I will update the blog tomorrow evening after the test.

Until then I thought I would share a little video of the pups playing in their play pen. I hung some toys up for them to bat around and it gives them something to stimulate their curiosity. And it's fun to watch them...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Something to sink your teeth into

The puppies are five weeks old today. Too big to fit on my baby scale so no weights this time. I was a little late getting them started on puppy food as I was in So Cal last weekend and left G-pa to puppysit and didn't want to make things too rough for him. So started giving food on Sunday and boy were they ready! Now I think I have created four little monsters. They can't seem to get enough!

Well, it looks like things are starting to come together with homes.

Spring possibly has a home if I decide she is not show quality. Right now even though none of the pups was too sure about the grooming table and they were all a little nervous, a couple are looking alright. Spring has a tough girl attitude and would make a good show dog provided her structure turns out equally as well. This was the first time on the grooming table and Spring was not too concerned. I did try to bait them with peanut butter but they would have none of that.

As I have mentioned before, Summer has a home whether he is show or pet quality. Very nice people who had a litter sister to my Miss Molly. They have waited a long time for this boy and I hope he lives up to their expectations. While not quite as confident as Spring, Summer did alright on the table. In the playpen he often feels the need to be heard. And like sisters Spring and Winter, has the lungs to back it up! But look at that face. Could you say no to that? I think not.

Winter is still available. She is very sweet and soooo cute! Her little patched ear reminds me of a French baret. She was a little nervous on the table but would not have any of the peanut butter so I had to do the best I could with getting her sort of stacked. You can see by the tail curving that it was wagging the whole time, so while nervous, she was not afraid.

Autumn did not like being on the table at all. She did lick a little of the peanut butter but I could not get her to stay still. I plan to put her on the table a little every day and see if she will eventually get used to being on it. Autumn hopefully has a home in CO where I am sure she will make an excellent  companion.

All puppies should have some basic training in obedience. Sit, stay, down, come etc. will help them to be good house dogs and good citizens wherever they go. Yes, Dalmatians can be service dogs and therapy dogs too. Contrary to popular belief, they are highly intelligent and learn quickly but need consistency and a firm hand. I have found the best way to get what I want out of my dogs is to show them what is in it for them. They not only need to know what it is you want them to do, but the reason for doing it. Sounds kind of like a teenager doesn't it? Well they are very much like that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Busy week

I have been very busy this week. The pups turned 4 weeks old on Thursday and I have been so busy I have not had time to get pics of them this week. But I promise I will soon.

They have gained weight and are growing and really looking like little miniature versions of what they will look like as adults. Weights range from 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 pounds.

Today they had their first taste of puppy food, not the kind mama makes! I set 2 bowls down in the playpen and Spring and Summer went to one dish and Winter and Autumn went to the other. Once Spring saw her bowl was empty she went over to join the other girls in theirs. But ever the die hard, Summer continued to lick and search his dish to see if there wasn't something he might have missed. As time goes by they will be eating more puppy food and nursing less. This will enable mom to work on getting her figure back.

This week I was busy, as usual with dog club stuff. We are having a specialty show in November and I am on the trophy committee. We have been trying to come up with a donation system that everyone can live with. It has not been easy. Seems no matter what you offer, there will be some unhappy person who will complain to anyone and everyone who will listen. They don't offer their assistance in doing the job, however. But they sure want to tell you that you are doing it wrong!

Yesterday was the big club puppy match in Anaheim, CA. It was so much fun! Jack was a pro. He has been to 1 handling class so far and this was his first match too. He won his class and was a contender for the big prize but was happy to see his sister Taylor get the win.

In all there were 8 puppies there and a few older Dals who came to get their CGC or brush up on their skills, or just hang out and join in the fun.

We put up a big exercise pen and took turns putting some of the pups in to socialize. They had a blast! Jack even hung out with 2 of his sisters, 1 brother, mom and dad, grandpa, some cousins and even an uncle! It was a family affair!

Here is Jack showing off in the puppy match. We had a great time and raised a little money too. Plus this event met a requirement for having our specialty show next year.

Well, I will leave off for now, more pix of the puppies soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stubborn or just determined?

Pups were getting out of the playpen, so I had taken an old cardboard box and cut it down and placed it in the opening. It was high enough for BG to get in but the pups couldn't get out. Or so I thought. Yesterday morning I came in and the box was down and pups were out, again.

We have some of those walk thru gates, as I have mentioned before. I took an extra part of one of them and zip tied it across the opening of the pen, raising the height of the bottom part of the opening. This morning, guess who was out again? Spring, and she was contently sleeping next to mom on her bed. I put her back in the playpen and am now trying to think of something else I can put across the opening that miss "thing" can't climb over. But right now I am drawing a blank.

Yesterday I had something interesting happen and so I thought for any of my readers who do not know how this whole getting a puppy from a show breeder works, I would explain so as to avoid any future confusion. I can't speak for all breeders, but I can tell you how I work.

When I plan a litter, and that isn't very often as I have said before, it is with the hopes that there will not only be sound, healthy puppies with good temperaments, but that there will also be something suitable to show in conformation. I look at the intended sire and dam and their pedigrees to try to get an idea of how their offspring might turn out. Of course both parents have already been hearing tested and found to be bilaterally hearing. They have had their hips xrayed and eyes tested for any hereditary problems. I am a bit of a stickler for thyroid testing.  I also make sure both dogs are up to date on vaccinations.

I don't breed dogs with temperaments that are not in keeping with the standard. And I don't breed dogs with any genetic health issues. And I don't breed often. My last litter here was almost 3 years ago.

Once the breeding has taken place, I make sure the bitch gets enough food, exercise and care to ensure she has a healthy litter. I make sure everything I will need for the puppies is ready, and I contact those people on my waiting list to let them know there are puppies on the way. I try to make sure they understand how my process works for determining show vs pet or companion puppies. But sometimes one slips thru the cracks and misunderstanding occurs.

My process if as follows: pups are born and I now know how many, and what color and sex they are, but not much else is known. Dewlcaws are removed in a day or two.

Once eyes are open and spotting begins to come thru, I can now tell who might have a blue eye and who might be open, medium, or heavily spotted.

Once the puppies are about 2-3 weeks old I can begin to tell who can hear and who cannot. But there is still more to come.

At 6 weeks, the pups are taken to a veterinarian for BAER or  brainstem auditory evoked response testing to find out if puppies hear in both ears or not . They also get a full exam and first puppy vaccination and worming.

At 7 weeks the puppies are temperament tested. The results of this will help determine if the puppy will  be best suited for a show or companion home.

Then at 8 weeks there is a final structural evaluation to see who has show or conformation "potential." Nothing is for sure, but temperament and structure as well as hearing, eye color and markings all help to make that determination. Any puppy I feel will not be suitable for showing, as well as any patched puppies, will be available as companions or pets, and will be sold with the understanding that it will be spayed or neutered.

These puppies are by no means inferior, but for one reason or another, they are just not what I want to take into the show ring. They could be suited for obedience or performance events and will make a wonderful, healthy, sound addition to any family.

The majority of the people on my waiting list understand this process. They may have to wait a few weeks to find out what they will be able to choose from, unless there is a patch. They may place a deposit on the litter, which will determine in what order they may choose a puppy once I know what is available to them. But it by no means guarantees that they will have "pick of the litter."

Occassionally I get that person who wants a "show quality" puppy, but does not want to show it. Just wants a perfect looking companion or family member. These people are often disappointed as I know of very few, actually I can't think of any, show breeders who will sell their pick puppy as a pet. We all work very hard to make sure each generation is better than the previous one and any puppy who lives up to those expectations is certainly going to be given every chance to earn a championship and be included in any future breeding program.

Well, I hope I have provided a reasonable explanation of how things work and hopefully have prevented any future misunderstandings. Of course, there are no guarantees.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Photo op

Pups were 3 weeks on Thursday but my camera was dead. Today I managed to get John to help me take some pics of the puppies. They are just starting to get steady on their feet so these are by no means "stacked" photos. But you can get an idea what they look like now.

This is Spring or Pink girl. She is a bit on the feisty side so I am thinking that instead of my "Spring" song title, calling her Pink and giving her a Pink song name. Maybe "Trouble." We'll see.

This is Summer or Red boy. He got a little carried away with the cheese. As you can see it is all over his nose. I just love his personality, he is so mellow. I am tempted to keep him, but I don't really need 3 intact males in the house and I have a show home for him.

Here is Winter or Light Blue girl. She pretty much minds her own business in the playpen. She will play with hte others, but knows when to get away and take a nap when she's had enough fun.

This is Autumn, or Green girl. She is very much like her brother, mellow and very sweet. I think she will make someone a great companion and maybe obedience or some other performance activity. She is very smart, she is alway the first t odo something. First out of the pool, first out of the playpen. She may have been born last, but she is certainly making up for that.

Here is Autumn sharing mom's bed with Spring. Spring looks like she might rather have the bed all to herself. But for the moment she is tolerating her sister. I think Spring is going to be fairly independent. She seems to have a mind of her own and doesn't mind being by herself. Often when the other 3 pups are together, you will see Spring off to herself on the opposite side of the playpen.

Well that's it for tonite. Thanks for stopping by and we'll see you next time...

Friday, July 8, 2011

In transition

Well, today was a turning point for puppy Jack. He went in to the vet for his last puppy vaccination and since he has begun to get his big boy teeth, he was able to have his rabies vaccination as well. He weighed 36 pounds today! Getting to be a big boy and I almost can't pick him up any more. That makes me a little sad as he loves to be carried and held. I will have to explain to him about the humans not being able to carry the big dog soon.

The puppies are also growing. They were 3 weeks old yesterday but I had made a trip to Ventura on Wednesday and got back yesterday afternoon. Too pooped to get on and do my blog. Today I have a bit of a migraine, but I'm here.

Spring weighed 4 lbs and 2 oz. She is getting prettier every day. Her little face is just beautiful and her markings are looking nice. None of the pups looks to be heavily spotted so far. There may be a run here or there but for the most part I think they will be nicely marked. I will try to add some photos tomorrow as my camera had not been charged up in awhile and it decided to die as I started to take photos of the pups.

Summer is my laid back boy. He weighed 4 lbs and 4 oz today. He already comes to me when I go to the opening of the play pen and make kissy sounds or say pup pup pup. I think he is going to be a very smart boy. And handsome too!

Winter is going thru a phase. This week it is Winter who squeals when she is picked up. Funny, last week it was Autumn. Today Autumn was very content to be held. I guess they are each developing at their own pace. Winter's weight was also 4 lbs and 4 oz.

What can I say about Autumn? If she didn't have that patch on her ear, I think she would be my keeper. She will also come to me when I "call" the pups. The patch is just on the ear, not any of the surrounding area like Winter's ear patch that spills over to the side of her head some. Today she weighed 3 lbs and 12 oz. A bit smaller than the other 3 pups, but still over a pound more than last week so no worries.

I had been a little concerned about Ryder lately. The puppies are in a little room off my big dog room at the south end of the house. When we remodled a couple of years ago we took down a wall that divided the kitchen and a long hallway that ran down to the laundry room. Off the kitchen, there was a door that closed off the end of the hallway. It was nice so when I let dogs out of the dog room, they could not go anywhere except outside and not into the rest of the house.

Well, in taking down that wall it made the kitchen much bigger and eliminated about half of the hallway space. The door was also eliminated. Taking the place of the door is now a walk thru gate we got at PetSmart. It serves the same purpose as a door but it is not as solid.

Anyway, I noticed that when I would let BG out to go potty, if Ryder was standing on the other side of the gate he would grumble at her. Now Ryder is the daddy of the pups and before they were born, the two of them were like a couple. They loved each other. Ryder would nibble on her ear and she would make the cutest faces at him. But now it seemed as if the love affair was over and something had gone wrong between them.

I had sought some advice and got a few suggestions as to what I should do, never thinking I should just ask my husband. Well his solution, was to let Ryder into the dog room, with the gate between the big room and the puppy room and see what he did. So ok, cautiously I let him in and John stood by the gate to where the puppies are and BG was on the other side.

Ryder came in and totally ignored BG and the noisy pups, grabbed his bunny that his Auntie Lisa gave him for Easter, and began to run around the room with it. John called him and eventually Ryder came over to see BG. He grumbled a little under his breath at first, but within a few seconds was giving BG kisses thru the bars of the gate.

So I am thinking that it must have been the smell of the puppies on BG that Ryder did not recognize and he was thinking there was either something wrong with BG or it wasn't BG. Who knows what is in a 2 1/2 year old boy dog's brain? Anyway, I think things will be fine once the pups are weaned and BG is back to smelling like BG again. Another crisis averted, at least for now...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Everybody out of the pool!

So, after finding Autumn out of the pool 2 or 3 times, and Winter and even Summer each out once, I decided it was time to take the puppies out of the pool and set up the puppy playpen. They have more room to move about and mom can still get in and out ok without the babies getting out too.

It was fun. First of course you know you have to put the babies somewhere while you move the pool, set up the playpen and get everything ready for them to go into it. 2 at a time I carried the pups to mom's crate and set them inside while BG looked on as if to say "hey this is smaller not bigger."

It was easy to get the pool out of the puppy room, just pick it up and turn it sideways and walk out the door. Setting up the playpen was not quite as easy but almost. First I had to take Jack, who had been living in it in the family room, out of it. I had to disassemble it and haul the panels outside to wash them off. I had newspapers for Jack to piddle on, and after several weeks of jumping up on the sides, it had black newsprint all over the inside on the bars.

After letting it dry, I brought my vinyl remnant into the puppy room and placed it in a good spot. Then I brought the panels of the playpen in and set them up in a 4 x 4 foot square. I think this will be big enough for the 4 pups and mom. Right now BG can get in and out but once the pups are weaned I can close the door and be able to keep the babies inside.
I will place newspaper on the floor and eventually a litter box for them to learn to potty in. I have found this helps get them started on their potty training so that once they go to their new homes it will be a little easier on the new owners to housebreak them.

Here we are in our playpen. This is where the pups will be now for the next 5 weeks or so until they are ready to leave. Eyes are all open, eye and nose trim is in, and so far with home testing, the pups all seem to be able to hear. This is a good thing!

In the coming weeks they will eat and grow and become little dogs. Miniature versions of what they will be as adults. By the time they leave the safety of the playpen, they will hopefully have begun to learn the skills they will need to tackle the great big world they will be living in. Whether they be show dogs, taking on the challenges of the agility, conformation or obedience ring, or loving companions, taking their place in the family car or on the couch, or in society, they will be ready. Having had the best possible start towards a happy, healthy life, that their mom and I can give them.