With the beautiful spring weather I want to take the puppies out to play but I will wait until after next week when they have had their shots. Outside they have total freedom to run and play. Inside they are more confined. They are always making a mess and have found the water bowl a great place to play. It is constant cleaning and the cat lurking somewhere unseen. It is all fun and games until some pup turns on the Rumba.
Red collar pup decided that he was going over the wall. Once that happened it was time to remove the whelping box. Now they have more room to play and run. Mom is no longer with them at night and they seem to be much quieter. I have always been told that pups will go to the opposite end of the puppy pen to potty. They like to keep their sleeping area clean. I have never found this to work for me. It was always constant cleaning. But this litter seems to get it. They are certainlly making my job easier.
Yesterday the puppies turned five weeks old. They are eating out of the big puppy bowl. All are doing well up on thier feet. And Mom has decided she can spend time away from them. So I went online yesterday to see what dog shows were coming up. I found one over springbreak in Jackson, TN so Win and I will go up for two days. I usually go to Texas for springbreak and then stop in Louisiana for an agility trial on my way home. I am just not there yet, traveling to far from home. Maybe next year.
I have a good friend that is a pet photographer. You have probably seen some of the photos she had done for me on my website. Let me tell you if you have never tried to photograph a litter of puppies before, it is like trying to herd cats. The first time we photographed a litter of eight. It probably took hundreds of photos to get those few perfect pictures where at least one puppy was not a blur. But I would pay her just for the fun of it. And some of the blooper shots were priceless. It was such a good time with lots of laughs.
I remember back in the day taking a photography class in college. We did black and white photography for this class. What fun it was to take all the pictures with film and then develop them in the darkroom. It was so satisfying to manipulate the photos to get the desired effects. Now days we have digital photography and Photoshop.
I always like getting that one photo of all the pups in the whelping box. I tried the other morning and this is what I got. I will try again for a more perfect photo. But his shot always signifies that it is almost time to move the whelping box back out to the shed. Mr. Yellow escaped one day last week, he managed to get himself up on the pigrail and then over the top of the box. At that point the pigrail came out. But it won’t be long until they are all escaping and the whelping box will no longer be needed.
Yesterday afternoon was cold and rainy. So I decided I would put some effort into getting some cute puppy photos. The yellow boy was the most cooperative being a little well fed, tired yet alert. I got some great pics of him. The others not so much as they wanted to walk around and investigate. I will try again later with them. It is easy to get a picture of a sleeping puppy. Maybe next week I will set up the adventure box, wobble board and tunnel and get some video.
Below are some candid photos of the pups from yesterday and this past week. They are now four weeks old. They are playing and barking. I have been letting them out to play and explore. Off course Maggie is always looking for trouble.
This was such an exciting morning. The puppies were introduced to thier first meal and they seemed to love it. With the puppies now weighing about five pounds their total combined weight is half of that of Mom’s. Mom is finding it hard to keep up with all the hungry mouths. They are still sleeping this morning with their bellies full. They have changed alot in the last week. From their eyes opening, starting to play and interact with each other and eating on their own . Now the fun begins. Of course Maggie is without her pink collar once again.
I don’t have litters very often as I enjoy training and working my dogs and hate taking the time off. Punch did have a litter last year. I wanted to get her second and last litter out of the way so I could get back to all the events I enjoy. Though many events are certainly limited now. So I thought I maybe I would not enjoy this litter as much; but I was wrong. I find it hard to get to the computer to post pics and videos as I would much rather be playing with puppies. I have spent a few late nights up with them but I don’t mind. It is somewhat sad to see them go at eight weeks. But I have never felt that I could not part with them as many think that might be the case. I know I could not give them all the love and attention they deserve, I want them to be that one special pup. And I certainly enjoy seeing them go to their new homes where they will get all the love and attention I have been sharing with six of them for the last eight weeks.
Puppies are now 12 days old. Half of the puppies are tipping the scales at 3 pounds and the others are not far behind. They are starting to get up on thier feet and wobble around. The little white collar boy is starting to open his eyes. A week from today I bet all their eyes will be open.
These pups have really grown in just a week. They have gone from no pigment to pigment, some from 16 ounces to almost two pounds. Yesterday I removed their rick rack collars and replaced them for the first time as they were getting a little tight. Now if they will just keep them on.
Some gorgeous Huck puppies arrived Saturday morning, five boys and one girl. They are all doing well and Punch is taking good care of them. I had entered Winona in Starkville. I had planned to go over to Mississippi Saturday morning, show and turn around and come home with puppies due Monday. But when Punch’s temp dropped on Friday I knew we weren’t going to make it. It was a good thing I had prepared for puppies last weekend with only a few things to do Friday evening.
Just five more days and these babies should be here. When Punch is done with this litter she will retire from motherhood. She can get on with her obedience and agiltiy career without any interruptions. She is such a great little performance dog with lots of drive, intelligence and personality.
I think we have everything ready to go. She has been sleeping in her whelping box that we set up last weekend. The girl is eating three meals a day and asking for more. She was such a great mom with her last litter. My husband is now working from home so I have an extra set of ears and eyes on the pups. Always exciting to have puppies but an amazing amount of work.
My first show back in months and I entered Chattanooga. Winona was in the 9-12 month puppy class on Saturday. This worked out great considering there was a 3 point major for her first show. She won her class so she got to go back in for Winners Bitch. Since we were the youngest class entry we went back in the ring last. What a great first experince with no pressure.
Chattanooga is an easy drive and a friend joined me for a nice weekend back. I am looking forward to showing my girl in the next few months. I do regret not having all the fun puppy classes to show her in as covid caused the cancelation of many shows.
The following weekend I drove to Griffin, Georgia for a match. Punch was entered in the obedience match as we had a trial in October. She did a nice job outside on the grass. She qualified and I felt she was ready to show. The Griffin Georgia Kennel Club did a nice job with the match and I am so glad I got to go and spend time with such nice people while enjoying the perfect fall weather.
I had Winona entered in conformation where she was the only labrador puppy. She was of course best of breed and went back in for the sporting group where she took first place! Back in the ring for the third time for best in match, it was well worth the $5 entry for all the ring time.
Another beautiful fall weekend. Perfect for an obedience trial as we had to wait outside until our ring time. This was my first indoor activity since covid. The Decatur club did a great job as I felt very safe. Punch was ready and I was very pleased with her heeling. Heeling is not something I enjoy training or practicing. I would much rather teach scent articles. On Sat. Punch decided to follow the judge after her stand for exam so she got an non-qualifying score.
Sunday morning before I left home I had my husband help us practice the stand for exam. It must have worked as Punch managed to qualify with a score of 192 1/2 and a second place.
(This post was written on or about Feb 22. I did not get it edited or posted, when I reread it I thought it should be posted so here it is June 8)
Last Monday the puppies were 15 weeks old. They went for their last set of shots which included rabies. They are now free to go out into the world and explore; hopefully safe from most diseases that we know are a threat. Puppies weighed in at about 28 pounds.
We now have a set routine with the big dogs in rotation. It makes it easier to get everyone fed, out to potty and play. The puppies are doing great with crate training. Winona now sleeps at night in a soft-sided crate. Hopefully that will carry on over to the shows and trials. The housebreaking has gone better than expected with all of the rain we have had in the last few weeks and more expected tomorrow. Winona seemed to catch on first. We have a doggy door and they have all learned to use it. Last week was great as we only had an accident or two.
Labs and rain. With labs wet conditions don’t seem to matter. It is great coming home to the pups warm and dry in their crates and then letting them out, watching them scatter to find just the right spot. The only problem is when they stay out to play and came back soaking wet. I have become the queen of the mop.
I remember once at a hunt test with Ezra, a storm was moving in fast as you could watch the black clouds pushing east. We ended up being the last dog to run before the judges called it and the rain came down in torrents. As we walked to the line the thunder and lighting was alarming. Ezra was oblivious as he was focused on his birds. We ended up qualifying that day. Labs are like that; just don’t expect that same love for a bath.
Since all pups were good to go we loaded them all up and headed to the park. Each one got their turn to get out and about, meet new dogs and people,hear new noises and enjoy the sunshine. They all did great on leash. Winona even got to practice her down and back for her upcoming match.